Until now it has been widely believed that Princes Edward and Richard were executed at the Tower of London (Picture: Getty)
New evidence suggests the young princes famously believed to have been killed in the Tower of London actually made a lucky escape.
Until now it has been widely believed that young King Edward V, 12, and his nine-year-old brother Richard were locked up in the tower and killed by their uncle, Richard III, in his bid for the crown.
In Shakespeare’s play ‘Richard III’, the playwright dramatises the story and has the king make orders for the young royal brothers to be murdered.
But now Phillipa Langley, the amateur historian who found the remains of Richard III under a car park in Leicester, has made a bombshell new discovery that suggests the brothers may have escaped to Europe instead of being killed by their uncle.
The historian will present her ‘startling discoveries’ in an upcoming documentary on Channel 4 on Saturday.
In The Princes in the Tower: The New Evidence, Ms Langley will present her belief that the two people who history has always said were the princes were actually just two ordinary boys.
The princes were taken to the Tower of London after their father died in 1483 – and after that they vanished from historical records
She believes Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck were the real princes in the tower.
It was Simnel and Warbeck who tried and failed to depose Henry VII.
Edward V, who never became king, and his brother were sons of King Edward IV, who died in 1483.
After their uncle, Richard III, who was Duke of Gloucester at the time, then declared the two brother illegitimate they were taken to the Tower of London.
They then disappeared from historical records and, until now, it was widely believed that they were executed.
Experts have, for years, been keen to test the remains of four children to see if any of them were the four princes.
Two of the bodies were found in the Tower of London in the 1600s while the other two were buried in the grounds of Windsor Castle in the 1700s.
But the late Queen Elizabeth II reportedly blocked any requests to test these remains because the bodies had been laid to rest in royal crypts.
Ms Langley reveals in the Channel 4 show and in her book – The Princes in the Tower – that the documents found in the European archives suggest the princes escaped and later tried to invade England.
In her search for the truth, the historian carried out an investigation with the help of 300 researchers.
The contemporaneous documents suggest that Edward V and Prince Richard were actually Simnel and Warbeck.
The evidence includes an alleged witness statement from Prince Richard, where he describes being smuggled out of the Tower by Henry and Thomas Percy.
And experts have confirmed they have authenticated it as coming from that period of history.
The account says: ‘They shaved my hair and put a poor and drab shirt on me and we went to St Katharine’s [dock].’
Another piece of evidence from Holland in 1483 has a royal seal of approval and what appears to be a signature from ‘Richard, Duke of York’.
In the document is a promise Richard will pay 30,000 florins to Duke Albert of Saxony after he gains the throne of England.
A man who claimed to be Richard arrived in England accompanied by a small army hoping to make a bid for the throne.
He fled to Scotland when his attempt failed, and tried again in 1497.
When he was caught he signed a confession declaring he was actually Warbeck, the son of a boatman, but Ms Langley believes it was probably Prince Richard – and thinks this is further evidence he didn’t die in the Tower.
The new documentary as well as Ms Langley’s book – The Princes in the Tower – presents a number of other pieces of evidence all pointing to the newfound discovery that the two princes weren’t executed in London.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.
The historian who found Richard III’s remains in Leicester has brand new evidence about the Princes in the Tower.