Pretenders

Decrative "L" image not availableLambert Simnel: First claimed to be Richard, Edward IV’s younger son and then Edward, Earl of Warwick, son of George, Duke of Clarence
Lambert Simnel was the first of two pretenders who appeared in 1487 to challenge Henry Tudor’s right to the crown. As a ten-year-old boy, Simnel was proclaimed the earl of Warwick, son of George, duke of Clarence, by the English and Irish lords in Dublin. He was even crowned there on May 24th. Those exiled Yorkists and loyal Irishmen rallied to his banner and threatened Henry’s throne. The army was defeated at the Battle of Stoke—called the final battle of the Wars of the Roses—on June 16, 1487. Henry captured Lambert, and to humiliate the boy, displayed the real earl of Warwick who had been in his custody at the Tower all the time, in a procession through the streets of London. Henry finally sent the boy to work in his kitchens.

Perkin Warbeck

Perkin Warbeck

Perkin Warbeck: Claimed to be Richard, Edward IV’s younger son
Perkin Warbeck was a greater threat to Henry. He was recognized by many kings and princes in Europe as Richard of York, King Edward’s second son who disappeared with his older brother from the Tower in the first year of Richard III’s reign. Henry did not have the prince to show the people this time, and thus Perkin was far more dangerous. He was 21 when he, too, arrived in Ireland in 1493 looking and behaving every inch a prince of the royal blood. His resemblance to Edward was striking. However, Henry moved quickly against him, and despite the support of his aunt, Margaret of Burgundy, the Irish lords and the young Scottish king James, who gave his royal cousin Katherine Gordon in marriage to Prince Richard, Perkin was captured in Devonshire, and eventually imprisoned next to the earl of Warwick in the Tower. After trying to escape, he was tortured and forced to admit he was the son of a boatman of Tournai and executed 23 November 1499.