The Wars of the Roses/The Princes in the Tower/Susan Higginbotham/History Refreshed/”If Margaret, why not Cecily”/Some Comments

 

 

 

 

King Edward IV.jpg

KING EDWARD IV, SON OF RICHARD, DUKE OF

YORK AND FATHER TO THE ”PRINCES OF
THE TOWER” AND ELIZABETH OF YORK,
WIFE TO THE LATER KING HENRY VII [HENRY
TUDOR] AND MOTHER TO KING HENRY VIII
HISTORICAL IMAGE

KING EDWARD IV, SON OF RICHARD, DUKE OF

YORK AND FATHER TO THE ”PRINCES OF
THE TOWER” AND ELIZABETH OF YORK,
WIFE TO THE LATER KING HENRY VII [HENRY
TUDOR] AND MOTHER TO KING HENRY VIII
HISTORICAL FICTION
KING RICHARD III, SON OF RICHARD, DUKE
OF YORK, BROTHER OF KING EDWARD IV AND THE
UNCLE OF THE ”PRINCES OF THE TOWER”, WHO DEPOSED
HIS ELDEST NEPHEW EDWARD V TO BECOME KING.

THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER
[THE TWO SONS OF KING EDWARD IV, WHO
DISAPPEARED IN THE TOWER, PROBABLY MURDERED, THE ELDEST ONE
WAS SHORTLY EDWARD Y, BEFORE HE WAS DEPOSED BY HIS UNCLE RICHARD,
DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, THE LATER KING RICHARD III]

The Two Princes Edward and Richard in the Tower, 1483 by Sir John Everett Millais, 1878, part of the Royal Holloway picture collection

King-edward-v.jpg
EDWARD V, THE ELDEST OF THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER, WHO
SHORTLY BECAME KING, BEFORE HE WAS DEPOSED BY HIS UNCLE RICHARD,
DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, THE LATER KING RICHARD III
HISTORICAL IMAGE
 
 
 
Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York.jpg
 
RICHARD,3RD  DUKE OF YORK, FATHER OF
EDWARD IV AND RICHARD III
AND GRANDFATHER OF ”THE PRINCES OF THE TOWER”
AND ELIZABETH OF YORK
HISTORICAL IMAGE
 

CECILY OF YORK, WIFE OF RICHARD, DUKE OF
YORK, MOTHER OF EDWARD IV AND RICHARD III
AND GRANDMOTHER OF ”THE PRINCES OF THE TOWER”
AND ELIZABETH OF YORK
 
HISTORICAL IMAGE
FICTION

Lady Margaret Beaufort from NPG.jpg

Lady Margaret Beaufort at prayer.
HISTORICAL IMAGE
MARGARET  BEAUFORT, WIFE OF EDMUND TUDOR,
MOTHER OF HENRY TUDOR, LATER KING HENRY VII
Image result for margaret of beaufort/Images
FICTION
King Henry VII.jpg
HENRY VII, SON OF MARGARET BEAUFORT AND
EDMUND TUDOR, FATHER OF HENRY VIII
HISTORICAL IMAGE
Elizabeth of York from Kings and Queens of England.jpg
ELIZABETH OF YORK, DAUGHTER OF EDWARD IV,
WIFE OF HENRY VII AND MOTHER OF HENRY VIII
HISTORICAL IMAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WARS OF THE ROSES/THE PRINCES
OF THE TOWER/COMMENTS ON SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM/
HISTORY REFRESHED/”IF MARGARET, WHY NOT CECILY”
I make a travel to the past with you again.
This time to the period, that can be called the swan song
his sons, the socalled ”Princes in the Tower”
dissappeared in the Tower, probably murdered.
In her interesting Blog Contribution,”If Margaret, why not
Cecily’‘, history novel
writer Susan Higginbotham speculates that if
one can assume, that Margaret Beaufort, [mother
of the later King Henry VII],
could have ordered thei killings of the princes, instead of King
Richard III, [the general popular belief], Cecily Duchess of York,
 [mother of Edward IV  and grandmother
of the ”Princes of the Tower”], could also have ordered their death.
However, Higginbotham states, that their is no proof of
the guilt of both the ladies, she wants to point out
that it is as invalid to accuse Margaret, as Cecily.
I disagree with Higginbotham  since, to my opinion, Margaret had
a clearer motive for the killings than Cecily.
Besides, Margaret had as much opportunity, meaning
access to the Tower as Cecily.
And Margaretalso  ran lesser risks than was stated by Higginbotham.
But that comes below.
First I want to travel with you to
the last period of the bloody Wars of the Roses, where,
the House of York concerned, brother turned against brother,
which finally was one of the causes, the House of
Tudor rose to power.
End of the impressive House of Plantagenet.
However, the York dynasty, with their superior right
the marriage of Elizabeth of York, daughter
of Edward IV, to Henry VII, which finally,
the ancestors to all subsequent English monarchs.
ENTER THE WORLD

