John lectures at the Society of Antiquaries

On 22nd September, John Ashdown-Hill delivered the Society of Antiquaries lecture on "The Dublin King: What Really Happened to the 'Princes in the Tower'?" You can hear the lecture via this link:

For more information about the Society of Antiquaries lecture series, visit here:

Review of "The Dublin King" by the Society of Antiquaries, London

From THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF LONDON, Salon online newsletter: Issue 334 ‏

Fellow John Ashdown-Hill, whose genealogical research played such an important role in the identification of Richard III’s remains by matching the king’s mitochondrial DNA to that of direct descendants down the female line, has written another book in which genetics could be used to solve a long-standing mystery. In this case, it concerns the boy who, in 1486, a year after Richard III’s death, claimed to be Edward, Earl of Warwick, son and heir of George, Duke of Clarence, the last surviving male of the house of York. This claimant to the throne was championed by Yorkists in the first serious challenge to the authority of Henry VII, the mystery concerning the fate of the ‘Princes in the Tower’, the sons of Edward IV, simply adding fuel to the fire.

Henry VII’s supporters declared the boy to be an imposter by the name of Lambert Simnel, and most historians (and the author of the ODNB entry for Simnel) have tended to follow the official Tudor line. Even so, as John Ashdown-Hill demonstrates, the evidence is not quite so conclusive. As he unravels the story of the boy’s coronation in Dublin on 24 May 1487 and his attempt to invade England eleven days later, on 4 June, with an army of German mercenaries and Irish infantry, doubts begin to emerge. The story is made more complex by the mixed motives of many of the aristocrats involved, all anxious to scramble to power. What is clear is just how many challenges Henry VII faced to his legitimacy as monarch and with what skill he and his supporters met these potentially serious rebellions.

The author concludes that there are two versions of Simnel’s story: the authorised one, publicised by successive English governments, and the unofficial one, which can be reconstructed from various sources, and that cannot easily be dismissed as fraudulent. As none of the evidence is cut and dried, John suggests that the best way to make the picture clearer is to seek the remains of some of the key protagonists and use DNA analysis to try to work out who they really were.

The Dublin King: the true story of Edward, Earl of Warwick, Lambert Simnel and the ‘Princes in the Tower', by John Ashdown-Hill; ISBN 9780750960342; The History Press, 2015


John Ashdown-Hill at the Society of Antiquaries

Portraits of Richard III

Last month, John Ashdown-Hill gave a talk about the portraits of Richard III at the Society of Antiquaries. A video of the talk is available below.

Reviewing Finding Richard III

The Society of Antiquaries has published a review of "Finding Richard III: The Official Account"

Also from SALON issue no. 324 (the online journal of the Society of Antiquaries), notice of John's honorary degree and a note on the burial of Richard III's daughter, Catherine. Click to enlarge:

King Richard III: the origins of the "Paston" oil painting

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Did you know?

In 2009, the Society of Antiquaries Paston portrait of Richard III was cleaned and restored. The same year, John Ashdown-Hill commissioned an oil-on-canvas copy.

In 2011, John met the then Dean of Leicester Cathedral - Viv Faull - and presented his copy of the portrait to Leicester Cathedral.

In the course of all the Richard III publicity, following the 2012 dig and the recovery of Richard's remains, images of the portrait John commissioned and presented have been extensively used, in Leicester and in the media. But in spite of this, most people seem to be completely  ignorant regarding the origin of the painting - and of how it arrived at Leicester Cathedral!