Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

Gossip Girl?


Well, it’s certainly gotten hot around here. There’s been a lot of bickering on history-related Facebook pages as of late regarding the Battle of Bosworth (as the 528th anniversary was last week), Richard III, Henry VII, “My dead king is better than your dead king,” and so on. Now Margaret Beaufort is feeling the wrath, and it’s related to the death of two little princes back around 1483.

The sons of Edward IV, the boys were imprisoned in the Tower of London and were occasionally seen on the grounds. Until they weren’t. Twelve-year-old Edward V and ten-year-old Richard, Duke of York were declared illegitimate, moved to the Tower, and Richard III was declared king. They were never seen again after the fall of 1483, believed to have been murdered in their beds. Bones discovered under stairs in the Tower in 1674 match the ages of the poor boys, and have been interred in Westminster Abbey, in the same room where Elizabeth I and Mary I lie.

This whodunnit has never been solved, but Henry VII and Richard III are the usual suspects. However, a certain fictional book series and its related television series have eerily coincided with a wave of accusations toward Henry VII’s mother, Margaret Beaufort.  When I recently asked on my Facebook page for reasons that fingers might point at Margaret, some of the opinions on that thread (and the few threads just prior to it) were:

  • “I think that crazy woman Margaret Beauford had them murdered”
  • “Margaret was a little off the deep end”
  • “Twisted woman, strong character fully concentrated on her only son becoming a king of England, nothing else to live for just her only son that’s why she seems capable of doing anything to full filing her lifetime dream”
  • “She is the culprit”
  • “I find her extreme piety really annoying.”
  • “She was mad about getting henry to the throne her whole life she planned it”
  • “I think Margaret Beaufort is a likely suspect, but I have not found documents to back that up.”
  • “All I know is Margaret B. was vindictive b**** based on what I have read. …in today’s world when ppl talk about evil vindictive women …she would be #’s 1-100 on the list!”
  • “I’ve read a couple books on Margaret and on line stuff. The woman was consumed with having her son on the throne…There was bitterness in her that ran to the core of her being. ..She became a religious nut case and based the rest of her life on Henry’s kingship. She would have any one killed to make Henry King.”

Whenever I asked about sources for these opinions, I got none. (Other than something along the lines of “I forgot.”)

I run a lighthearted and sometimes-irreverent Facebook page / blog / Twitter account / etc, but I have to be clear about something: My approach is still that of an educator. (The Tudor Tutor. See what I did there?) And most any teacher, I hope, will ask that you base your knowledge, opinions, etc on reliable information.

This may upset some of you, and in that case perhaps you are on the wrong page. Come to learn, come to share good information, come to laugh at the memes (which are created to help us remember the good information!). But please know that gossip is not what we do there.

And the bell doesn’t dismiss you; I dismiss you. =)



  Anonymous wrote @

Well said. Thank you Miss Tudor! I have to go back to my work now.

  Anonymous wrote @

Well said!

  mfantaliswrites wrote @

Well said, Madame Tutor. If only we had anything to go on besides inferences drawn from actions which might indicate that someone had something to do with something that might have happened 500 years ago…. She’s as good a suspect as any, but then, if you go looking for a suspect, you will surely find one.

  Jeanne Evers-Besaw wrote @

This is the #1 reason plus 100 more that I follow you here and on Facebook! We have now been instructed! 😀

  Tish wrote @

Perfectly said! I follow FB pages devoted to both Henry VII and Richard III (I’m a bit of a waffler). Things got quite heated on those pages around the Bosworth anniversary. I appreciate you keeping your FB page fun and light-hearted, while still being informative and thought provoking. Thank you!

  Elizabeth Feola wrote @

Thank you very much for saying this! The danger with someone making an accusation like this and then saying “Well, nothing says she didn’t,” is that while technically that’s true, but nobody said she didn’t fly to the moon either, yet nobody would say she did!

  Anonymous wrote @

I ran a study group for a freshman level psychology class during my senior year in college and all the arguments on Facebook lately reminded me of that group. When the students had to write papers, they would sometimes bring them to me to read over first. I have lost track of the number of times I had to tell a student, ‘You cannot use Wikipedia as an educational research source unless you follow up your information using the citations at the bottom of the page’, You never hate on the author who tends to be the target of these conversations, you simply encourage people to be intelligent consumers of literature. There is nothing wrong with that. People tend to forget that with fiction, like Wikipedia, authors can say whatever they want because that’s the nature of the genre.

  Liz Mims wrote @

In order to give you documentation, I have to go and dig for titles to all the books I read on the War of the Roses which “sort of mentioned Margaret Tudor and the ones that used her as a chracrter and the ones that were specifically about her.” I know one should always give references, but this is a blog not a thesis.

  barb wrote @

“The ones that use her as a character” would be from fiction. Not admissable, I’m afraid.

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