 

 

THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER
Introduction:
History tells us the horrible story of the young sons of
King Edward IV, imprisoned in the Tower of London and
smothered in their beds, at the orders of their uncle,
Richard III, who usurped the throne.
This horror story is confirmed by William Shakespeare in his
famous play, Richard III, but brought in the world first by the
study of Sir Thomas More,  that man of principle, who
However, today’s historians question about the guilt of
King Richard III, since likely there were more ”candidates”
for this murder.
To say it more clearly:
People of high position, who had some interest by their deaths.
However, modern historians either don’t believe in the
guilt of Richard III, or have  serious doubts about
his guilt, alleging, that others could have been responsible too
, having as motive as opportunity to have them killed.
 
As possible other  suspects have been mentioned
 
Suspect:
 
He was the right hand man of Richard III, although later rised against
But when the princes were already dead before that date, he had a clear
motive.
Being a descendant from King Edward III through his third
son, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, [where the Lancasters were descended from], as 
from Thomas of Woodstock , the fifth son of Edward III, , Buckingham
had a certain claim to the throne.  [this in remembrance:
The Yorks, Edward IV and Richard III had a superior claim as descendants
 
Suspect:
Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII.
 
When the princes still lived after the defeat of King Richard III at the
Battle of Bosworth, Henry Tudor of course had a motive.
He had no strong claim to the throne, descending from his
mother, Margaret Beaufort’s side, from the illegitimate Lancaster
line [the Swynford line]  and made his claim to the throne
by ”right of conquest”, so that he was not dependent from
the far stronger York claim of his later wife, Elizabeth
of York, [daughter to Edward IV and sister to the ”princes in
 
However, when the princes should have lived by his victory
at Bosworth, their claim would have been far stronger.
It thus would have been in his interest to get rid
of them
 
 
However, the problem with all those theories, again is, that
there is simple no proof when and by who they were killed.
 
But I don’t believe for a minute, that their own grandmother,
have killed her own grandsons, the sons of her dead son Edward IV.
Instead, Margaret Beaufort, who was a convinced Lancastrian and
wanted to promote her son, Henry Tudor [later Henry VII] to the throne,
could have had a clear motive
See below my comments on Susan Higginbotham’s
This was the introduction
Thanks for travelling with me to the past again
See below my comments on Susan Higginbotham’s
History Refreshed
And below that, the text of ”If Margaret, why not Cecily”
Astrid Essed
 
 
COMMENTS ON SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM’HISTORY REFRESHED
IF MARGARET, WHY NOT CECILY/
SOME COMMENTS ON YOUR INTERESTING BLOG
Dear Mrs Higginbotham,
I’m always very interested in your comments, deriving from
good historical research and logical assumptions.
So I read your Blog ”If Margaret, why not Cecily”, with much interest.
Here folllow some comments:
In your Blog you challenge the idea, that Margaret Beaufort [mother
of Henry Tudor, who defeated King Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth
en became the first Tudor king, Henry VII] could possibly be behind the death
of the ”princes in the Tower”
Instead you argue, that following the idea of the guilt of Margaret Beaufort,
as well Cecily Neville, widow to Richard, Duke of York [and grandmother
of ”the princes of the Tower] could have been behind their murders.
However you emphasize, that  according to you, none of both ladies were
involved.
However I agree with you that I don’t believe in both their
guilt either, I am of the opinion, that coming to motives, Margaret Beaufort
had a full stronger and clearer motive than
Cecily, Duchess of York.
She had also the same opportunity [access to the
Tower] and didn’t run into so much risk when discovered
as you mention in your Blog.
But before commenting on that, first the common story
about the Princes of the Tower
PRINCES IN THE TOWER/THE GENERAL STORY
Let me tell this straight
There is simple no proof [although it is likely]
that the princes were killed and by who.
The only fact is, that they were actually in the Tower
[allegedly for the coronation of Edward V] and after 1483 not
seen in public anymore.
They simply disappeared.
So likely they were murdered,
But if so, by who?
Through the centuries, historians believed, that King Richard III,
who deposed his nephew,the very short time King Edward V
 [son of his brother King
Edward IV], killed Edward V and his younger brother, the 5th Duke of York
[the 3th was his grandfather,Richard,  whose superior claim on the throne
started the wars of the Roses, the 4th was his own father, King Edward IV],
imprisoned the boys in the Tower and later gave orders to kill them.
This to make his own way to the throne.
This is mainly derived from Shakespeare’s Richard III, who in my
opinion seriously maligned Richard III as Thomas More”s History
of King Richard III

