Apart from a few minor details …

… David Starkey thinks that he has solved the mystery of the “Princes”.

The minor details are:
1) Tyrrell’s trial was for helping the de la Pole brothers, not to do with any “murder” of anyone at all.
2) The (fully documented by Thomas Penn) trial took place at the Guildhall, not the Tower. Henry VII “Tudor” and his wife effectively lived at the Tower, as they were waiting another 200 years fror Buckingham Palace to be built.
3) There was no confession by Tyrrell and no suggestion of one until after Henry VII’s death (see “As the King gave out” by Susan E. Leas, March 1977 Ricardian).

Thanks to Annette Carson. Our original review of the programme is here.

By super blue

Grandson of a Town player.


  1. It is incomprehensible for me:

    – Who is Mr Starkey? I know he is a historian and a specialist of Tudor history. But today he is only a journalist who endeavours to make every sensation around himself and his unscientifics theories. Is it worthy to treat him seriously?

    – His theories about a guilt of Richard III made after non-existent sources are condemning him


  2. Actually David Starkey is one of our leading historians. I was at a lecture by him last month at which he spoke for two hours on Margaret Beaufort. He is a very intelligent man and I suspect the problem is that this post is misrepresenting his argument.


    1. I hope English historiography is up to the mark more than we could think listening Mr Starkey:)) I repeat: if a serious historian presents his own emotional wishes as historical facts – we ought to slight him.


    2. This post is quoting his arguments exactly, as did Carson on her blog.
      I seriously don’t think your denialism could become any more dishonest, so please don’t expect your welcome to continue. Thankyou.


    3. What is his argument? Can you present it in a better way? I haven’t seen that TV broadcast. But from what I’ve read in reviews and such, his argument is essentially that… Elizabeth of York was present at James Tyrell’s trial?

      Does he have anything else? If not, this would be the weakest argument ever in this debate, if it wasn’t for Amy Licence announcing a year or two ago that she’s just found out that Richard visited a famous cathedral in 1484 and made a contribution, and that this was evidence that he had murdered his nephews and felt guilty.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s a transcript of his argument as presented in the TV programme on Annette Carson’s blog (linked in the article above). In a nutshell: “Both of them go to the Tower on the days of Tyrrel’s trial, and are there the day before he’s led off to execution. They’re there, he’s there, and something’s going on!” Except that Tyrell’s trial was at the Guildhall, so if Henry and Elizabeth were at the Tower then they didn’t attend his trial.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Watch the programme David. While he may well be very knowledgeable about the Tudors (he loves them), he is blinkered when it comes to Richard III. At the re-interment they had a ‘debate’ about Richard’s deeds and character. Starkey’s contribution was to insult Philippa Langley (“a Ricardian loon”) and Philippa Gregory (I think it was her – he called her a novelist not a historian in a disparaging way), and then state it was “99% certain Richard killed the Princes in the Tower”. When Jon Snow asked what evidence he had for that statement he said: “He would have been stupid not to.” Likewise in ‘The Princes in the Tower’ programme he has the last word and does claim he has ‘new evidence’. As stated above the ‘evidence’ wasn’t new nor was it evidence at all! He’s a ridiculous man who IMO has lost all credibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To Mr Starkey: I think Richard III was however “stupid”. He did not behaed Stanleys and Margaret Beaufort as well as he did not send killers for to murder bishop Morton and Henry Richmond. In such circumstances it is very possible that he did not kill his nephews:))


    2. Oh I agree, he knows the “Tudors” inside out but has very much lost his way because he has tried to become a great general historian and spread himself too thinly. I have met him, which was a fascinating experience, but I enjoyed writing the “Spitfires” post on Wednesday as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. “When Jon Snow asked what evidence he had for that statement he said: “He would have been stupid not to.”

      LOL What a ‘brilliant’ argument.

      Actually, it seems to me that Richard would have had to be really, really stupid to murder his nephews the way he supposedly did. If he was supposedly that worried about their existence and symbolic worth to the potential rebels (because I don’t see what other reason he would have had to be in panic and want them dead, unless he thought his security in the Tower was so terrible and his control over everything so weak that people could barge in any time, get Edward V out and crown him, and keep his brother near by as heir… which would a) mean he had much bigger problems than the existence of the boys, and b) completely contradicts the popular argument that he was the only one who had the opportunity to have them murdered* – because, if anyone could get them out, anyone could have murdered them, too…) – what’s the point of having them murdered in secret so clumsily and then hiding their bodies? People not knowing for sure they’re dead would have completely defeated the purpose. So, he wouldn’t have been gaining a thing, because many could still believe they were alive and the symbolic/figurehead value would have been the same (and pretenders could start appearing in the following years, without him having an opportunity to prove they were impostors), he would have only opened himself to damaging rumors that he had murdered his nephews, from those who did think they were dead. If he was really so ruthless and willing to murder them, and really so worried about them he thought it needed to be done, why not do it in a smarter way: have them die of “natural causes” (Edward was even ill at the time and treated by Dr John Argentine), show their bodies to the world and organize a burial, making sure everyone knew they were dead?

      * Which is not true, anyway, I think Buckingham, for one, clearly could have given the order and pretended it came from Richard, while the latter was miles away on his progress. Who would have dared questioned it, and why would they, not knowing that he was going to start a rebellion against Richard?

      Not to mention the fact that the rumors that Richard was going to murder his nephews/had already murdered them apparently started to spread at the time when they are both known to have been definitely alive, going by when Mancini left England, and that he is the first source to report them and seems to have been the one to spread them on the continent, leading to the first documented accusation against Richard, in Gui de Rochefort’s speech. (As laid out by Audrey Williamson in “The Mystery of the Princes”, which I’m reading now.) So, someone in England (and likely not a random person in the street, since Mancini was said to speak barely any or no English) already “knew” Richard was going to murder his nephews when they were still definitely alive. Hmm. Minority Report? And that during the summer leading up to the so-called Buckingham rebellion/the first attempted invasion of Henry Tudor, organized by Buckingham, Margaret Beaufort and John Morton. I’m trying to think who had most reason to murder the boys, could it be the same people who were spreading the rumors about Richard murdering them? Or maybe there’s some smart scenario where it makes sense that Richard knew about the rumors and the upcoming rebellion/invasion and decided “Well, I better murder them for real then.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, I never could quite believe in a man who was heartless and unprincipled enough to murder children, but much too honest and noble to tell a lie.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. @halfwit36
        I would be grateful for the information: who murdered the children and what children. And who told a lie and about what.


      3. @Kalina: “I would be grateful for the information: who murdered the children and what children. And who told a lie and about what.”

        Wouldn’t we all like to know!

        But regarding halfwit36’s reply, I think she’s agreeing with my point that the popular theory held by Starkey and many others, that Richard III had his nephews murdered, has a huge flaw in logic, because it requires one to think he ordered the murder of his young nephews but for some reason kept it a secret (even though it would have been of utmost importance for everyone to know the rival pretenders to the throne were dead, or else why even murder them in the first place) instead of simply coming up with an official cover story.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. @timetravellingbunny

        I “love” Richard but I do not exlude an idea that he ordered to eliminate his nephews. My non-professional intuition says that the children were removed to the other place (Flandres? Sheriff Hutton?) in secret. May be James Tyrrel was a man who was the executor of this plan. He was next “a man” of Henry Tudor. In the other cause he would not survive after Bosworth and continue his career. May be he instead murdered the children in order of his new “lord”. In every cause I do not know any certain as well as the others, even Mr Starkey, and we should tell it honesty


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