There are some, though increasingly few in number, who still wish to believe the ‘bones in the urn’ at Westminster are, without doubt, the remains of Edward V and his brother, Richard of York. Professor Hicks, among others, chides those who ‘do not wish to believe’ despite ‘the best medical opinion of the day.’ (Extraordinary statement, since Hicks has doubted the veracity of Richard III’s remains, despite overwhelming modern scientific confirmation…yet in the 1930’s, prIor to the advent of Dna testing,not even the sex of pubescent/pre-pubescent children’ remains could be accurately ascertained, let alone their identity.)
The examination of the fragmentary skeletons shows that the elder of the two suffered some kind of dental disease, either the potentially fatal osteomyelitis, or the lesser but still painful and unpleasant oteitis. In the former ailment, modern day patients have described their faces as ‘swelling like a balloon’, have complained of ‘not sleeping properly for a year with pain’ and having ‘stabbing pain in jaw, face and eye area.’ This is with modern medical intervention, including powerful painkillers and antibiotics. In oteitis, bone forms rather than is destroyed; although not generally as painful as osteomyeletis, or potentially life threatening, it is still an inflammatory response to peridontal infection, and would be connected with abscessed and decayed teeth. Uncomfortable at the very least and can also cause swelling and pain.
Now the young Prince Edward was never once in his lifetime described as sickly or unattractive. Indeed, he was described, in glowing terms, as a veritable young Apollo and a budding scholar of high intellect…
“He had such dignity in his own person, and in his face such charm that however much they might gaze, he never wearied the eyes of beholders.”
“… I should not pass over in silence the talent of the youth. In word and deed, he gave so many proofs of his liberal education, of polite, nay rather scholarly attainments far beyond his age; all of these should be recounted, but require so such labor, that I shall lawfully excuse myself the effort. There is one thing I shall not omit, and that is, his special knowledge of literature, which enabled him to discourse elegantly, to understand fully and to disclaim most excellently from any work whether in verse or prose which came into his hands, unless it were from among the more abstruse authors.”
Although young Edward’s household was in Ludlow, he was not hidden away from the world in any wise. From 1480 onwards, there are at least eight recorded instances when he was involved in public activities with his father, Edward IV, or at court with his parents.
The above hardly sounds like the activities or description of a sickly boy wracked with constant dental pain and infection. The fact that Edward had a physician, Dr Argentine, with him need not imply sickliness. It was normal for royalty to have their own private physicians to attend to their well-being.
George Buck is the only writer of the past to mention that Edward V may have been unwell. He gives no proof, other than none of his full blood siblings lived to a very great age. I am sure most traditionalists would not be inclined to accept Buck’s idea in this regard, as in other respects his reports on Richard are positive ones and question the Tudor ‘story’ and it would surely mean they had to give some credence to them!
So, it comes down quite simply to this:
If Dominic Mancini is to be believed, and Professor Hicks postulates he may have even met the young Edward V, the youth cannot have been suffering any noticeable afflictions or physical abnormalities. Any such blemishes would also surely have been noted in his public appearances (if such appearances were even possible had he been chronically ailing). They were never mentioned.
So therefore, if Edward V was the bright, handsome and intellectual young ‘Apollo’ of Mancini’s glowing description, it is almost impossible that the child with the abnormal jawbone ,whose remains lie in the urn in Westminster, is in fact him.
Annette Carson- The Maligned King
Dominic Mancini –The Usurpation of Richard III
Michael Hicks-Edward V