I quote Thomas More

”History of King Richard III, page 74

”Now fell their mischief thick. And as the thing evilly got is never well kept, through all the time of his reign there never ceased cruel death and slaughter, till his own destruction ended it. But as he finished his time with the best death and the most righteous, that is to say, his own, so began he with the most piteous and wicked: I mean the lamentable murder of his innocent nephews – the young King and his tender brother, whose death and final misfortune has nevertheless so far come in question that some remain yet in doubt whether they were in his days destroyed or not.”
See Shakespeare’s Richard III
 
However, modern historians either don’t believe in the
guilt of Richard III, or have  serious doubts about
his guilt, alleging, that others could have been responsible too
, having as motive as opportunity to have them killed.
 
As possible other  suspects have been mentioned
 
Suspect:
Henry Stafford. 2nd Duke of Buckingham
 
He was the right hand man of Richard III, although later rised against
him and was executed in november 1483.
But when the princes were already dead before that date, he had a clear
motive.
Being a descendant from King Edward III through his third
son, John of Gaunt [where the Lancasters were descended from], as 
Thomas of Woodstock, the fifth son of Edward III, , Buckingham
had a certain claim to the throne.  [this in remembrance:
The Yorks, Edward IV and Richard III had a superior claim as descendants
of the second son of Edward III, Lionel of Antwerp, from the line of
the mother of their father, Richard, Duke of York] 
 
 
 
 
Suspect:
Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII
 
When the princes still lived after the defeat of King Richard III at the
Battle of Bosworth, Henry Tudor of course had a motive.
He had no strong claim to the throne, descending from his
mother, Margaret Beaufort’s side, from the illegitimate Lancaster
line [the Swynford line] and made his claim to the throne
by ”right of conquest”, so that he was not dependent from
the far stronger York claim of his later wife, Elizabeth
of York [daughter to Edward IV and sister to the ”princes in
the Tower”]
 
See about the Swynford line [The Beaufort family]
 
 
See about Henry VII and the ”right of conquest”
 
 
 
 
However, when the princes should have lived by his victory
at Bosworth, their claim would have been far stronger.
It thus would have been in his interest to get rid
of them
 
Mark Goacher defends this theory rather convincincly
 
 
However, the problem with all those theories, again is, that
there is simple no proof when and by who they were killed.
 
