There are hopes King Charles could authorize a forensic investigation into the remains believed to be those of the Princes in the Tower – royal brothers allegedly killed by Richard III more than 500 years ago to ensure he took the throne. Historian Tracy Borman has said the new monarch is on the record as stating that he would be interested in solving the mystery.
Remains thought to be those of Princes Edward and Richard are currently buried in Westminster Abbey. But the Church of England, with the support of Queen Elizabeth II, refused to grant permission to test the bones, which were found in the Tower of London.
However former archaeology student Charles III is keen to get the tests done, according to Ms Borman, who is a joint curator of Historic Royal Palaces. She made the remarks at this year’s Sandon Literary Festival held last month in Staffordshire.
She said: “He has said he would like an investigation to go ahead, so that we can determine, once and for all, how the young royals died.”
The common theory is that the “Princes in the Tower” were murdered on Richard III’s orders because 12-year-old Edward was the rightful heir to the throne and his nine-year-old brother, Richard, was next in line after him. Richard III succeeded the boys’ father, King Edward IV, who died suddenly at the age of just 41 and he left Richard ruling as his older son’s protector.
But instead of letting the prince become king, Richard assumed the title himself. He locked his nephews up in the Tower of London, claiming at first that it was for their safety.
He then went on to declare they were not really Edward IV’s children and were, therefore, not legitimate heirs. They were never seen again and Richard III died himself in 1485 when Henry Tudor defeated him at the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire.
William Shakespeare’s play King Richard III, written in the 1590s, painted the hunch-backed monarch as an evil child murderer. It’s an accusation that has persisted to this day
In 1674 the bones of two children of similar ages to the young nephews were found in the tower but so far experts have been denied permission to test the remains to see if they are the princes. Because the bodies are interred in royal crypts they can only be exhumed with permission of the Monarch and that hasn’t yet happened.
In 2012, Richard III’s body – thought to have been dumped in the River Soar – was discovered under a Leicester car park 527 years after he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in August 1485. He was reinterred at Leicester Cathedral.