Category Archive 'Richard III'

26 Nov 2017

Gold Richard III Half Angel Found Not Far From Bosworth Field

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Leicester Mercury:

A metal detectorist has tracked down a rare gold coin from Richard III’s reign near to the site of the Battle of Bosworth.

The Half Angel is one of just a handful of such coins that have survived from the king’s two-year reign.

It was discovered by Michelle Vall while she was taking part in a charity detecting rally in September at Monks Kirby, near the Bosworth Field. News of the discovery has just come to light.

The coin will be auctioned international coins, medals and jewellery specialist Dix Noonan Webb in London on December 13. It is expected to fetch up to £15,000.

Christopher Webb, head of the coins department at Dix Noonan Webb, said: “This is a very rare discovery that has miraculously survived in a field for more than five centuries.

“Its importance as a coin is enhanced by the tantalising possibility that it may have belonged to one of Richard’s army, whose defeat at Bosworth ended the Wars of the Roses and ushered in the Tudor dynasty.”

Michelle, a 51-year-old primary school teaching assistant, from Blackpool, said: “After detecting for two-and-a-half hours in a farmer’s field, I got a signal.

“The coin was deep down, about 16 inches below the surface, and the soil there is thick clay so it took a bit of digging out.

“I spotted this glint of gold in the hole, although I obviously did not know exactly what it was at first. I put it in the palm of my hand and then I went back to the organisers’ tent.

“One of them identified it and people became very excited. That was when I realised that it was a Half Angel.”

Michelle has decided to sell the coin as, she said, it is “too valuable to keep”.

She added: “I did not want to keep it in a locked cupboard.

“I feel very privileged that I have found something so precious and historic.

“The memory of that day, the excitement not just of myself but also of other detectorists, when I found that beautiful, tiny, piece of historic gold will live with me forever.”

The Half Angel gold coin was first introduced in 1472 and was half the value of the Angel coin.
The rare gold coin was discovered near the site of the Battle of Bosworth

Richard III issues of the coin are rare because his reign was so brief and there has always been a big interest in items from the controversial king’s rein particularly since his remains were discovered in Leicester in 2012.

It is possible that the coin might have belonged to one of Richard’s soldiers fleeing from the battle that changed the course of English history.

30 Mar 2015

British Store

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Hat tip to Rafael Heydel-Mankoo.

04 Dec 2014

Richard III Paternal DNA Does Not Match British Royal Blood-Line

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Edmund Blair Leighton, The End of the Song, 1802, private collection.

DNA testing of the bones of Richard III apparently demonstrates that what DNA testers refer to as a “non-paternal event” occurred at some crucial point in the blood-line of the British royal family.


When the body of Richard III was discovered in a car park in Leicester in 2012 archaeologists knew it was a momentous find.

But little did they realise that it might expose the skeletons in the cupboard of the British aristocracy, and even call into question the bloodline of the Royal family.

In order to prove that the skeleton really was Richard III, scientists needed to take a DNA sample and match it to his descendants.

Genetic testing through his maternal DNA proved conclusively that the body was the King. However, when they checked the male line they discovered something odd. The DNA did not match showing that at some point in history an adulterous affair had broken the paternal chain.

Although it is impossible to say when the affair happened, if it occurred around the time of Edward III (1312- 1377) it could call into question whether kings like Henry VI, Henry VII and Henry VIII had royal blood, and therefore the right to rule.

Without his claim to royalty, Henry VII is unlikely to have been able to raise an army for the Battle of Bosworth Field, in which Richard III was killed, and the history of England could have been very different.

And it has implications for our own Royal Family who also share a direct bloodline to the Tudors.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

19 Aug 2014

Richard III’s Skeleton Evidences Life Changes

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Unknown artist, King Richard III, late 16th century, National Portrait Gallery.

Chemical analysis of the bones and teeth of the skeleton found beneath the Leicester parking lot seems to confirm its identity as the remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England.


