The second-born child of Edward IV of Elizabeth Woodville, Edward V was a King of England, briefly succeeding their father following his death in 1483. However, before the coronation could occur, Edward's uncle Richard of Gloucester declared Edward and their brother Richard, Duke of York to be bastards by voiding the marriage of their parents, thus becoming Richard III in their places. Edward and Richard came to be known during their uncle's reign as the Princes in the Tower and the circumstances of their disappearance was a historical mystery for many centuries.
Accounts differed as to Princes' true identities, Richard's reasons for delegitimising them, as well as their eventual fates.
A grand lie
According to one account, the second-born child of King Edward IV and his consort was a daughter named Susan. This panicked Edward, who knew how vital it was to keep his line going for the stability of crown and country and to prevent a resumption of the Wars of the Roses. Additionally, the ascenion of a queen to the throne was not feasible as England of the time was a "country stuffed with power-hungry knobs with their own private armies just waiting for their chance to make it their own do-it-yourself monarchy". Considering this, Edward lied and announced to the world that his second-born daughter was a son in order to "stop the jitters going through the kingdom". He also carried on the pretense for his third-born daughter named Judith to have two, "one for the succession and one for a spare". He also had birth certificates for his two "sons" forged.
Edward IV died suddenly on 9 April 1483 and so the "Princes" were recalled back to London for the scheduled coronation of "Edward" on 24 June that year. During the journey, however, their uncle Richard of Gloucester discovered his nephews were actually neices and immediately took measures to protect the succession. When the escort reached London, Richard rounded up and executed everyone who knew the truth, including Hastings. He then bribed Elizabeth Woodville, Edward's widow, to keep quiet about the whole affair, who was as petrified about the truth coming out as Richard himself. After that, Richard declared the "boys" bastards by voiding the marriage of their parents, allowing him to legally crown himself king. Richard later said that exposing the lies of the "beloved and dearly departed king [...] would have torn the whole kingdom apart".
For the first six months of Richard's reign, Susan and Judith lived in Tower of London. However, when "all the murder and kidnap plots started buzzing", he sent them to live with their Uncle Clarrie, who was already lying low, at the Kingmaker tavern, where they also worked as serving wenches. Richard forced Peri Brown and Erimem, who had been stranded in 1483 thanks to a malfunctioning TARDIS, to regularly pretend to be the Princes in their stead, with Peri in the role of Prince Edward. They were freed towards the end of Richard's reign in 1485 when they reunited with the Fifth Doctor, who was waiting for them. (AUDIO: The Kingmaker)
A happy life
According to another account, Edward IV's second and third children had been boys named Edward and Richard, though the Duke of Gloucester did not kill them to seize the throne. They "lack[ed] for nothing", with Edward the Prince of Wales and Richard the Duke of York, and their uncle saw to everything they needed.
On the eve of the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, King Richard had said his goodbyes to the Princes before a large feast, although Edward was adamant they would see him again once he returned after the battle. During the night, Trix MacMillan intruded into the Princes' room and told them a version of Cinderella, featuring two princes and two Cinderellas with the invention of a twin sister named Ashlina for the title character. They were later kidnapped by an agent of the Council of Eight to prevent them from having an impact on history but were eventually rescued by Trix and the Eighth Doctor. The Doctor was unable to return them to their home time as Henry Tudor was certain to kill them so they were instead taken to the 21st century, where they were adopted by Ernest Fleetward. (PROSE: Sometime Never...)
William Shakespeare's play Richard III showed the eponymous monarch to be responsible for the murder of the Princes, despite people already questioning his motives by Shakespeare's time. This was because, as the Doctor put it, Shakespeare was a "fiction-peddling puppet to the House of Tudor and a lapdog to the court of Queen Elizabeth". Elizabeth was the granddaughter of Henry Tudor, whose position derived from the defeat and deligitimisation of Richard III.
By the 20th century, the Fifth Doctor claimed Richard III was seen as "nothing but tawdry propaganda" and that suspicion for the murder of the Princes in the Tower had indeed fallen on Henry Tudor. The planned sixth book in the Doctor Who Discovers series, Doctor Who Discovers Historical Mysteries, was originally meant to focus on the disappearance of the Princes. (AUDIO: The Kingmaker) The mysterious fate of the twelve- and nine-year-old siblings led many to believe that they had been murdered. Consequently, the place of their imprisonment became known as the Bloody Tower. (AUDIO: The Battle of the Tower)
According to the Eighth Doctor, in one universe "somewhere close by" to N-Space, Henry VII murdered the Princes near the beginning of his reign. He also knew of their fates in another but did not elaborate, stating "Well, that's a different story altogether". (PROSE: Sometime Never...) The Tenth Doctor later told Martha Jones that he'd solved the mystery of what happened to the Princes twice, in two different versions of history. (PROSE: The Secret of the Stones)