Year of the Four Kings: WI Buckingham's Rebellion was Successful?

Although Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, eventually won the throne of England by right of conquest in the Battle of Bosworth Field in August of 1485, the seeds for the overthrow of Richard III had been sown much earlier. In October of 1483, a series of uprisings took place against Richard throughout England and Wales, of which Tudor was nominal figurehead. The primary muscle behind them was Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, formerly the trusted lieutenant of the King. His reasons for defecting remain obscure and there is some speculation that one of the eminence grises behind the rebellion, Lady Margaret Beaufort (Tudor's mother), might have somehow conned Buckingham into believing that he would be placed upon the throne should the rebellions succeed. Buckingham, after all, arguably had a better claim to the English throne than Henry Tudor. He was descended two different ways from John of Gaunt (through the Beaufort line) and was also descended through an unquestionably legitimate line from Edward III's youngest son Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester.

Nevertheless, through a combination of bad timing and uncooperative weather the rebellions were unsuccessful. Many of the ringleaders (including Buckingham) were imprisoned or executed; those who escaped fled to Brittany and Henry Tudor's "court-in-exile". These included the Earl of Oxford, whose martial prowess would prove critical to Tudor's victory in battle against the warrior King Richard. But what if the rebellions were successful, and after a decisive and climactic battle somewhere in the English countryside, Richard III was slain and Henry Tudor was acknowledged as the King of England, all in November of 1483?

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Before we begin, I propose we should take as a given that the Princes in the Tower are dead by October of 1483. Whether or not you think Richard III was responsible, Buckingham (as Constable of England) certainly knew of their fate (if he did not have some direct hand in it himself) and the fact that he did not rebel in their name would seem to indicate that he knew they were dead by then.

A few points worth discussing:

The Yorkists

If Richard III dies in November of 1483 he leaves his widow, Anne Neville, and his son, Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales, both of whom died shortly thereafter IOTL. Yorkists will of course rally round Edward (proclaiming him either Edward V or Edward VI, depending on how their views of the OTL Edward V will emerge). The problem is that Edward is sickly and likely will not reach adulthood, assuming he is not captured by Lancastrian forces. If he is, of course, he dies in the Tower like his cousin, with Henry Tudor (or Buckingham) probably accused of murdering him - and possibly believed to have done so even by historians centuries after the fact. If he isn't, he is spirited away by Yorkists and taken to exile - possibly to the protection of his Aunt Margaret, the Dowager Duchess of Burgundy. Given his fragile state, he may well die on the voyage there.

Anne Neville, on the other hand, becomes a widow. Her OTL death in March of 1485 from tuberculosis might be butterflied. She seems a prime candidate to be married off to Henry's uncle Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke (who IOTL married another high-placed widow, Catherine Woodville, Dowager Duchess of Buckingham, who is unavailable ITTL). She's still of childbearing age (37 in 1483), although I doubt any children would be born of their union.

Who will inherit the Yorkist mantle ITTL once Edward of Middleham dies is another question. IOTL the Yorkists were initially united behind John de la Pole, the Earl of Lincoln and nephew to Richard III (by his sister Elizabeth). This might not happen without the implicit acknowledgement of such by Richard himself in the final year of his reign. Edward, Earl of Warwick (eight years old in 1483) is the agnatic heir (and, with the death of Richard III, the last remaining legitimate male-line Plantagenet).

Fickle Buckingham

Assuming Buckingham is present at Henry Tudor's ultimate victory of Richard III at *Bosworth, he is naturally going to want to resume his position as the King's foremost lieutenant, and he won't be as easy to brush aside as Henry Tudor's OTL Bosworth allies ultimately were. He is the only Duke in England outside of the Royal Family (assuming that Norfolk is killed and/or attainted) and has a substantial power base of his own. So Henry VII is going to face the challenge of keeping him onside. One wonders what this would take. Being named the Heir Presumptive after his descendants? Marriage links between their children? What positions would Henry give him? What role would he play on the Council? Does he have any particular interests, foreign or domestic? Buckingham was a youthful 29 when he died - just three years older than Henry VII himself. He'll likely be a dominant force throughout the King's reign. Given his own treachery and that of his son against Tudor's son Henry VIII IOTL (it's telling that even Henry VIII's staunchest critics have conceded that he was onto something when he executed the 3rd Duke of Buckingham), it's not hard to imagine him defecting fairly early on, although one suspects he'd cut out the middleman of a figurehead and just promote himself as a claimant to the throne, butterflying "lost Princes" such as Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. Buckingham could very well change the entire character of Henry's reign.