According to a study performed by the British Geological Survey and researchers at the University of Leicester, the king changed location and diet early in his childhood, and then, when he was crowned king 26 months before his death at the Battle of Bosworth, started eating a richer diet associated with his change in status. …

The team analysed the isotopes found in three locations of King Richard III’s skeleton: his teeth, his femur, and his rib. Each showed elements related to geographical location, pollution, and diet: strontium, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and lead. As teeth and bones continue to change and develop throughout life, the team was able to map specific elements to locations and time frames.

According to his teeth, Richard III had moved away from Fotheringhay Castle in Northampshire by the time he was seven, to an area of higher rainfall, older rocks and a different diet to what was available in his birthplace.

According to his femur — which shows an average of the last 15 years before death — Richard moved back to England’s east sometime in his adolescence or young adulthood, and his diet changed to match that of the high aristocracy.

It is his rib that shows his later life. Typically, the ribs renew themselves quickly, so it only represents the last two to five years of life. It was in this period that Richard III’s diet changed the most — although the differences between femur and rib could indicate a relocation, Richard III did not move away from England’s east.

The elements found in his rib suggests an increase in his diet of freshwater fish and birds — such as swan, crane, heron, and egret — which were popular choices for royal banquets. It also suggests that he was drinking more wine. Both these changes reinforce that food and drink — and, in particular, types of food and drink — were very important indicators of social status in England in the Middle Ages.


Multi-isotope analysis demonstrates significant lifestyle changes in King Richard III

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

05 Feb 2013

Leicester Sign


Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

04 Feb 2013

The Death of Richard III

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“King Richerd at the first brunt killyd certane, overthrew done Henryes standerd, toygther with William Brandon the standerd bearer.”

Polydore Virgil‘s Anglica Historia, 1485-1537, early English translation:

