‘The Princes in the Tower’ Review: A Kingly Cold Case on PBS

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1 min read

What is the greatest mystery in British history? Stonehenge? Jack the Ripper? The return of David Cameron? No: According to “The Princes in the Tower,” the great enigma is the fate of the sons of King Edward IV, sent to the Tower of London in 1483 and, as established history tells us, never heard from again. Were they murdered on the order of their uncle, as William Shakespeare alleged in “Richard III”? Were they actually murdered at all?

The “Secrets of the Dead” series can be faulted for a lot of things, including unambitious production values, melodramatic music, cliff-hanging conclusions and a tendency to burden a very lean cast of characters with a lot of baggage, historical and otherwise. But the stories are always good. Irresistible, in this case. Did the two boys—Edward, the heir presumptive, and his younger brother, Richard—survive their confinement in the tower, which was precipitated by Richard III’s usurpation of the throne? That is the thesis. If true, it changes history, never mind literature.

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