I´m sure it happens to all reading people on rare occasions (or for the really lucky ones, more often) that we become truly mesmerized by what we´re reading. It has happened to me now, and what has gotten me in this stage is this truly excellent book by historian David Baldwin (yes, the same David Baldwin I hardly mentioned at all in my last book review because I was slightly fed up with Elizabeth Woodville.
This book review is in perfect line with my earlier post ”The Princes in the Tower – how it started”. As the title suggest, it revolves around the possible survival of the youngest of the princes, and I have to be really careful here to make sure I tell you enough to make you want to read it, and not so much you don´t feel there is any reason left for you to read it yourself.
I have to admit that I previously haven´t given much thought to the possibility that one or even both of the boys could have survived, more than a passing notion that maybe for example Perkin Warbeck was who he said he was. In all honesty, I didn´t even know that there existed such a variety of theories of which maybe I just know of a fragment now.
David Baldwin starts off by recounting a number of them, of which I find the one which may be the least credible the most “endearing”, that Richard lived out his life under the nose of the authorities as the son in-law of Thomas More. But for reasons better explained in the book than by me, this is highly improbable, and it isn´t the theory that David Baldwin choses to pursue. Instead it is the well-established rumour that the youngest son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville lived to an old age as a bricklayer.
This I dare say, because this much you will learn just by googling the book.
What is fascinating is how – even though he starts out by stating that he himself is not sure whether it´s a book of fiction or non-fiction he has written – David Baldwin managed to tie together the different clues; “If that happened, then this most have been the case afterwards”
I can only imagine the satisfaction and the butterflies in the stomach he must have felt when he manages to prove his different assumptions and thesis.
Like I said at the beginning, I won´t reveal so much that I ruin anyone’s reading of this book, but I don´t any longer believe that two princes died in the Tower in the late summer of 1483. Edward may have died, young people did in those days when things that are curable or no longer existing harvested lives, but Richard survived to an impressive age. I do believe that.