In the meane time king Richard, hearing that thennemy drew neare, came first to the place of fight, a little beyond Leycester (the name of that village ys Boswoorth), and ther, pightching his tentes, refresshyd his soldiers that night from ther travale, and with many woords exhortyd them to the fyght to coome. Yt ys reportyd that king Rycherd had that night a terryble dreame; for he thowght in his slepe that he saw horryble ymages as yt wer of evell spyrytes haunting evydently abowt him, as yt wer before his eyes, and that they wold not let him rest; which visyon trewly dyd not so muche stryke into his brest a suddane feare, as replenyshe the same with heavy cares: for furthwith after, being troublyd in mynde, his hart gave him theruppon that thevent of the battale folowing wold be grevous, and he dyd not buckle himself to the conflict with such lyvelyness of corage and countenance as before, which hevynes that yt showld not be sayd he shewyd as appallyd with feare of his enemyes, he reportyd his dreame to many in the morning. But (I beleve) yt was no dreame, but a conscyence guiltie of haynous offences, a conscyence (I say) so muche the more grevous as th offences wer more great, which, thowght at none other time, yeat in the last day of owr lyfe ys woont to represent to us the memory of our sinnes commyttyd, and withall to shew unto us the paynes immynent for the same, that, being uppon good cause penytent at that instant for our evell led lyfe, we may be compellyd to go hence in heavynes of hart. Now I return to my purpose. The next day after king Richerd, furnysshyd throwghly with all maner of thinges, drew his whole hoste owt of ther tentes, and arraieth his vanward, stretching yt furth of a woonderfull lenght, so full replenyshyd both with foote men and horsemen that to the beholders afar of yt gave a terror for the multitude, and in the front wer placyd his archers, lyke a most strong trenche and bulwark; of these archers he made leder John duke of Norfolk. After this long vanward folowyd the king himself, with a choyce force of soldiers. In this meane time Henry, being departyd bak from the conference with his frinds, began to take better hart, and without any tary encampyd himself nighe his enemyes, wher he restyd all night, and well early in the morning commandyd the soldiers to arm themselves, sending withall to Thomas Stanley, who was now approchyd the place of fight, as in the mydde way betwixt the two battaylles, that he wold coom to with his forces, to sett the soldiers in aray. He awnsweryd that the earle showld set his owne folkes in order, whyle that he should coome to him with his army well apoyntyd.With which answer, geaven contrary to that was looked for, and to that which thoportunytie of time and weight of cause requyryd, thowghe Henry wer no lyttle vexyd, and began to be soomwhat appallyd, yeat withowt lingering he of necessytie orderyd his men in this sort. He made a sclender vanward for the smaule number of his people; before the same he placyd archers, of whom he made captane John erle of Oxfoord; in the right wing of the vanward he placyd Gilbert Talbot to defend the same; in the left veryly he sat John Savage; and himself, trusting to thayd of Thomas Stanley, with one troup of horsemen, and a fewe footemen dyd folow; for the number of all his soldiers, all maner of ways, was scarce v.M [5000] besydes the Stanleyans, wherof about 3.M [3000] wer at the battaill, under the conduct of William. The kings forces were twyse so many and more. Thus both the vanwardes being arrayed, as soone as the soldiers might one se an other afur of, they put on ther head peces and preparyd to the fyght, expectyng thalarme with intentyve eare. Ther was a marishe betwixt both hostes, which Henry of purpose left on the right hand, that yt might serve his men instede of a fortresse, by the doing therof also he left the soon upon his bak ; but whan the king saw thenemyes passyd the marishe, he commandyd his soldiers to geave charge uppon them. They making suddanely great showtes assaultyd thennemy first with arrowes, who wer nothing faynt unto the fyght but began also to shoote fearcely ; but whan they cam to hand strokes the matter than was delt with blades. In the meane tyme therle of Oxfoord, fearing lest hys men in fyghting might be envyronyd of the multitude, commandyd in every rang that no soldiers should go above tenfoote from the standerds; which charge being knowen, whan all men had throng thik togethers, and stayd a whyle from fighting, thadversaryes wer therwith aferd, supposing soom fraude, and so they all forbore the fight a certane space, and that veryly dyd many with right goodwill, who rather covetyd the king dead than alyve, and therfor fowght fayntly. Than therle of Oxforth in one part, and others in an other part, with the bandes of men closse one to an other, gave freshe charge uppon thenemy, and in array tryangle vehemently renewyd the conflict. Whyle the battayll contynewyd thus hote on both sydes betwixt the vanwardes, king Richard understood, first by espyalls wher erle Henry was a farre of with smaule force of soldiers abowt him; than after drawing nerer he knew yt perfytely by evydent signes and tokens that yt was Henry; wherfor, all inflamyd with ire, he strick his horse with the spurres, and runneth owt of thone syde withowt the vanwardes agaynst him. Henry perceavyd king Richerd coome uppon him, and because all his hope was than in valyancy of armes, he receavyd him with great corage. King Richerd at the first brunt killyd certane, overthrew Henryes standerd, toygther with William Brandon the standerd bearer, and matchyd also with John Cheney a man of muche fortytude, far exceeding the common sort, who encountered with
him as he cam, but the king with great force drove him to the ground, making way with weapon on every syde. But yeat Henry abode the brunt longer than ever his owne soldiers wold have wenyd, who wer now almost owt of hope of victory, whan as loe William Stanley with thre thowsand men came to the reskew: than trewly in a very moment the resydew all fled, and king Richerd alone was killyd fyghting manfully in the thickkest presse of his enemyes. In the mean time also the erle of Oxfoord after a lyttle bickering put to flight them that fowght in the forward, wherof a great company wer killed in the chase. But many mo forbare to fyght, who came to the fielde with king Richerd for aw, and for no goodwill, and departyd withowt any daunger, as men who desyryd not the safety but destruction of that prince Noblemen whom they hatyd. Ther wer killyd about a M. [1000] men, and emon est them of noblemen of warre John duke of Norfolk, Gwalter L. Ferryse, Robert Brakkenbury, Rycherd Ratclyff and many moe. Two days after at Leycester, William Catesby, lawyer, with a few that wer his felowys, were executyd. And of those that tooke them to ther fete Frauncis L. Loovell, Humfrey Staffoord, with Thomas his brother and muche more company, fled into the sayntuary of Saint John which is at Colchester, a toune by the sea syde in Essex. As for the number of captyves yt was very great; for whan king Richerd was killyd, all men furthwith threw away weapon, and frely submyttyd them selfes to Henryes obeyssance, wherof the most part wold have doone the same at the beginning, yf for king Rycherds scurryers, scowring to and fro, they myght so have doone. Emongest them the chiefe wer Henry erle of Northumberland, and Thomas erle of Surrey. This man was commyttyd to ward, wher he remaynyd long; he as frind in hart was receavyd into favor. Henry lost in that battayll scarce an hundreth soldiers, emongst whom there was one princypall man, William Brandon, who bare erle Henryes standerd. The feilde was fowghten the xj th. calends of September, in the yere of mans salvation M.cccc.lxxxvj, and the fight lasted more than two houres.

