The Princes in the Tower

The Princes in the Tower

3.6 29
by Alison Weir

View All Available Formats & Editions

Despite five centuries of investigation by historians, the sinister deaths of the boy king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, remain one of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. Did Richard III really kill "the Princes in the Tower," as is commonly believed, or was the murderer someone else entirely? In this utterly absorbing…  See more details below


Despite five centuries of investigation by historians, the sinister deaths of the boy king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, remain one of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. Did Richard III really kill "the Princes in the Tower," as is commonly believed, or was the murderer someone else entirely? In this utterly absorbing and meticulously researched book, English writer Alison Weir, an authority on the history of the British royal family, at last provides a conclusive solution to this age-old puzzle. Carefully examining every shred of contemporary evidence as well as the dozens of modern accounts, Weir reconstructs the entire chain of events leading to the double murder. In The Princes in the Tower we are witnesses to the tumultuous reign of Edward IV, the princes' powerful, handsome, promiscuous father. We see the unfolding rivalry between the Wydvilles, the common family of Edward's shrewd queen, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, his ambitious brother. And finally we are swept up in the vortex of intrigue that followed Edward's death - the naming of his twelve-year-old son Edward as heir; Richard's swift arrival in London and his lightning strike for power; the imprisonment of the princes in the Tower of London; and the hushed-up murders that secured Richard's claim to the throne as Richard III. Weir considers in turn each of the prime suspects in the murder: the grasping, conspiratorial Duke of Buckingham; the shadowy Sir James Tyrell, Richard's trusted retainer; the possibility that the boys may have died of natural causes; and of course, Richard III himself, a complex man of charm and intelligence twisted by a ruthless ambition for power. More than an historical murder mystery, The Princes in the Tower is a richly detailed tapestry of English court life in the late fifteenth century - the bitter rivalries that exploded in the Wars of the Roses; the splendor and corruption of the royal family; the violence and tre

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Weir examines the 1483 disappearance of Richard III's two young nephews and determines that he was to blame for their murders. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Proponents of Richard III will not be pleased by this book. Weir ( The Six Wives of Henry VIII , LJ 2/15/92) explores documentary evidence and various theories about the fate of the famous princes (Edward V and his brother, ages 12 and 10) in the Tower of London. Relying on contemporary accounts, Weir assesses credibility and compares details. Her sound research and rational arguments make a convincing case for Richard's direct involvement in the murder of his two young nephews. While she admits that there is no convincing evidence that Richard was hunchbacked or more evil than his contemporaries, Weir does show that he was supremely unpopular, largely because of the murder of the children. This is an excellent and persuasive book, one that belongs in all collections covering the history of Great Britain.-- Katharine Galloway Garstka, Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.
From the Publisher
 • "The mystery of the Princes in the Tower is a cause of outrage as well as a whodunnit—a deeply researched appraisal." — Daily Telegraph

 • "Alison Weir has examined all the contemporary and near-contemporary chronicles with care. Her book, lucidly written and well-researched, makes absorbing reading." —Sunday Times

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“The mystery of the princes in the Tower is a cause of outrage as well as a whodunit . . . a deeply researched appraisal.”
—Ruth Rendell, Daily Telegraph

