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Did King Richard III murder the two children of his predecessor, Edward IV?

Finally geneticists have obtained a sample of DNA that could settle one of Britain’s most curious cold cases.

It has long been believed the medieval English King Richard III murdered the two children of his predecessor Edward IV in the Tower of London in 1483.

However, the mystery of whether he really did kill the children has never been solved. 

Scientists have now taken a DNA sample from a direct descendant of the ‘Princes in the Tower”s maternal grandmother which could solve this strange historical mystery. 

Finally geneticists have obtained a sample of DNA that could settle one of Britain’s most curious cold cases. It has long been believed the medieval English King Richard III (pictured) murdered the two children of his predecessor Edward IV in the Tower of London in 1483

The direct descendant of the two young princes – Edward V and Richard, Duke of York – is the English opera singer Elizabeth Roberts who provided a DNA sample.

She is the 16 times great-granddaughter of the princes’ maternal grandmother, Jacquette of Luxembourg.

‘The discovery of the descendant, and her decision to supply a sample of her DNA, have opened up significant avenues of investigation’, Philippa Langley, the historical researcher who discovered the grave of Richard III told the Independent as part of an in-depth feature.

‘The traditional narrative surrounding the so-called Princes in the Tower is deeply problematic – but this new DNA brings solving a number of key questions that much closer,’ she said.

In a new book The Mythology of the Princes in the Tower, Dr John Ashdown-Hill, who tragically died a few months ago, looked at this new piece of DNA and how it might solve the 500-year-old mystery.

The story starts back in 1483 when Richard’s brother Edward IV, died unexpectedly.

Richard was made Lord Protector with charge of his two nephews: The young Edward V, aged 12, and his nine-year old brother, Richard, Duke of York.

The boys were locked up in the Tower of London and never seen again. 

The direct descendant of the two young princes – Edward V and Richard, Duke of York – is the English opera singer Elizabeth Roberts (pictured) who provided a DNA sample

The suggestion is that Richard had had both boys murdered, just in case anyone tried to dispute his rights and sought to put young Edward back on the throne. 

In 1674, almost 200 years after their death, the two skeletons were discovered under the stairs in the tower and were reburied in Westminster Abbey.  

If a DNA test on these skeletons matched the maternal DNA of Ms Roberts then that would suggests the remains really do belong to the princes. 

This means the chance of Richard III being guilty is much greater.   

The story starts back in 1483 when Richard's brother Edward IV, died unexpectedly. Richard was made Lord Protector with charge of his two nephews: The young Edward V, aged 12, and his nine-year old brother, Richard, Duke of York (pictured)

The story starts back in 1483 when Richard’s brother Edward IV, died unexpectedly. Richard was made Lord Protector with charge of his two nephews: The young Edward V, aged 12, and his nine-year old brother, Richard, Duke of York (pictured)

WHO WERE THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER?

The mystery of what happened to the Princes in the Tower is one of the most enduring in English history.

Richard III’s brother Edward IV, died unexpectedly in 1483.

Richard was made Lord Protector with charge of his two nephews: The young Edward V, aged 12, and his nine-year old brother, Richard, Duke of York.

The boys were locked up in the Tower of London and never seen again.

The suggestion is that Richard had had both boys murdered, just in case anyone tried to dispute his rights and sought to put young Edward back on the throne.

In 1674, almost 200 years after their death, the two skeletons were discovered under the stairs in the tower and reburied in Westminster Abbey.

The skeletons in the Abbey were last examined in 1933, but scientists were then unable to determine their sex, let alone find any clues to their identities.

However, if the material in Westminster Abbey does not match the modern sample this would mean the remains were not the princes.

That may suggest that Richard was not the murderer and the bodies belonged to someone else.

However, a spokesperson for the Abbey told the Independent it would not be testing the material ‘for the foreseeable future’. 

The Abbey has been asked on several occasions to allow DNA tests on the skeletons but turned requests down. 

The skeletons were last examined in 1933, but scientists were then unable to determine their sex, let alone find any clues to their identities.

Back in 2013 it was confirmed that some remains found in Leicester did belong to King Richard III. 

The suggestion is that Richard had had both boys (pictured) murdered, just in case anyone tried to dispute his rights and sought to put young Edward back on the throne

The suggestion is that Richard had had both boys (pictured) murdered, just in case anyone tried to dispute his rights and sought to put young Edward back on the throne

Using historic maps, researchers traced a friary where he was rumoured to have been buried after being killed in battle – underneath a social services department car park in Leicester.

His injuries – a metal arrowhead embedded in his back, and a severe blow to the head – were consistent with the king’s death at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

The man also had severely curved spine; Richard was famously nicknamed Crookback.

DNA from the skeleton was matched with two of Richard’s living descendants – Canadian-born furniture maker Michael Ibsen, whose mother was a direct descendant of the king’s sister Anne of York, and a second anonymous individual.

Studies revealed the remains dated back to the era of the War of the Roses, while the individual was found to be in his late 20s to 30s. Richard III was 32 when he died.

His skeleton was found to have suffered ten injuries at the time of death, but only two skull wounds were potentially fatal and were most likely inflicted by a sword or a halberd – a spiked axe on a pole.

The corpse was subjected to ‘humiliation injuries’ – including a sword through the right buttock – likely to have been inflicted after death.

 

 

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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