The report is that king Richerd might have sowght to save himself by flight; for they who wer abowt him, seing the soldiers even from the first stroke to lyft up ther weapons febly and fayntlye, and soome of them to depart the feild pryvyly, suspectyd treason, and exhortyd him to flye, yea and whan the matter began manyfestly to qwaile, they browght him swyft horses; but he, who was not ignorant that the people hatyd him, owt of hope to have any better hap afterward, ys sayd to have awnsweryd, that that very day he wold make end ether of warre or lyfe, suche great fearcenesse and suche huge force of mynd he had: wherfor, knowinge certanely that that day wold ether yeald him a peaceable and quyet realme from thencefurth or els perpetually bereve him the same, he came to the fielde with the crowne uppon his head that therby he might ether make a beginning or ende of his raigne. And so the myserable man had suddaynly suche end as wont ys to happen to them that have right and law both of God and man in lyke estimation, as will, irnpyetie, and wickedries. Surely these are more vehement examples by muche than ys hable to be utteryd with toong to tereyfy those men which suffer no time to passe free from soome haynous offence, creweltie, or mischief.

Henry, after the victory obtaynyd, gave furthwith thanks unto Almightie God for the same; than after, replenysshyd with joy incredible, he got himself unto the next hill, wher, after he had commendyd his solders, and commandyd to cure the woundyd, and to bury them that wer slane, he gave unto the nobylytie and gentlemen immortal thankes, promysing that he wold be myndfull of ther benyfyttes, all which meane whyle the soldiers cryed, God save king Henry, God save king Henry ! and with hart and hand utteryd all the shew of joy that might be ; which whan Thomas Stanley dyd see, he set anon king Richerds crowne, which was fownd among the spoyle in the feilde, uppon his head, as thoughe he had bene already by commandment of the people proclamyd kingafter the maner of his auncestors, and that was the first signe of prosperytie. After that, commanding to pak upp all bag and baggage, Henry with his victorious army procedyd in the evening to Leycester, wher, for refresshing of his soldiers from ther travaile and panes, and to prepare for going to London, he taryed two days. In the meane time the body of king Rycherd nakyd of all clothing, and layd uppon an horse bake with the armes and legges hanginge downe on both sydes, was browght to thabbay of monks Franciscanes at Leycester, a myserable spectacle in good sooth, but not unwoorthy for the mans lyfe, and ther was buryed two days after without any pompe or solemne funerall. He raigned two yeres and so many monethes, and one day over. He was lyttle of stature, deformyd of body, thone showlder being higher than thother, a short and sowre cowntenance, which semyd to savor of mischief, and utter evydently craft and deceyt. The whyle he was thinking of any matter, he dyd contynually byte his nether lyppe, as thowgh that crewell nature of his did so rage agaynst yt self in that lyttle carkase. Also he was woont to be ever with his right hand pulling out of the sheath to the myddest, and putting in agane, the dagger which he did alway were. Trewly he had a sharp witt, provydent and subtyle, apt both to counterfayt and dissemble; his corage also hault and fearce, which faylyd him not in the very death, which, whan his men forsooke him, he rather yealded to take with the swoord, than by fowle flyght to prolong his lyfe, uncertane what death perchance soon after by sicknes or other vyolence to suffer.

04 Feb 2013

Yes, It’s Richard

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BBC: “It is the academic conclusion of the University of Leicester that, beyond reasonable doubt, the individual exhumed at Greyfriars in September 2012 is indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England.”