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Princes in the Tower 3.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 29 reviews.
Melissa_W More than 1 year ago
This book has a different tone than the other Weir histories/biographies I've read recently. She's not rehabilitating a historical figure or detailing the causes of a civil war; this time she's showing us the extant historical record and whether or not that historical record tells us what happened to Edward V and his brother, Richard. The story of the Princes doesn't flow quite like her other books because she has to back up a few times to go over the origins of historical documents and the accuracy of contemprorary sources (Sir Thomas More's biography of Richard III is considered a particularly accurate source because More had access to those close to Richard during his reign). In the end, Weir's interpretation of the historical evidence makes it clear that Richard III is implicated in the deaths of the Princes and that the children died before Henry VII invaded England. Whether Richard III ordered the childen's murder or they died through natural causes or mistreatment is unclear but it was widely believed that the Princes were dead by 1485 because Richard was unable to exhibit the children in public when it would have been politically advantageous to do so. If you are a Richard III revisionist, this book is not for you. If you like Shakespeare's play then you'll like this book because it gives dimension and context to one of Shakespeare's famous villains.
gaelforce More than 1 year ago
I have read many books on the subject & have always believed RichardIII murdered his nephews. Now there are many RichardIII associations who proclaim his innocence. I wanted a book that would give me all the answers like who,where when (I was pretty sure I knew why.) I had read other books by Alison Weir & had great respect for her research methods & balanced portrayals of people. She can also keep you entertained. It's not like reading a text book. You understand these people & care about them. I believe she started with an open mind and went where the evidence took her. You'll have to read it yourself to see where that it. If you are interested in this centuries old mystery,this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Weir writes an extremely interesting account of what happened to the legendary Princes in the the Tower. In forming her conclusions, Weir sets the turbulent stage of the War of the Roses and relies upon the historical records that survive from this period of time. The princes, the boys of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, were last seen alive in 1493, some 500+ years ago. Weir culls through the evidence and applying inferences drawn from that evidence and the social and political climate at the time the evidence was created, she draws the trap tighter around the prime suspect in the boys' deaths. Weir does not force the evidence to fit her conclusion, but lets it flow from logic and admits when her sources are lacking or conflicting. This is an excellent work of English history. Anyone who is interested in the Starz series The White Queen would enjoy this true depiction of some of those characters. I also highly recommend Weir's The Lady in the Tower, a historical account of the last months of Anne Bolyen's life.
Merrydaisy More than 1 year ago
A must read for history lovers. The wars of the roses culminated in King Richard lll taking the rightful heirs, his nephews, the princes of York, under his "protection" and holding them in the Tower of London. What happened to these young innocents of history is a mystery to this day. Author Alison Weir brings this story to life with engrossing detail and excellent research and presentation of facts.
mermaidchick More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book there was alot more information then expected. I felt so bad for there situation, they never got justice...I've ever known much information on these two princes until now and would highly recommend it to anyone else wanting to know more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very detailed and presented very interesting takes on the disappearance of the Princes of the Tower. I really enjoyed Weir's take on the legend and thought she backed it up with legitimate evidence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with the other reviewer here: this book is so full of contradictions it's difficult to keep track. It's obvious that the author set out to discredit Richard, and when an argument seems to go against that she twists it to fit. For example, when Richard's wife (and childhood friend) dies, Richard cries at the funeral. Since Ms. Weir has already decided that Richard poisoned her, she claims he was putting on a show to prove his innocence. Why would that be necessary? At a time when men did not often cry, why would Richard-a man portrayed here as evil as they come, who probably kicked some puppies on his way to the funeral-go to that length? She tells us about numerous mistakes made by Sir Thomas More, but continues to take his word as gospel. For example, we know now that Richard was not 'Crouchbacked'. The author even admits this. More was one of the main purveyors of this myth, as others that Ms. Weir dismisses as fiction. So why, then, would you use the rest of his book as evidence? If I read a book claiming America had become independent in 1903, I wouldn't exactly consider the rest of that book to be factual. She also mixes up some dates and seems to forget what has been written before. She tells us that after Richard's coronation on July 5, 1483, 'the Princes in the Tower were never seen alive again'. Later in the book she mentions that one of her sources 'had cause to know' the Princes were alive in August, for he had seen them. That seems like a contradiction to me. Reporting rumor as fact (and dismissing rumors to the contrary of her opinions) does not a factual book make. It is also inconceivable to me that a girl who know her uncle has murdered her brothers would still want to marry him, no matter how ambitious she may be (and the only proof offered for Richard's plot to marry his cousin was a leter written by her saying that she loved him deeply-there is no evidence at all that Richard returned these feelings.) I read this book without a definite opinion of who killed the Princes. Now I have one-the opposite of what the author wanted. Nobody should be convicted on evidence this flimsy and full of contradiction.
Anonymous 9 months ago
A must read.
Anonymous 10 months ago
ARbookbabe More than 1 year ago
I suggest for another point of view regarding Richard III, readers should read Sharon Kay Penman's book, The Sunne in Splendour, which is about the life of Richard and his brother Edward the father of the two princes in the Tower. She comes to the conclusion that Richard did not order the death of his nephews but, in fact, the Duke of Buckingham had much more to gain from the deaths of the princes and had the opportunity to order their deaths. Richard III had no motive to have them killed. There are some historians who believe Henry Tudor was the culprit, but she deduces that he had no opportunity to do so. I think this is a mystery which will never be solved to the satisfaction of everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Part of the problem with giving your review on a book like this is that depending on where you fall in the Richard III arguement it will influence what you think of the book. I, for one, am inclined to agree with the author in her opinion on this issue. Based on that, I found this book to be interesting and enlightening. In fact, I find the so called 'Pro-Richard' biographies to be full of backward logic and surmises. For someone who falls on the other side, no amount of proof or conjecture will ever convince you otherwise. Ah, the joy of old history!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Weir's Tudor non-fiction is engaging, intelligent, supported, and wholly reliable. This book, however, felt and read more like a Ph.D. thesis, where mentions of the Princes, as sidenotes to the grander scheme, were continually intruding on the story, rather than being the main focus of it. Every fact seemed to be forced to relate to that theme, rather than the murder occurring as an organic result. I would recommend this as a novel to acquaint oneself with Richard III and his tumultuous reign, but if you are searching for true crime or a thoroughly detailed discussion of forensics, then this is not the book to start your research.