Brittany Fidelis

IOTL, 1484 saw Brittany betraying Henry Tudor to Richard III on the order of Pierre Landais, chief minister to Duke Francis II. Landais was deposed in 1485 in part due to this betrayal, which indebted Henry not to his longtime Breton custodians but to his newfound French sponsors in helping him to win the throne of England. As a result (along with, to be fair, his continued domestic struggles to hold onto his newly-won throne) England was far less willing to help defend Brittany from French aggression in the later 1480s than it might have been otherwise. Yes, Henry Tudor was a famously mercenary man whose only loyalty (if he had any at all) was to his family. Still, Francis II had been his guarantor for half his life. If Henry VII wins the throne of England in 1483 and is able to consolidate his hold on the throne by the time the Mad War begins in earnest, Brittany's continued independence could be in the cards. Anne of Brittany is at an awkward age to marry any sons of Henry (she'd have close to eight years on the eldest) and is too young to marry Jasper (only six in 1483). Amusingly, Buckingham's son is just the right age. Francis II himself died a classically preventable accidental death (a fall from his horse) in 1488 IOTL, and so may live longer ITTL - although probably not much longer, as he was 55 when he died.

The Marriage Sweepstakes

Henry Tudor hadn't pledged to marry Elizabeth of York yet at the time of the rebellion (this came afterwards, in December of 1483) but she is a very logical strategic choice for his bride. Dowager Queen Elizabeth and Lady Margaret Beaufort were already in communication by this time and having the Woodvilles onside couldn't hurt any. As we all know, the marriage (improbably enough) turned out to be a love match. Elizabeth was 17 years old in late 1483, turning 18 in February of 1484. She's old enough to be child-bearing and they might produce their first child before the year is out. IOTL, their first child was a son named Arthur. I see no reason why that shouldn't be the case ITTL. But one difference is that this Arthur could very well be spared the Tudor "curse" of dying mysteriously in his mid-teens, as many male Tudors did (the OTL Arthur, Edward VI, and even Henry FitzRoy). And of course Henry and Elizabeth marrying two years earlier means we have time for one or even two more full pregnancies, one (or both!) of which may produce a living child, even a son.

This Arthur Tudor is two years the senior of his OTL brother of the same name. Obviously a match to one of the daughters of the Catholic monarchs would provide a valuable boost to the prestige of the new dynasty. Of course, Arthur's OTL bride Catherine, the youngest of Ferdinand and Isabella's children, had not yet been born in 1484. The next-youngest was Maria, born in June of 1482. Unlike her two elder sisters, she was not betrothed to anyone during her youth - there was some talk of her marrying James IV of Scotland (especially once the betrothal between Catherine and Arthur went ahead - there was some hope of them keeping the peace between their husbands), but these went nowhere. But if we betrothe her to Arthur instead - and make sure to send her over to England before her eldest sister Isabella dies (if indeed she does) - then she becomes Princess of Wales. Worth noting: she gave birth to ten live children IOTL, eight of whom survived, in the span of fifteen years. Six of those eight were male. Even if we hit half of them with the Tudor curse, that's still three sons who reach adulthood. Even if we hit two-thirds, that's still two sons who escape unscathed!

Historiography

Although 1483 will be remembered as the "Year of Four Kings", the question is whether the Lancastrians - or the Yorkists - will acknowledge all four of the Kings to have actually reigned:
  1. Edward IV will be accepted as King by everyone, even Lancastrians, after Henry VII promotes his narrative of unifying the two sides into his own dynasty.
  2. Edward V might be dismissed by Yorkists (or at least Ricardian Yorkists) as never truly having been King. Which creates an interesting situation since the Pretender Yorkist King after Richard's death is also named Edward - so we'll have two boys known as "Edward V", neither of whom ever effectively reigned.
  3. Richard III didn't reign for two years ITTL - he barely lasted for four months. And who knows how long Edward was alive during his reign? So Edward, in the Tower, was the true and rightful King all along - Henry will make sure Parliament whips up a piece of legislation saying so - but Richard killed him right before he lost his battle with Henry VII. And of course Henry VII was retroactively King the day before the battle. So that creates a legal fiction that Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was never King at all. I like something like this emerging because it's a very English solution to the problem of not wanting to acknowledge Richard as King. Which means there have only been two Kings named Richard. I suspect that, as IOTL, the Tudors will avoid the use of the name Richard and the creation of the title "Duke of Gloucester" so as to avoid evoking his memory.
  4. Henry VII Tudor will reign from probably November of 1483. Assuming he lives until 1509 as he did IOTL, and is never deposed, that is a 26-year reign. Of course marking milestone anniversaries wasn't a thing monarchs did back then, and even if it was, there's no way Henry VII is going to empty his coffers for anything like that!
Summary