Dr Jo Appleby, an osteo-archaeologist from the university’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, revealed the bones were of a man in his late 20s or early 30s. Richard was 32 when he died.

His skeleton had suffered 10 injuries, including eight to the skull, at around the time of death. Two of the skull wounds were potentially fatal.

One was a “slice” removing a flap of bone, the other was caused by bladed weapon which went through and hit the opposite side of the skull – a depth of more than 10cm (4ins).

Dr Appleby said: “Both of these injuries would have caused an almost instant loss of consciousness and death would have followed quickly afterwards.

“In the case of the larger wound, if the blade had penetrated 7cm into the brain, which we cannot determine from the bones, death would have been instantaneous.”

Other wounds included slashes or stabs to the face and the side of the head. There was also evidence of “humiliation” injuries, including a pelvic wound likely to have been caused by an upward thrust of a weapon, through the buttock.


BBC: At Bosworth Field:

On 22 August 1485, Richard met his rival Henry Tudor – the soon-to-be Henry VII – in fields near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire.

Most sources agree Richard’s army was larger, but it failed to sweep his enemy from the field.

Dr Steven Gunn, a fellow in modern history at Merton College, Oxford, said Tudor historian Polydore Vergil wrote a vivid account of Richard’s next, extraordinary, move.

He explained: “He says spies told Richard that Henry was riding with a small number of men, so when he sees this, Richard leads a charge straight at him.

“He then goes on to say: ‘In the first charge Richard killed several men; toppled Henry’s standard, along with the standard-bearer William Brandon; contended with John Cheney, a man of surpassing bravery, who stood in his way, and thrust him to the ground with great force; and made a path for himself through the press of steel.’

“Richard is then surrounded by enemy troops but Vergil only says he was killed ‘fighting in the thickest of the press’.

“More detail comes from a Burgundian historian Jean Molinet, who describes Richard’s horse becoming stuck in a marsh and then ‘unhorsed and overpowered, the king was hacked to death by Welsh soldiers’.”


of mtDNA analysis: positive.


Osteoanalysis slideshow & video.


Earlier reports.

03 Feb 2013

Experts Increasingly Convinced Car Park Remains Are Those of Richard III


Daily Mail


Earlier reports.

12 Sep 2012

Richard III Found?

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The search in Leicester for the remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet monarch of England slain August 22, 1485 at Bosworth Field, may have achieved success.

The Telegraph reports the finding of remains that may very possibly be those of Richard.

Over 500 years since he was killed in battle, archaeologists believe they have finally found the skeleton of King Richard III, buried deep beneath a council car park.

Experts said a fully intact skeleton matched much about what they knew about the medieval king, and are hoping that DNA tests will put their beliefs beyond doubt.

The remains were found three weeks into an archaeological dig by a team from Leicester University, which recently pinpointed the site of the ancient Grey Friars church, where Richard was believed to be buried after being killed in the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485, and which was razed to the ground in 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII.

To their astonishment, an excavation unearthed a result which experts said were “beyond out wildest dreams”.

Five key aspects underlined their belief that appears to have ended a decade-long search for his remains.

The skeleton was an adult male, who appeared fit and strong. He had suffered significant trauma to the head where a blade had cut away part of the back of his skull; an injury consistent with battle.

A barbed arrow head was found lodged between vertebrae in his upper back, and spinal abnormalities pointed to the fact that he had severe scoliosis, a form of spinal curvature. This would have made his right shoulder appear visibly higher than his left, which is consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard’s appearance.

Richard’s two year reign was the subject of one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays, which portrayed him as an evil, ugly hunchback, and which helped cement the public perception of him.

The remains were found in the Choir area of the church, again consistent with historical record of where he was buried.

29 Aug 2012

Looking For Richard

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Unknown artist, Richard III, mid-16th century, Society of Antiquaries, London

A search is on in Leicester for the remains of Richard III, slain in battle at Bosworth Field, and then buried at Greyfriars Church. The location of the burial, and even the exact location of the Franciscan Friary, have been lost to five centuries of development.

