Gateway to the Classics: The World's Story: England by Eva March Tappan
The World's Story: England by  Eva March Tappan

The Children of Edward IV

by Paul Delaroche

(French painter,  1797-1856)

EDWARD IV died in 1483, leaving a son as rightful heir to the throne. However, Richard, brother of Edward IV, who had been made Protector, contrived to get possession of the child and also of his younger brother, and to make himself king. In order to make his crown more secure, he determined to murder the two boys; and the business was put into the hands of Sir James Tyrrel. The governor of the Tower, where the princes were confined, was ordered by letter of the king to give the keys to Sir James. The unscrupulous man chose his agents, and at midnight, when the boys were asleep, the murderers stole into their room and smothered them with the bedclothes. Sir James came to make sure that they were dead, and ordered that their bodies should be buried at once in the courtyard. He is said to have received from the king a most extravagant reward for his villainy.

The boys are here represented in their gloomy apartment in the Tower. They are trying to read, but their faces show plainly the fear that is upon them. The face of the younger manifests merely dread of something, he knows not what; but on that of the older is reflected a knowledge of the fate that must be expected. The dusk of evening is already closing about them; a few hours and they will be no more.

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