The sufferings that fate inflicts on us should be borne with patience, what enemies inflict with manly courage. — Thucydides

Story of the English - Helene Guerber




The Princes in the Tower

Before Edward IV. died, he foresaw that there might be trouble between his brother Richard and his wife's kindred, so he used his last breath to implore them to be friends. As soon as he was dead, two of the queen's relatives, Earl Rivers and Lord Grey, took charge of Edward V., the eldest son and successor of the king, while the queen withdrew into a sanctuary with her other children. Edward V. was on his way to be crowned at London, when his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, came to meet him. During the first day's journey all went well, but on the second day Richard suddenly had Rivers and Grey seized by his guards. They were then dragged off to prison in spite of the little king's entreaties.

Having thus got rid of the queen's relatives, Richard, whose plan was to secure the throne for himself, led the little king to the Tower, where he was to stay until his coronation. Then, calling Parliament, Richard got from it the title of Protector, for Edward was too young to reign alone.

A few days later, Richard suddenly accused Lord Hastings, a friend of the late king, of treason. In proof, he showed his deformed arm, and told the assembled council that its shrunken appearance was due to the witchcraft of Hastings's friends. Now every one knew that this was not true, but no one dared oppose Richard. He therefore called the guards, and bade them immediately behead Lord Hastings, adding that he would not dine until he knew the traitor was dead.

The guards obeyed, and Lord Hastings was beheaded in the courtyard, on a convenient log of wood, without any further trial. Then some guards were sent off to Pontefract Castle, where Rivers and Grey were put to death, under the pretext that they also were traitors.

Thus rid of the men who would have been most likely to oppose him, Richard, still pretending that he was devoted to the little king, sent for the latter's brother, Richard, Duke of York. The queen hated to let her second son go, but he joyfully entered the Tower to join his brother. As Richard now had both of these princes in his power, he made his friend Buckingham tell the people that they were not the dead king's own offspring, and that he, Richard of Gloucester, ought to be king.

Buckingham managed so cleverly that he persuaded a few persons to go and offer the crown to Richard. The latter pretended at first to be shocked and surprised; but finally he accepted the crown and the title of Richard III. Still, although he had a grand coronation feast, he felt that he should never be safe so long as his brother's sons were alive; so he resolved to put them to death.

Two murderers were therefore sent to the Tower, bearing an order to the governor, who was forced to give up his keys to them for one night. When the governor came back the next day, he rushed to the princes' room, but found it empty. A few days later it became generally known that the little princes were no more; but it was only after Richard's death that it was discovered how they had been killed.

The Princes in the Tower.
THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER.


It was then reported that the murderers, finding them asleep on their bed, clasped in each other's arms and with their prayer book beside them, smothered them under a big feather bed. Then they took the bodies and secretly buried them under one of the Tower staircases. Two hundred years later, a mason, in repairing some broken steps, found the bones of two children, and everybody now believes that they were those of the murdered princes.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Times
The Druids
The Britons
Caesar in Britain
Queen Boadicea
The Great Walls
The Great Irish Saint
The Anglo-Saxons
Brave King Arthur
The Laws of the Saxons
The Story of St Augustine
Three Great Men
The Danish Pirates
King Alfred and the Cakes
Alfred conquers the Danes
A King's Narrow Escape
The King and the Outlaw
The Monasteries
An Unlucky Couple
St Dunstan
King Canute and the Waves
A Saxon Nobleman
Lady Godiva's Ride
The Battle of Hastings
The Conquest
Lords and Vassals
Death of William
The Brothers' Quarrels
Arms and Armour
The "White Ship"
Matilda's Narrow Escapes
Story of Fair Rosamond
Thomas a Becket
Murder of Thomas a Becket
Richard's Adventures
Richard and the Saracens
The Faithful Minstrel
Death of Richard
The Murder of Arthur
The Great Charter
The Rule of Henry III
A Race
Persecution of the Jews
The Conquest of Wales
A Quarrel with France
The Coronation Stone
The Insolent Favourite
Bruce and the Spider
Death of Edward II
The Murderers punished
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Age of Chivalry
The Battle of Poitiers
The Peasants' Revolt
Richard's Presence of Mind
A Tiny Queen
Henry's Troubles
Madcap Harry
A Glorious Reign
The Maid of Orleans
The War of the Roses
The Queen and the Brigand
The Triumph of the Yorks
The Princes in the Tower
Richard's Punishment
Two Pretenders
A Grasping King
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The New Opinions
Death of Wolsey
Henry's Wives
The King and the Painter
A Boy King
Lady Jane Grey
The Death of Cranmer
A Clever Queen
Elizabeth's Lovers
Mary, Queen of Scots
Captivity of Mary Stuart
Wreck of the Spanish Armada
The Elizabethan Age
Death of Elizabeth
A Scotch King
The Gunpowder Plot
Sir Walter Raleigh
King and Parliament
Cavaliers and Roundheads
"Remember"
The Royal Oak
The Commonwealth
The Restoration
Plague and Fire
The Merry Monarch
James driven out of England
A Terrible Massacre
William's Wars
The Duke of Marlborough
The Taking of Gibraltar
The South Sea Bubble
Bonny Prince Charlie
Black Hole of Calcutta
Loss of the Colonies
The Battle of the Nile
Nelson's Last Signal
The Battle of Waterloo
First Gentleman of Europe
Childhood of Queen Victoria
The Queen's Marriage
Wars in Victoria's Reign
The Jubilee