The Mystery of the Vanishing Chapel.
According to Perkin by Anne Wroe (page 140) Henry VII’s envoy, Somerset Herald, when visiting Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy and her son-in-law, Maximilian of Austria in 1495, offered to show them the chapel where Richard, Duke of York was buried.
I am surprised that this particular piece of evidence has not been shouted to the world by the anti-Richard brigade, because if Richard, Duke of York had a burial place in a chapel in 1495, it demonstrates beyond doubt that he was dead before that date, and it may even suggest that Richard III killed him. The possibility that Henry VII’s envoy might have been telling porkies is surely too remote a contingency to be considered.
So, the question arises, where is this mysterious chapel? There are a few other questions too. Was Edward V buried there too? Was there an account for a tomb – given Henry VII’s meticulous accountancy, there surely must have been. If he was willing to spend £50 on Richard III’s tomb, obviously he must have spent at least as much on that of his innocent brother(s)-in-law. Somewhere there must be an account of Henry, Elizabeth of York and Margaret Beaufort sobbing over the little white coffin(s) – it just needs to be discovered. Why did More not mention this chapel in his account? After all, he mentioned several things that we know didn’t happen, so you might have thought he would have mentioned one that did. Especially when such a tomb would have been the most wonderful and conclusive evidence to round off his tale.
If we can but identify this chapel, and recover the body (or bodies) DNA testing would demonstrate proof of identity. But of course, it would mean that the skeletons found 10 feet deep under the Tower staircase were definitely not the boys after all. (Certain medieval saints appear to have had two bodies, or two heads – according to the reputed relics held by the Church – but this explanation will scarcely serve for the Princes.)
What are people waiting for? There are books in this. Maybe even a TV series. And this chapel pretty well has to be close to London. It just needs finding. How careless of people like Leland not to have noticed it!
Or perhaps Somerset Herald was thinking of that other Richard, Duke of York, Edward IV’s and Richard III’s father. Because he has a tomb you can visit to this day, at Fotheringhay.
Or maybe, as Wroe suggests, he was just bluffing.