Back to the alleged involvement of Margaret Beaufiort or
Cecily, Duchess of York
 
MARGARET BEAUFORT AND CECILY
ARGUMENTS FOR INVOLVEMENT IN THE DEATHS
OF THE ”PRINCES IN THE TOWER”
Let me say one thing clearly.
I don’t  accuse Margaret Beaufort of the princes’ death
for a minute, simply, because there is no proof whatsoever,
 that she was involved at all.
I am only stating, that she had a clear motive and also the
opportunity.
But first Cecily’s real or alleged motives:
MARGARET AND CECILY
MEANS AND OPPORTUNITIES
CECILY’S MOTIVES FOR KILLING HER
GRANDSONS:
You state, that since Cecily had apparent objections against the
marriage of her son Edward IV to Elozabeth Woodville
[which is just], she would have been inclined not to see her
half Woodville grandson on the throne
I quote you
”Cecily’s objection to her son Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville is well known, and there’s little indication that she ever warmed to her daughter-in-law. On these lines, it has been suggested that she supported her son Richard III’s bid for the throne, preferring to see him as king instead of her half-Woodville grandson Edward V. Assuming for the sake of argument that Cecily did indeed approve of Richard III’s actions, it stands to reason that she would want to see him remain on the throne once he got there. The plot to free Edward V and his brother from the Tower that emerged soon after Richard’s coronation could well have made Cecily to decide to help Richard’s cause by eliminating her grandsons.”
I agree with you, that Cecily had strong objections against the marriage
of Edward IV with Elizabeth Woodville and probably she would
not her grandson ascend the throne, because of the Woodville
influence at Court.
Therefore it is indeed plausible that she favourited the accession
to the throne of her son Richard III
But, that doesn’t mean she had reasons to
want her own grandsons to be killed.
After all, however objections against their mother, they were the
children of her own son, Edward IV.
However Margaret Beaufort, who was a  very far blood relative
of the princes [King Edward III being her ancestor by his
his son, John of Gaunt and King Edward  being the ancestor of
the princes by his son Lionel of Antwerp and Edmund of Langley,
as also John of Gaunt via Cecily, See the Lancaster and York family
trees]and was on the ”Lancaster” side, could not have any
emotional barriers with killing them, although perhaps moral.
CECILY AND MARGARET
OPPORTUNITIES TO GET ACCESS TO THE TOWER
HAD MARGARET REALLY LESSER OPPORTUNITIES
TO GET ACCESS THE TOWER?
I quote you
”Cecily had at least as good means and opportunity to kill Edward IV’s sons as did Margaret Beaufort, and quite probably better ones. As the mother of two kings, Cecily would have had the best of connections at court, and her house in London would have given her contacts in the city as well. Even if she couldn’t get into the Tower herself, she certainly had as much ability as did Margaret Beaufort to gain access to those who could. Indeed, as the boys’ grandmother, she had a perfectly plausible excuse to visit them in the Tower (perhaps taking them some poison-laced treats), unlike their more distant relation Margaret.”
Clever of you, to mention the well opportunity of Cecily
to get access to her grandsons and take them some
poison laced treats.
However, being their grandmother, as I mentioned before, 
there would be a great emotional barrier to act like that.
But I admit, that technically it’s possible, since she could]\
easily access the Tower.
 
But according to me, you are wrong about the better opportunity
of Cecily to kill them.
At first glance it seems you’re right, that Cecily could
have done it easier by her easy access.
But Margaret had a better opportunity than you 
mentioned, not to meet the princes and poison
them, but to hire killers and do the dirty work.
On what way?
Well, very simple, through her fourth husband.
 
Margaret Beaufort’s fourth husband, Thomas Stanley, First Earl
of Derby [nice detail, he was first married to the sister
of Richard Nedille, 16th Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker]
, was a high nobleman, who managed to ”switch between
Lancaster and York” [first he was loyal to Lancaster, then to York, you
never knew] and eventually would betray Richard III in
the Battlle of Bosworth, choosing sides of his wife’s son,
the later Henry VII.
Raising highly in power under Edward IV, Richard III made him
”Lord Constable of England” after the execution of Richard’s
former right man Buckingham.
See
Presuming that the princes were still alive after the execution of
Buckingham in november 1483 [when Stanley got Buckingham’s
job], it was not difficult for a wife of a man in such a position,
 to get access to the Tower or worse still, to hire some killers
to murder the princes.
I did not say she actually did, I only show the possibility.
MARGARET AND CECILY/
FEW RISKS FOR CECILY/
WERE THE RISKS INVOLVED FOR MARGARET REALLY THAT GREAT?
About your argument, that it was not probable
that Margaret would have arranged the death
of the princes , being the great rosk for her, you quote:
”Furthermore, if Margaret Beaufort arranged for the deaths of Edward IV’s sons during Richard III’s reign in order to advance the cause of her son Henry Tudor, she was taking an enormous risk: if caught, she faced imprisonment at best, execution at worst, and her actions could have been used to discredit her son, putting paid to his chances of gaining support for his invasion. If Cecily, on the other hand, arranged for the boys’ deaths, she ran comparatively little risk, for even if Richard did not welcome such meddling,  it would have hardly benefited him to publicize the fact that his own mother killed her grandsons.”
I agree with you this far, that I don’t believe either, not for a
minute, that Richard III would excuse or expose Cecily,
had she arranged the murder of her grandsons.
First she would have done it for him.
Secondly, after all Cecily was his own mother.
 
