Tudor accounts namely that of More. Vergil and the Great Chronicle of London, all condemn Richard III of ordering the murder of Edward V and Richard Duke of York in the Tower, and therefore agree with Shakespeare's portrayal. But these sources do not agree on the manner of death; More asserting they were smothered by Sir James Tyrell, Vergil stating that the "kind of death these innocent children were executed, it is not clearly known”, and the Chronicle of London also attesting that the manner of death was unknown, Markedly, all of the Tudor sources are what pro-ricardian historians term as Tudor propaganda, used to justify Henry kingship and destroy any lingering nostalgia for Richard's good government„.and beneficial legislation "
which Hicks says “persisted well into Henry reign". Henry VII had a weak claim to the English crown -through an illegitimate female line originating from Kathryn Svvynford a mistress of Edward lll, thus he was continually under the threat from pretender kings such as Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. Even in 1502, Henry Vll appeared nervous after his eldest son Arthur died, leaving only one son Henry to continue the fragile dynasty. Consequently perhaps, Tyrell confessed to the murder of the princes in the Tower before his execution, maybe an attempt on Henry’s behalf to remind the English of his "evil" predecessor. What must be noted is that Shakespeare's ultimate patron was Queen Elizabeth II Henry granddaughter, and indeed these were censorious times. as a result anything printed against Elizabeth would be repressed. Shakespeare essentially is the culmination of the Tudor tradition surrounding Richard III, and in Paul Kendall's words "shaped popular imagination".
It is clear that as a usurper Henry position was by no means strong, consequently some historians have suggested that if contemporary sources were incorrect and the princes were alive after Bosworth, Henry would have a strong motive to kill the princes as they would have had a better claim to the crown. If Richard had killed the princes it would seem obvious to accentuate this, instead in an act of attainder Richard was accused of tyranny and cruelty, but no explicit reference was made to the murder of the princes, only an oblique allusion to the "shedding of infants' blood". This argument in defense of Richard was innovatively set out in Josephine Tey’s murder mystery novel in addition to the works of some historians. Significantly, Henry Vll deprived
the princes' mother of her livings and consigned her to a nunnery, in contrast in Richard's reign Eiizabeth Woodville was receiving a pension from Richard and allowed her daughters to attend Richard's court and Palace festivities. The proponents of this argument assert that this evidence combined, allows for a conclusion that the princes were alive at the beginning of Henry's reign and were killed under his command.
Another potential suspect. instead of Shakespeare's Richard III for the murder of the princes is the Duke of Buckingham. He had the same opportunity to kill the boys as Richard. as Constable of the Tower he could also come and go as he pleased. His motive for murder is arguably as strong as Richards with his royal lineage if the princes did die in 1483 only Buckingham and Richard could have murdered them, but if as according to the Great Chronicle of London they died in 1484, he can not be held responsible as he was executed in November 1483. Some historians have suggested that Buckingham had a stronger motive than Richard. as the king had an unassailable right to the crown through Parliament, whilst Buckingham would need to remove the princes from the equation. But, if this had been the case Richard would have presumably used this to his advantage when Buckingham rebelled in 1483 and rumors were circulating concerning the fate of Edward V and his brother.