Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Princes in the Tower

My first lesson in the processes of historians - as distinct from history itself - was a study of Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time.  This was prescribed reading for one of the history subjects in my university course.  Until then, I had accepted that history was really just a matter of fact, so the discovery that history could be spun - and that Shakespeare may have done this -  was a something of an eye-opener for me. Perhaps this says something for the standard of teaching in those days.   Ever since then, I have been in a state of uncertainty about the fate of the Princes in the Tower:   is the story that they were murdered on the orders of Richard III just Tudor propaganda made up to reinforce Henry VII's claim to the throne?

More importantly, the lesson that history is often subjective is one which we can all do well to remember, especially when we see reports in the media about the curriculum to be taught in schools.
Memories of this were brought back by the recent discovery of what are believed to be Richard III's remains (one report here).  I see that they're still working out where he is to be finally buried.

1 comment:

  1. The biography of R3 by Paul Murray Kendall, regarded by some as best and fairest, examines sources and analyses opportunities. His conclusion is that "empirically Buckingham appears more likely than Richard to have been the murderer." He acknowledges that B may have persuaded R to acquiesce. That classic was written in 1955, so perhaps there has been fresh evidence in the last 60 years since neither Yorkists nor their opponents will let the issue rest.