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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 316

and stood married, and troth plight toone Dame Eleanor liutteler, daughter of the old Earl of Shrewsbury, with whom the said King Edward had made a pre-contract of matrimony, long time before he made the said pretenseci marriage with the said Elizabeth Grey, in manner and form aforesaid ; which promises being true, as in very truth they be true, it appeareth and followeth evidently, that the said King Edward, during his life, and the said Elizabeth, lived together sinfully and damnably in adultery, against the law of God and of the church. Also, it appeareth evidently, and followeth, that all the issue and children of the said King Edward be bastards, and unable to inherit or to claim any thing by inheritance, by the law and custom of England." After reciting matter foreign to our purpose, the address proceeds : " We humbly desire, pray, and require your noble grace, that, according to this election of ns, the three estates of your land, as by your true inheritance you will accept, and take upon you the said crown and royal dignity, with all things thereunto annexed and appertaining as to yon of right belongeth, as well by inheritance as by lawful protection." The Protector, with his usual hypocrisy, replied, " that royalty had" no charms for him—that he had resolved to remain loyal to Edward the Fifth, and that he trusted Buckingham and his other auditors were also true lieges of the young King." Buckingham, seemingly displeased with this answer, declared, " My Lord, the nation will not succumb to the rule of a bastard ; and if you, the lawful heir, refuse the proffered crown, we know where to find one of more easy conscience, who will aecept it with cheerfulness." At these words, Kichard affected to pause ; and after muttering some words to himself, replied, with an air of modesty, " I see the kingdom is resolved to load me with preferments unequal to my abilities or my choice; yet, since it is my duty to obey the dictates of a free people, I will graciously accept their petition ; I, therefore, from this moment, enter upon the government of England and France, with a resolution to defend the one and subdue the other." This hypocritical farce ended. Richard on the following day, June the twentysixth, proceeded to Westminster, took his seat as King, in the great hall, and from that day dated the commencement of his reign. His coronation was solemnized a fortnight afterwards, with great pomp, at Westminster. As usurpation naturally requires security, the hunchback King was no sooner fixed upon the throne, than he sent Brackenbury, Governor of the Tower, orders to put the two young Princes to death. Brackenbury had the courage to refuse ; but Richard's Master of the Horse, Sir James Tyrell, received the command of the fortress for twenty-four hours, and, accompanied by two assassins, Forest and Dighton, enter the chamber where the two innocent Princes slept, and in the dead of the night smothered them with the bed-clothes, and buried their bodies at the foot of the chamber staircase. By Richard's orders the bodies were afterwards exhumed, and interred at the entrance to the chapel in the White Tower. This account of the murder of Edward the Fifth and his brother, the Duke of York, has been doubted, but not disproved. Tyrell himself, who was executed in the reign of Π enry the Seventh, confessed it in his last moments ; the Princes' servants were dismissed on the day that Tyrell held possession of the Tower, and the Princes themselves were never seen nor heard of afterwards. To disconcert the plans and awaken the fears of his enemies, Richard caused their death to be made public, but abstained from exhibiting their bodies. It was generally believed, at the time, that they hadbeen sacrificed to their uncle's safety ; and in 1674, whilst some alterations were being made in the White Tower, the labourers, in digging at the foot of the old stairs, near to the chapel, found a chest containing the supposed remains of Edward the Fifth and the Duke of York ; and their remains, Charles the Second, who then reigned, caused to be interred in Henry the Seventh's Chapel, where their tomb may still be seen.

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