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In 1933 they were exhumed and, after examination, were declared to be the bones of two children of the right age and thus assumed to be the bones of the princes.
Neither sex nor century of death could be determined, however.
In fact, Cecily seems to be saying that it was actually the journey she made to visit Margaret that was a painful ‘labour’ and had prompted her sickness, aggravated by her anxiety about her husband’s political position.
We cannot discount the possibility that the reason the journey was difficult was that she had not recovered from Richard’s birth, but that is not what the letter says.
The urn containing the 'bones' in Westminster Abbey Another major deficiency in 1933 was the lack of a reliable method for establishing a family relationship between the two bodies.
In the report a relationship was largely assumed, and unreliable techniques then applied to prove it. With such young children this is difficult, but new techniques being developed will soon make it possible.
This story is well known from Shakespeare's play The The Bones from the Tower The Tower of London© Geoffrey Wheeler This story is often said to have been confirmed by the discovery of the bones of two children within the foundations of a staircase in the Tower of London in 1674.
In 1678 some bones, said to be the same ones, were interred in an urn in Westminster Abbey as the bones of the princes by order of Charles II.
The elder of the two succeeded to the throne as Edward V on the death of his father in April 1483.
Nonetheless, Shakespeare of course picked up on the idea that Richard was born feet forward. Nonetheless, a parallel tale that Richard was weak as a child seemed to reinforce the idea. It derives solely from a poem in the Clare Roll listing all of the children in Richard’s family.
The relevant passage runs: John after William next born was, Which both be passed to God’s grace; George was next, and after Thomas Born was, which soon after did pace By the path of death into the heavenly place; Richard liveth yet; but the last of all Was Ursula, to him who God list call.
This also seemed to reinforce the earlier stories of a difficult birth.
However, Cecily mentioned meeting Margaret earlier in 1453. It is unlikely that sickness that developed between the spring and summer of 1453 could be attributed to a birth the previous October.
Some six weeks later, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, uncle of the two boys, proclaimed himself king as Richard III.