But although he would not have any scrupules about
Margaret [who was after all an adversary to his own House 
of York, although not openly and would promote
her own son, Henry, to the throne], the death
of the princes should have benefited him in his position
as a King and he would not have quarelled with her husband
Lord Stanley, being of great political importance
to him.
So it’s the question, whether Margaret ran such a great risk.
 
I have some example to confirm that:
 
When Margaret plotted with the Dowager Queen [Elizabeth
Woodville, mother of the princes in the Tower] and was [probably] 
involved in the Buckingham rebellion, 
Richard stripped her of all her titles and possession for her part “in compassyng and doyng Treason”, but transferred all her properties to Stanley, effectively negating much of the punishment
See
 
 
 
 
 
So it was not a great risk Margaret would have taken for killing
the princes.
 
 
MARGARET AND CECILY
ABOUT GUILT AND MOTIVES
MARGARET’S MOTIVES TO KILL
THE PRINCES OF THE TOWER
WERE THEY REALLY SO VAGUE AND WEAK?
You quote her about the lack of evidence of the guilt of
either Margaret Beaufort or Cecily of York, as you
question the motives of Margaret Beaufort for involvement in
the death of the princes
I quote you
”Of course, there is a glaring difficulty in assigning guilt to Cecily: lack of evidence.  No contemporary source suggests that Cecily had a hand in the deaths of Edward V and his younger brother. But no contemporary source suggests that Margaret did either. As the evidence stands today, neither the duchess nor the countess could be convicted in a court of law of murder. Yet whereas as far as I know only one or two rather obscure novels have cast Cecily in the role of murderess, Margaret (thanks largely in part to the television series “The White Queen”) has become a leading suspect, often crowding out Richard III and the perennial favorite, Buckingham.”
”Asked for evidence of her guilt, those implicating Margaret point rather vaguely to her ambition and her devotion to her son  and, more specifically, to her role in the rebellion of October 1483. But while one could try to build a case for Margaret’s guilt upon this shaky foundation, it certainly doesn’t rule out Cecily as an alternative suspect.”
”As I said earlier, I do not believe that either Margaret or Cecily was responsible for the deaths of the Princes in the Tower. But for those who are convinced that Margaret was responsible, I leave with a parting thought. Motherly love is among the strongest of motivators. If maternal feeling could have driven Margaret to commit infanticide in order to bring her only son to the throne, why couldn’t it have driven Cecily to commit infanticide to keep her last surviving son there?”
To begin with that lack of evidence:
You are right about that.
There was simple no evidence, Margaret or Cecily whould have been
involved in the deaths of the princes and no Court should
have convinced them, of course.
But I disagree about you concerning the weakness of motives of
Margaret Beaufort:
They were very strong.
From an early stadium, Margaret has promoted her only son Henry’s
interests regarding the possibilities to ascend the throne.
It was highly probable she was involved in the Buckingham rebeliiom
that, when it would be succesful, brought her son nearer to the
throne and eventually [and perhaps before that] she got help
from her husband, Lord Stanley, betraying Richard III
in the Battle of Bosworth, which made Henry Tudor
[Margaret’s son the later Henry VII] victorious.
See
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I can understand her ambition for her son, but that means she could
also have been involved in the killings of the princes, seeing
it as a bloody, but necessary step for her son to reach the throne.
 
You can argue, that Cecily was likewise ambitious for her
son Richard III, but that’s not the same.
 
Margaret had only one son she would, reasonably, promote
to the throne  and being in exile, she had to be involved
in plotting anyway, since her son was in exile and returning to
England was only possible after a military battle
 
 
That can make a person ruthless, killing two boys [the princes
in the Tower]
 
Cecily however was not in that position.
She indeed had a last surviving sons, but a great number
of grandchildren and two grandsons of her dead son
Edward IV, whom she will have loverd as Richard III.
And although she didn’t approve of his wife,
it’s highly unlikely, emotionally at least, that
she will kill the children of her one dead son to promote a
living son.
 
Therefore I find your argument about  the possible motive of Cecily very weak.
 
