There are things which are so deeply buried in history that we can only ever make up stories.
This particular thing was rum, though. No smoke without fire, as they say.
Last Summer Maddie, Felix and I poddled off to the Tower of London. We had long oohed and ahhed from the outside whilst I winced at the entrance fee, but I felt it was time to bite the bullet, to put my head on the block, and enter those ancient walls.
And it was all as lovely and as monumental, standing on that land packed down hard with thousands of years of use, as I thought it would be. Great stone walls, impossibly historic place names, Traitor’s Gate, beefeaters and suchlike. A historical vortex overlooking an old river.
There was one moment though: one epoch-making moment when time concertinaed together in something which felt, at the moment it happened, like time travel might, should it ever be invented.
It happened like this: we trailed round all the walls and saw where Anne Boleyn was executed and then, all at once, we were in the part of the tower where the two Princes, those fated little boys, were last glimpsed through leaded windows, or playing on the green outside the White Tower.
And we found our way up to the dark-wood-clad rooms where the princes might have lodged. I turned around to see my own children at the leaded window. They were just passing the time of day, lounging speculatively around as two princes once did, waiting for who knows what to happen.
And the sight of my children doing precisely what the princes had done, precisely where they would have done it, startled me immeasurably.
They had been declared illegitimate, Edward V and the Duke of York, but they were still in the way. They did not help Richard III’s claim to the throne one jot.
They were seen by the village-like community at the Tower quite a lot when they first arrived, playing and passing the time of day. But as time wore on, they were seen less and less.
And, eventually, they disappeared all together.
Two children’s skeletons were found near the White Tower in 1674, during remodelling. They were aged about 11 and seven respectively.But beyond that we can tell little.
There is no evidence to tie this age-old piece of speculation to a pile of old bones which have just been found hundreds of miles away from the Tower, up north in Leicester.
But by now the story may well have reached you: that the man traditionally charged with murdering the two children of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville may, finally, have been run to ground.
Richard III came to a nasty end. Bosworth Field accorded him a soldier’s death, and once he was dead his body was paraded for all to see , back to the streets of Leicester.
His adversary, Henry VII, was not all bad, though. A clever academic -Dr John Ashdown-Hill – found mention in Henry’s accounts of money set aside for an alabaster tomb or Richard at a local priory.
This extraordinary man had also tracked down a living descendent of Richard III, so that – should the old rogue’s bones ever be discovered – DNA evidence could be used to confirm their identity.
Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have been digging in a Leicester car park for a few weeks now to find an old priory, And, after an extension to the dig, the news came. Bones have been found; bones which betray a violent death, possibly in battle.
For the piles of bones by the White Tower there will be no resolution. Edward V will remain a ghost child for eternity.
But Richard III may yet live to have England at his boney feet just once more.
You can find an excellent article on the path which led to the car park in Leicester at BBC News here