HuffPo UK reports:

Philippa Langley, from the Richard III Society which has been involved with the project, said: “We know he was buried here but the church disappeared after the dissolution of the monasteries as did his grave so today we begin the search for Richard.

“We know his body was led into Leicester and put on display for three days by Henry Tudor before he was buried.

“I hope we do find him because I want to give him a proper resting place and also to explode a lot of myths around Richard III.”

Richard Buckley, co-director of the Archaeology Service at the university, said: “It is quite a long shot but it’s a very exciting project. We don’t know the whereabouts of any of the friary buildings at the moment. We don’t know precisely where the body would have been buried but we suspect it would be in the choir or near the alter.”

If bones are found they will be assessed for trauma to the skeleton, as the monarch was killed in battle, then be subject to DNA analysis.

King Richard III, the last Plantagenet, ruled England from 1483 until he was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Richard may never be found as there is also a tradition that the late king’s remains were thrown into the River Soar at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.



On 22 August 1485, Richard met the outnumbered forces of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was astride his white courser. The size of Richard’s army has been estimated at 8,000, Henry’s at 5,000, but exact numbers cannot be known. During the battle Richard was abandoned by Baron Stanley (made Earl of Derby in October), Sir William Stanley, and Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. Despite his apparent affiliation with Richard, Baron Stanley’s wife, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was Henry Tudor’s mother. The switching of sides by the Stanleys severely depleted the strength of Richard’s army and had a material effect on the outcome of the battle. Also the death of John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, his close companion, appears to have had a demoralising effect on Richard and his men. Perhaps in realisation of the implications of this, Richard then appears to have led an impromptu cavalry charge deep into the enemy ranks in an attempt to end the battle quickly by striking at Henry Tudor himself. Accounts note that Richard fought bravely and ably during this manoeuvre, unhorsing Sir John Cheney, a well-known jousting champion, killing Henry’s standard bearer Sir William Brandon and coming within a sword’s length of Henry himself before being finally surrounded by Sir William Stanley’s men and killed. Tradition holds that his final words were “treason, treason, treason!”, when he found Lord Stanley had turned against him. The Welsh accounts state that Sir Wyllyam Gardynyr killed King Richard III with a poleaxe. The blows were so violent that the king’s helmet was driven into his skull. The account reads, “Richard’s horse was trapped in the marsh where he was slain by one of Rhys Thomas’ men, a commoner named Wyllyam Gardynyr.” Another account has Rhys ap Thomas himself slaying the king.

Polydore Vergil, Henry Tudor’s official historian, would later record that “King Richard, alone, was killed fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies”. Richard’s naked body was then exposed, possibly in the collegiate foundation of the Annunciation of Our Lady, and hanged by Henry Tudor, now King Henry VII, before being buried at Greyfriars Church, Leicester. In 1495 Henry VII paid £50 for a marble and alabaster monument. According to one tradition, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries his body was thrown into the nearby River Soar, although other evidence suggests that a memorial stone was visible in 1612, in a garden built on the site of Greyfriars.[18] The exact location is now lost due to over 500 years of subsequent development. On 24 August 2012, the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, in association with the Richard III Society, have joined forces to begin a search for the mortal remains of King Richard III. Led by University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), experts will be seeking to locate the Greyfriars site and discover whether the remains of Richard III may still be found. There is currently a memorial plaque on the site of the Cathedral where he may have once been buried, as well as a stone plaque on the bridge where his remains were allegedly thrown into the Soar.

28 May 2007

Medievalist Believes One of the Lost Princes in the Tower Survived

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A new book by David Baldwin, a lecturer at the University of Leicester advances the rather tenuous theory that Richard, Duke of York (b. 1473 – believed murdered 1483), the younger of the two sons of Edward IV imprisoned in the Tower was not murdered by his uncle Richard III, and was the bricklayer resident at St. John’s Abbey in Colchester known as Richard Plantagenet, who claimed to be an illegitimate child of Richard III, and who died after the dissolution of the monasteries at Eastwell in Kent in 1550.

Of course, the skeletons of two children were discovered in the tower in 1674. They were believed to be the remains of the lost princes, and were reburied in Westminster Abbey.

UK News

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