Richard III at the Tower of London
Was Richard III the Tower’s greatest villain, leaving a trail of murders behind him? Certainly, he benefited from the outlandish execution of his brother George, Duke of Clarence. According to Tudor chroniclers, Richard was in the Tower when Henry VI died. One writer alleged Henry was ‘strykked with a dagger’ by Richard himself.
But the most notorious allegation against Richard regarded the murders of ‘the Princes in the Tower’.
When Edward IV died in April 1483, his 12-year-old son was to be king. As the new king’s uncle, Richard became protector of the realm.
While preparations were made for the coronation, the boy king Edward V and his younger brother were taken to the Tower. This was not particularly strange; since the 14th-century the coronation procession set out from the Tower to Westminster Abbey. But in July of 1483 Richard himself was crowned king instead of his nephew, after the two young princes mysteriously disappeared.
Skeletons belonging to two boys of about 10 and 12 were discovered during building works in 1674. Richard's own body was rediscovered in 2012 by archeologists under a car park in Leicester.
With Richard III's death came the end of the York dynasty and the rise to power of the Tudors, the most famous being Henry VIII.