 
 
MARGARET AND CECILY
THEIR LOSSES AND SHARE OF TROUBLE/
NOT COMPARABLE
Cecily’s losses were nearly unbearable
Mentioning the ”share of trouble” Cecily and
Margaret had by the bloody Wars of Roses:
The losses of the ladies are not comparable
You quote
”Cecily and Margaret had each known more than her share of trouble. The daughter of a possible suicide, Margaret was a widow and a mother by age fourteen. From 1455 to 1471, her male Beaufort relatives were killed one by one by the Yorkists, and her only son grew up in exile abroad. Cecily herself suffered the deaths in battle of her husband and her son Edmund, the execution of her son George, and the demise of a number of her children by natural causes. If life had hardened Margaret, there is every reason to believe that it hardened Cecily as well.”
Of course both ladies will have hardened by the bloody losses
they suffered.
Yet it is, to put it mildly, not the same.
 
Margaret suffered losses of her Beaufort relatives indeed
and loss of family, always is disaster.
Yet it were not as closest relatives as Cecily’s.
 
Remember:
In one battle [The Battle of Wakefield],
Cecily lost her husband [Richard Duke of York], her
17 years old son [Edmund, Earl of Rutland, probably
executed], her brother [Richard Neville, 5th Earl of
Salisbury executed, he was father to the 16th Earl of Warwick, the
Kingmaker] and several nephews.
At one battle.
 
That’s almost unbearable.
 
Moreover, the heads of her husband, son and brother were
displayed at Micklegate.
You can imagine the agony she has been through.
 
 
 
 
The most of her Neville relatives were killed in the wars of Roses,
including the Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker, who out
of political conflicts, rose against Edward IV and died in
the Battle of Barnet, supporting Margaret of Anjou to get
the throne back for her son, Edward of Westminster
[who would die tragically in the Battle of Tewkesbury]
 
 
 
 
Then she lost her son George [as a consequence of
brotherly rivalry and ambition], who was eventually
[the first time his brother Edward IV forgave him] executed
by her other son, Edward IV
 
 
 
I can’t compare that with the losses of Margaret Beaufort, however
worse.
 
 
Exile of Margaret’s  son Henry Tudor
 
Of course the exile of Margaret’s son was hard and there were reasons
to fear for his life, but after the Battle of Wakefield, Cecily also
was compelled to send her sons George Plantagenet [who was
executed later] and Richard [who became Richard III] into exile
out of fear for their lives.
 
 
 
 
So if it comes to losses, of course both ladies suffered, but
although always worse and hard, Cecily’s losses were almost
unbearable in comparison to Margaret’s.
 
 
 
MARGARET AND CECILY
LIFE HARDENED CECILY/THE RUTHLESS
MEN IN HER LIFE
NOT A FAIR ARGUMENT TO INVOLVE
SUPPOSED TRAGIC HAPPENINGS IN
 1ST BATTLE OF ALBANS WITH SUPPOSED
TRAGIC HAPPENINGS, ABOUT 28 YEARS LATER
Although the men involved in Cecily’s life would be ruthless, it
is no argument, that Cecily would have killed her grandsons”
Moreover, it seems not fair to me mentioned the real or supposed
execution of the Duke of Somerset in the First Battle of
St Albans in respect to possible murders under Richard III
You quote
”Cecily and Margaret had each known more than her share of trouble. The daughter of a possible suicide, Margaret was a widow and a mother by age fourteen. From 1455 to 1471, her male Beaufort relatives were killed one by one by the Yorkists, and her only son grew up in exile abroad. Cecily herself suffered the deaths in battle of her husband and her son Edmund, the execution of her son George, and the demise of a number of her children by natural causes. If life had hardened Margaret, there is every reason to believe that it hardened Cecily as well.

Moreover, the men in Cecily’s life had shown themselves to be ruthless when the occasion demanded it: her husband, Richard, Duke of York, had taken the opportunity to rid himself of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, on the streets of St. Albans; her son Edward had ordered the execution of his own brother George; and her son Richard had executed William, Lord Hastings, without a trial. Perhaps Cecily, convinced that she was acting for the good of the realm, followed their example.  Perhaps she even decided to take the sin of murder upon herself to spare Richard the responsibility.”

An already griefstricken wife and mother kills her own

grandsons/Highly unlikely argument:

I explained already, why Cecily’s losses are far more traumatic

and large than that of Margaret and they should not to be

compared, however serious the loss of any human life is.

Margaret [happily] didn’t lose her husband, son and brother in

two days and didn’t suffer the execution of one son through another.

