In their first session of the term, the Year 8 Scholars were treated to a fascinating exploration into the mystery of “The Princes in the Tower” – led by School Archivist and author Andrew Beattie. His two books on the subject are a historical work, In the Footsteps of the Princes in the Tower, and a novel for young readers aged 10-12, The Secret in the Tower, which blends historical and fictional characters into a story whose background is the supposed fate of the princes (copies of both can be found in the school library).
In a sweeping narrative, the students heard about the Wars of the Roses, the rival factions within the House of York, and the key geographical locations on the Princes’ route to the Tower – with the main focus centring on the nature of their fate. The students were asked to think about five possible explanations for their disappearance, with evidence offered for and against the likelihood of each. The fascination of this topic lies in a number of ongoing questions – such as, what if the alleged bones of the princes now in Westminster Abbey were permitted to be re-examined in the light of DNA technology? And the story is an endlessly intriguing one: it is poignantly brought to the fore with every new RSC production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, while the fate of the princes has entered popular mythology too, with one recent tourist in the Tower of London insisting that a ghostly apparition that appeared in a photo she took was in fact the older of the two princes!
Oh, I forgot to add – we didn’t omit the compelling account of Richard III’s body being unearthed from a Leicester car park ten years ago, and then being ceremonially laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral. A marvellous start to the programme which the students left with many questions.