Book review – Royal Blood: Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes by Bertram Fields

Caidyn's review (1)

Royal Blood: Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes

4/5

I got this book a very long time ago and it’s been on my shelf, staring at me. I didn’t really read much about it, just found the topic interesting and decided I wanted this book. Turns out, this is very pro-Richard and has been honored by the Richard III Society. (And, yes, there is a society for him that champions him. It’s super interesting).

Most books on this topic are anti-Richard. They say that he was the one who would benefit most from their deaths, which is very true if they were killed while he was ruling, but there are so many other factors.

Fields is a defense lawyer by trade, so he examines it from the perspective of creating reasonable doubt. And, his reasonable doubt was very compelling. I was already on the fence — I agree that Richard III would benefit the most, but I don’t necessarily believe he could have done it or anything else — but this really cemented it in my head. But, don’t get me wrong, Richard III is my favorite play even if it’s mainly propaganda.

So, Fields starts poking holes into things. First, he worked on the sources that were used, showing their biases and marking their credibility down. Second, he started going over Richard’s work for his brother, Edward IV, and how loyal he was. Third, he went through the general timeline. Then, the veracity uprisings of people who claimed to be Edward V or Richard, Duke of York. Then, the other people who might have done it.

The common denominator in this is that Henry VII, the first Tudor king, did benefit from it in the end. There’s no proof when the princes died. The skeletons that were found haven’t had DNA testing done. But, the common denominator is that when Henry VII became king, he didn’t exactly investigate where they were. He never tried to find the culprit unless it was good for the Tudor PR.

It was just interesting to see this new angle. Richard III was on the throne for only two years. Henry VII had to deal with uprisings, had a weak claim to the throne, and was on the throne for far longer. He definitely could have done more and had more time to do it.

Also, he consistently called Weir out as being a horrible researcher and historian. She’s published a book — probably around the same time this book came out — but it was completely different. She upheld the traditional sources and way of thought. And, he really called her out, which I loved reading.

I’d definitely recommend this book. It was probably one of the best books that I’ve read about this and I can’t believe I put it off for so long.


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