But that besides:

Using ruthlessness of the men in Cecily’s life as a reason, that

Cecily, as a consequence of this, should kill her own grandsons,

doesn’t seem fair.

We mention here a woman, who has suffered already so much.

Her husband, son and brother in law killed in two days, her one

son executed by the other.

And she would have added her grief by killing her own grandsons?

Not a likely argument.

Ruthlessness of the men in Cecily’s lives

It seems also unfair to involve Richard Duke of York with

possible tragic happenings under the rule of his

youngest son, about 23 years after his own violent death

at Wakefield and displaying his head at Micklegate.

The death of the Duke of Somerset in the 1st Battle of

St Albans was tragic, of course, but there is simply

no proof, that York ordered his execution, or that he died

else than the usual [but tragic] death in the Battle.

Moreover, when York was that ruthless, why he took the King
uinharmed to London and did not give order to kill
him at the spot, pretending, that he was hit?
The King was wounded already.
Easy to kill him.
But apart from that:
Of course York could be ruthless, but so were the Lancastrian
party.
Cruelties happened as by Lancasters and York.
And let’s not forget it were the Lancastrians, that violated the
Christmas truce, which preceded the Battle of Wakefield.
Blz 10 following link
A dishonourable thing to do
But besides that, were only Yorkist leaders ”ruthless”?
I mentioned the tragic execution of George, the Duke of
Clarence by his brother Edward IV, but, however horrible, it happened
after a series of conflicts between Edward and his brother, leading
to two rebellions.
But there were a number of ruthless deeds on the side of
Lancastrians too.
That happens in wars, especially embittered
by acts of revenge, and it is a crime, but then on
both sides, as also Lancastrian
See executions of Lancastrian side or cruelties on both sides
War is ruthless.
In the Wars of the Roses, as well as Lancastrians as
Yorks did cruel things.
No point for just showing one side’s cruelty.
CONCLUSION
I agree with you, that there is no proof of any involvement
of Margaret Beaufort and Cecily, Duchess of York,
in the death of the princes in the Tower.
Stronger:
There is no historical proof, that they were murdered anyway,
since the only fact was that they were never seen in
public since 1483.
They simply disappeared.
But I disagree with you that the motives of Margaret were on the
same level as Cecily’s.
Cecily was their grandmother, who had suffered a lot of
traumatic personal losses [her husband, two sons, one in battle,
one executed by her other son, one son dead].
It is highly impropable, that she would add her grandsons
to those tragic losses.
Moreover however her disapproval of their mother, they
were her dead son’s children.
Margaret, being a far relative to the princes and a strong
adversary of the House of York [being a Lancaster] could
have done the killing easier.
I disagree with you also, that Cecily had easier access to
the Tower.
Through her fourth husband’s high position,
Margaret could have easy access to the Tower or hire
killers to do the dirty work.
And to end with
I object against your picturing [even as an assumption]
that Cecily should have killed her own grandsons.
Cecily was a survivor [she turned out to be eighty, very old
in the late Middle Ages], but outlived her husband and all
her seven children, except two daughters [she lost
all her sons], so a bit of kindness should be sympathetic
from your side.
The same ”little kindness” you as for Margaret of Anjou I
ask from you for Cecily.
I end with your own words about Margaret of Anjou
”So why not spare Margaret of Anjou a little kindness for a change?”
And you were right
 
 
 
It’s time you do the same for Cecily.
Thanks for reading
Astrid Essed
Amsterdam
The Netherlands
SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM ”HISTORY REFRESHED”
IF MARGARET, WHY NOT CECILY [X]
TEXT

I belong to several Wars-of-the-Roses-related groups on Facebook, and every week or so, the inevitable question arises: Did Richard III murder his nephews? Each time, at least one person comments that Richard did not; rather, the murderer was Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond. After all, we’re told,  she was a ruthlessly ambitious woman who would do anything to put her son, Henry Tudor, on the throne.

But there was another formidable matriarch in England in 1483, one who almost never gets named as a suspect, but who arguably had as good a motive , means, and opportunity as Margaret. Her name? Cecily, Duchess of York, mother to Edward IV and Richard III.

