That, of course, was the opening question/premise of Josephine Tey's famous novel, The Daughter of Time. I had read the book as a young man and decided this week to do so again. The internet has changed me; I now want all my information delivered quickly and concisely, so I was a little impatient during the rereading, wishing that what was written as 200 pages had been summarized in a 50-page essay. But it's still a quick one-sitting read and it still presents in a compelling manner logical reasons to presume Richard III innocent of the murder of the young princes:
- Even after their deaths, there were nine other heirs in the York line, so he didn't gain much benefit.
- He was not accused of the crime at the time it supposedly occurred.
- The boys' mother (Elizabeth Woodville) remained a friend of Richard after the supposed event and the other children were allowed to be at his palace.
- He treated the other York heirs generously.
- His right to the crown was unassailable on legal grounds.
- The person next in succession was young Warwick, but Richard even made him his own heir when Richard's son died.
History is written by victors, but, as Tey's book title suggests, Veritas Filia Temporis.
For those with more than a passing interest in this subject, there is a Richard III Society, dedicated to reassessing his life and studying 15th century English history and culture.