Edward V taken to the Tower

Edward V was taken to the Tower of London to prepare for his coronation. This was the suggestion of the Duke of Buckingham. Moving the king to the Tower in advance of the ceremony was not in itself a sinister act. It was traditional for monarchs to reside in the royal chambers within the Tower of London prior to a coronation ceremony. Elizabeth Woodville had stayed in the Tower preceding her coronation as Queen of Edward IV

Theories relating to the motives behind moving the king to the Tower have, therefore, to bear in mind that it was the norm. It is not only a ceremonial tradition but is rooted in simple good sense. Government and kingship are in transition, it is a potentially vulnerable time for the royal family, security concerns alone make transfer to the Tower a sensible option. Of course, it is also an environment that is hidden from public view, which leads to the subsequent disappearance of the king and his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, being viewed with great suspicion.

Edward V taken to the Tower

The Croyland Chronicle

In a few days after this, the before-named dukes escorted the new king to London, there to be received with regal pomp ;
and, having placed him in the bishop’s palace at Saint Paul’s, compelled all the lords spiritual and temporal, and the mayor and aldermen of the city of London to take the oath of fealty to the king. This, as being a most encouraging presage of future prosperity, was done by all with the greatest pleasure and delight. A council being now held for several days, a discussion took place in Parliament about removing the king to some place where fewer restrictions should be imposed upon him. Some mentioned the Hospital of Saint John, and some Westminster, but the duke of Buckingham suggested the Tower of London; which was at last agreed to by all, even those who had been originally opposed thereto. Upon this, the duke of Gloucester received the same high office of Protector of the kingdom, which had been formerly given to Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, during the minority of king Henry. He was accordingly invested with this authority, with the consent and good-will of all the lords, with power to order and forbid in every matter, just like another king, and according as the necessity of the case should demand. The feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist being appointed as the day upon which the coronation of the king would take place without fail, all both hoped for and expected a season of prosperity for the kingdom. Still however, a circumstance which caused the greatest doubts was the detention of the king’s relatives and servants in prison; besides the fact that the Protector did not with a sufficient degree of considerateness, take measures for the preservation of the dignity and safety of the queen.

Image Credit

Featured Image: King Edward IV; King Edward V; King Richard III after Unknown artist. Line engraving, published 1677. National Portrait Gallery NPG D34138. Creative Commons Sharealike License

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