New docuseries Lucy Worsley Investigates debuts in the US tomorrow, opening with the episode “Princes in the Tower.” Check out the exclusive clip.
Amongst stateside British TV fans, Lucy Worsley, the Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces in the UK, as well as a popular program host (12 Days of Tudor Christmas) and author (The Art of the English Murder), is likely at or very near the top of the list of our favorite British history documentary presenters.
Starting tomorrow she will be back on US telly with her latest docuseries, Lucy Worsley Investigates. In this four-episode program, she delves into questions that continue to baffle academics and fascinate history buffs — putting on her sleuthing hat to reexamine infamous mysteries, and mounting thorough investigations using historical and contemporary evidence and a range of experts to reframe the past.
The series opens with the hour-long episode “Princes in the Tower.” It’s a story that practically everyone with even a passing interest in British history is aware of, yet here Lucy Worsley provides details related to this centuries-old mystery that many of us might not be aware of.
The princes — Edward, Prince of Wales, and Richard, Duke of York — were the young sons of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. When the monarch died on April 9, 1483, twelve-year-old Edward succeeded him. With the late King’s brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, serving as his Lord Protector, he was to be crowned King Edward V. It didn’t happen. Instead, Richard postponed the coronation and brought Edward, and later his nine-year-old brother, to the royal residence at the Tower of London — from which the boys vanished, supposedly murdered by order of Richard, who acceded to the throne as King Richard III.
Did Richard really have two preteen boys, his nephews by blood, murdered so that he could become king? Lucy Worsley aims to answer this question in “Princes in the Tower.”
“The evidence is ambiguous.” — Lucy Worsley
To do so, she embarks on a fact-finding mission, conferring with historians and a member of the Richard III Society, each of whom is convinced that Richard was, or wasn’t, responsible for the murders of Princes Edward and Richard — if they were indeed victims of political assassination. She also delves into a contemporaneous report written by an Italian visitor to England, and the detailed account of what happened to the princes by Thomas More, Chancellor of England under Henry VIII.
In the clip below, Lucy Worsley shares some of what Thomas More wrote, and more.
If the princes weren’t murdered, then what happened to them? If they were murdered but not at the behest of Richard III, then who ordered the killings? The boys disappeared while the decades-long Wars of the Roses was still raging, so might the culprit have been instead a different Yorkist, or perhaps a Lancastrian, with a claim to the throne?
Owing to the lack of concrete, indisputable historical evidence (that historians know of), speculation has abounded over the past five-plus centuries about what happened to the Princes in the Tower of London and what role Richard played in their disappearance. It’s an intriguing royal mystery, one that might not ever be solved, but still could…
Lucy Worsley Investigates: Princes in the Tower premieres tomorrow, Sunday, May 15, at 8 PM ET, on linear PBS (check your local listings), with simultaneous streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org, via the PBS Video app, and on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel.
The first half of Lucy Worsley Investigates: Princes in the Tower concludes next Sunday, May 22, with “Madness of King George.” The final two episodes of the series, “The Black Death” and “The Witch Hunts,” will air on PBS this fall. Stay tuned for updates.
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