University of Pittsburgh Bradford
Thomas lecture to discuss 'The Murder of Fledglings'
Richard III
Richard III

The popular annual lecture by Dr. Marvin Thomas, professor of history, will this year offer his perspective on the events surrounding the sudden death of Edward IV and the disappearance of his two sons, one of which was to be crowned king. 

Thomas’s research on “The Murder of Fledglings” will be presented at 8 p.m. April 9 in Rice Auditorium in Fisher Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

During the time of the medieval era in England, civil wars broke out between two royal braches of the Plantagenet house: the House of Lancaster and the House of York. The battles were deemed the Wars of Roses, and lasted from 1455 to 1485.

Many Kings rose to power throughout the duration of the wars, and the story surrounding King Edward the IV and his children has a mysterious quality.

King Edward IV came to power on March 4, 1461. He was the first Yorkist King of England.

Thomas said, “As the Wars of Rose were drawing to a close, the sudden and unexpected death of Edward IV left a dangerous political vacuum because his sons, Edward and Richard were too young to assume power.”

The late king wrote in his will that his brother, Richard III, was to be in charge of the safety of his children upon his death. Richard seemed to do as he was asked of by his brother.

“Richard rushed to escort Prince Edward to Westminster Abbey to be crowned,” Thomas explained. The uncle placed the two boys in the Tower of London to ensure their safety. When Richard III emerged from the Tower alone and had himself crowned king, suspicions began to form.

Thomas said the question remains, “what happened to the royal children?”

Modern scholarship contests the widely recognized theory that the two children had been killed by the “wicked uncle,” Thomas said.

Additionally, Thomas has confirmed that information on the newly discovered body of Richard III will be presented at the lecture.

For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at (814)362-7609 or clh71@pitt.edu.

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