220px-Cecily_nevilleBefore I go further (and before some of you start writing indignant comments), let me make myself clear: I do not believe that the Duchess of York was responsible for the deaths of her grandsons. I do not believe that Margaret Beaufort was responsible for their deaths either. Rather, I am writing simply to point out that if one can entertain the idea that Margaret was a murderer, logic dictates that one should also entertain the idea that Cecily was one. Why?

Cecily’s objection to her son Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville is well known, and there’s little indication that she ever warmed to her daughter-in-law. On these lines, it has been suggested that she supported her son Richard III’s bid for the throne, preferring to see him as king instead of her half-Woodville grandson Edward V. Assuming for the sake of argument that Cecily did indeed approve of Richard III’s actions, it stands to reason that she would want to see him remain on the throne once he got there. The plot to free Edward V and his brother from the Tower that emerged soon after Richard’s coronation could well have made Cecily to decide to help Richard’s cause by eliminating her grandsons.

Cecily had at least as good means and opportunity to kill Edward IV’s sons as did Margaret Beaufort, and quite probably better ones. As the mother of two kings, Cecily would have had the best of connections at court, and her house in London would have given her contacts in the city as well. Even if she couldn’t get into the Tower herself, she certainly had as much ability as did Margaret Beaufort to gain access to those who could. Indeed, as the boys’ grandmother, she had a perfectly plausible excuse to visit them in the Tower (perhaps taking them some poison-laced treats), unlike their more distant relation Margaret.

Furthermore, if Margaret Beaufort arranged for the deaths of Edward IV’s sons during Richard III’s reign in order to advance the cause of her son Henry Tudor, she was taking an enormous risk: if caught, she faced imprisonment at best, execution at worst, and her actions could have been used to discredit her son, putting paid to his chances of gaining support for his invasion. If Cecily, on the other hand, arranged for the boys’ deaths, she ran comparatively little risk, for even if Richard did not welcome such meddling,  it would have hardly benefited him to publicize the fact that his own mother killed her grandsons.

One could argue that Cecily was too pious to arrange for the deaths of two innocent boys. But Margaret was equally pious, and those who argue for her guilt have never allowed this to stand in their way.

Cecily and Margaret had each known more than her share of trouble. The daughter of a possible suicide, Margaret was a widow and a mother by age fourteen. From 1455 to 1471, her male Beaufort relatives were killed one by one by the Yorkists, and her only son grew up in exile abroad. Cecily herself suffered the deaths in battle of her husband and her son Edmund, the execution of her son George, and the demise of a number of her children by natural causes. If life had hardened Margaret, there is every reason to believe that it hardened Cecily as well.

Moreover, the men in Cecily’s life had shown themselves to be ruthless when the occasion demanded it: her husband, Richard, Duke of York, had taken the opportunity to rid himself of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, on the streets of St. Albans; her son Edward had ordered the execution of his own brother George; and her son Richard had executed William, Lord Hastings, without a trial. Perhaps Cecily, convinced that she was acting for the good of the realm, followed their example.  Perhaps she even decided to take the sin of murder upon herself to spare Richard the responsibility.

Of course, there is a glaring difficulty in assigning guilt to Cecily: lack of evidence.  No contemporary source suggests that Cecily had a hand in the deaths of Edward V and his younger brother. But no contemporary source suggests that Margaret did either. As the evidence stands today, neither the duchess nor the countess could be convicted in a court of law of murder. Yet whereas as far as I know only one or two rather obscure novels have cast Cecily in the role of murderess, Margaret (thanks largely in part to the television series “The White Queen”) has become a leading suspect, often crowding out Richard III and the perennial favorite, Buckingham.

Asked for evidence of her guilt, those implicating Margaret point rather vaguely to her ambition and her devotion to her son  and, more specifically, to her role in the rebellion of October 1483. But while one could try to build a case for Margaret’s guilt upon this shaky foundation, it certainly doesn’t rule out Cecily as an alternative suspect.

As I said earlier, I do not believe that either Margaret or Cecily was responsible for the deaths of the Princes in the Tower. But for those who are convinced that Margaret was responsible, I leave with a parting thought. Motherly love is among the strongest of motivators. If maternal feeling could have driven Margaret to commit infanticide in order to bring her only son to the throne, why couldn’t it have driven Cecily to commit infanticide to keep her last surviving son there?

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor The Wars of the Roses/The Princes in the Tower/Susan Higginbotham/History Refreshed/”If Margaret, why not Cecily”/Some Comments

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