Not a shred of proof that Margaret Beaufort killed them, and I don't know of one serius Medieval historian who believes she did. Most people who think so only do because of a certiain Philippa Gregory novel.
Not only would she have to have been a criminal mastermind of the highest order to aviod being caught, she'd also have to have been psychic and know Richard was going to die as Bosworth, and his son before him.
C'mon, yes Stanley was Constable of the Tower, but that also meant he was the first person people would suspect if anything happened on his watch. Margaret was under House Arrest in Wales, her correspondance was probably being read- and after hubby, suspicion would have fallen on her. No way would she have been able to get away with it.
Besides , if she or Stanley did- why didn't Richard denounce them? Would have made sense, and saved his reputation. Makes on sense at all. Wishful thinking of a romantic novelist who presents Margaret as the Devil Incarnate because she was born a Beaufort.
I'm with Carol on the "lived happily ever after", but I do believe that they survived. I cannot believe that following Bosworth, when Henry had access to the Tower, there was no-one & no concrete evidence of the deaths of the princes if they had been murdered there. I'm amazed that, with all the people working there, that there was no-one even prepared to swear black was white & spill the beans in order to ingratiate themselves with the new king. If Henry had anything to tie Richard to their murder, he would have shouted it from the rooftops. But if he knew that they still lived, if they had visited their mother at Gipping, Elizabeth knew. She was, after all, Elizabeth Woodville's daughter, the chances of her allowing Henry falsely to accuse Richard and keep her silence strikes me as unlikely.
If, as Jack Leslau suggests, they lived incognito, known to Thomas More & the king, even this is not completely implausible. Yes, Henry systematically wiped the surviving Plantagenets from the face of the earth, with the exception of his wife's sisters. But there is evidence that he loved Elizabeth, and possibly could have been persuaded by her to allow her brothers to live as long as no-one knew of their true identities.
I agree wholeheartedly with Matt that Richard's biggest mistake was to show clemency to Margaret Beaufort & John Morton, the vipers in his bosom. Without them, Henry would have had no-one in England to garner support. He was 37th in line to the throne, on a debarred line. Even without Edward's children, there were 36 people with a better claim to the throne than he had. Even his title of Earl of Richmond was false, as his father had lost the title due to his treason. Were it not for France's Salic Law, he would have had a far far stronger claim to the French throne, through his paternal grandmother, Katherine de Valois.
I voted that Richard acted as protector and had the Princes taken away to safety, highly likely to have taken them North initially. He could be quite a shrewd man and obviously realised they were in danger. Edward I feel died of natural causes. Richard protected the Princes sisters, and Elizabeth Woodville did a complete about face in her attitude towards him and as a mother I would have only done that if I was shown my sons alive and I believe that is exactly what happened. He had to take that secret to his grave for their safety. I saw online that someone suggested that if Perkin Warbeck's bones could be found and DNA'd and found to match Richards DNA then it is quite possible Warbecks claim was true and proof that the Princes were not murdered in the Tower!
I've voted for Buckingham though i couldn't decide between him and Margaret Beaufort, i believe that if the boys were killed those are the only ones , other than Richard himself, with both motive and opportunity to arrange the deaths.. However i am not sure they were killed since Henry never accused Richard of the murders , and if he knew they were dead and Buckingham or Margaret had arranged it, surely he would have yelled it to the rooftops, using Richard as scapegoat? and not for one moment been worried by either Lambert Simnel or Perkin Warbeck ? I think the most likely explanation is that Richard had sent the boys away to the North, and then they just disappeared into obscurity after his death. hidden by his supporters, waiting for a safe time to emerge, that never came.Maybe because childhood disease claimed both ?Not unheard of in those times.
Would have liked to strike the 'lived happily ever after' bit! But I'm definitely in the 'what murder?' camp nowadays - I do believe the 'survived Bosworth' evidence outweighs the 'murdered' rumours. Maybe I'm just an old romantic though...
I voted Henry VII. I don't believe Richard would kill his own nephews after showing such loyalty to his brother all his life. Yes these were different times - but these were still his brothers sons. I think as they were no threat to his rule, the pre-contract being valid - they were kept safe - away from the Tower until Richards death. He had many men who were unflinchingly loyal and so this would have been possible I feel. However, with Tudors victory, and the complete extermination of all remaining Plantagenet heirs, the boys when discovered, would have gone the same way. I wonder about Barnard Castle. A it had a Brackenbury Tower. I don't know why and there may be an explanation for this - but if not - is there a connection there somehow with Sir Robert Brackenbury and the boys? But still convinced Richard was not and remains not guilty.
I voted Margaret Beaufort but I couldn’t decide between her and Buckingham IF the boys were killed at all. I couldn’t vote ‘no-one they lived happily ever after’ because they didn’t... certainly Perkin Warbeck did not and I am more than half way to believing he WAS Richard of Shrewsbury. I have no idea what happened to Edward V. PW was supposedly living in Portugal with Brampton until he came to England. Tyrell WAS entrusted with a secret mission at about the time of the boy’s disappearance. Now there is some thought that Richard of Eastwell, the bricklayer might have been one of the boys.
Perhaps I should have voted ‘no-one.....’ because I don’t think they WERE killed ...... but then again........ Margaret would stop at nothing I don’t think?