So my thought is Henry VII, assuming he wins the throne in 1483, will probably have a much more fraught early reign - with Buckingham a constant thorn in his side and the House of York remaining a more potent threat with an obvious and immediate heir to Richard - albeit one who probably does not live very long. On the other hand, in the longer term, the House of Tudor might find its prospects much more promising - Henry VII might produce more living sons as might his own sons, particularly the eldest. Brittany stands a much better chance of remaining outside the French orbit, at least for the medium-term, with England potentially a more steadfast ally. In other words, the House of Tudor might be facing short-term loss for longer-term gain. At least that's my analysis.

Does anyone else have any thoughts? Did I miss out on any important considerations? Am I barking up one too many wrong trees? Please let me know what you all think! And thanks for reading.
 
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Few thoughts - the 1483 revolt is more likely a collection of uprisings by men who had been loyal to Edward IV - largely they were offering their support to the deposed Edward V - Buckingham's was certainly blamed for it - it looked better for Richard III to blame one aristo rather than a lot of men who were known to have served his brother loyally. It was during this period that the first rumours of Edward V's murder appear and Henry of Richmond becomes a key candidate gaining the support of most loyalists in return for his later promise to marry E of York.
 
Few thoughts - the 1483 revolt is more likely a collection of uprisings by men who had been loyal to Edward IV - largely they were offering their support to the deposed Edward V - Buckingham's was certainly blamed for it - it looked better for Richard III to blame one aristo rather than a lot of men who were known to have served his brother loyally. It was during this period that the first rumours of Edward V's murder appear and Henry of Richmond becomes a key candidate gaining the support of most loyalists in return for his later promise to marry E of York.
Thanks for replying, mcdnab, you're a great authority on this period and it's always good to have your insight.

Do you think maybe there might be a power struggle amongst the ringleaders if the rebellions are successful and Richard is slain, then? We know Henry Tudor was headed for Wales in 1483 IOTL. If he lands he'll probably rally support there. He has a few natural allies. His uncle Jasper is a pretty good commander. The Woodvilles (including Dorset) will probably be brought onside with the negotiations between Dowager Queen Elizabeth and Lady Margaret Beaufort ongoing. Lady Margaret can probably also bring her husband Lord Stanley and his family onside as well (especially when Richard is dead). And of course all the remaining dyed-in-the-wool Lancastrians will back him. The wildcard is Oxford; he's still imprisoned at this point but he might be able to take this opportunity to escape.

Buckingham has a couple of knocks against him. If most of the rebels assume the Princes are still alive they'll want to restore them, which will entail what I like to call "the Storming of the Tower" (even if said "storming" is just a peaceful surrender by its custodians). In all likelihood they'll find a pair of corpses, and not-too-recently deceased at that. Again, Buckingham had to know they were dead, and surely a lot of the other aristocrats would figure that out too. Henry Tudor is innocent of that crime, and also has the advantage of being unmarried - the union of the two sides by marrying Elizabeth of York can be suggested at around this time (their mothers being in constant communication and all that). Maybe Buckingham, aware he can never become King himself with the blood of the Princes on his hands, will throw his lot in with Henry Tudor content with being the Kingmaker? And for good measure insist on being recognized as Henry's Heir Presumptive pending the birth of his own children? I'm not sure if that will require an Act of Parliament (which would bump up the precedent that Parliament sets the succession a half-century early). So Buckingham is very much Henry's Number Two during his early reign.

Meanwhile, in all the chaos, both Edward of Middleham and Edward, Earl of Warwick, are able to evade capture and are spirited across the Channel to Burgundy and the protection of their aunt, the Dowager Duchess Margaret. "Edward V" (given the whole "we want to restore the Princes" tenor of the rebellion I think it's safe to say the Ricardians go with a different numbering system than the mainline Yorkists) presides over his court-in-exile for less than a year before he dies tragically, and then his cousin "Edward VI" becomes the new "Yorkist" claimant. We know he lived to be an adult IOTL. I know it would never happen but it's fun to imagine Margaret of Austria (Philip the Handsome's younger sister) marrying him. On the one hand, as her betrothed was the Dauphin followed by the Prince of the Asturias IOTL, a Pretender with a dubious claim to the throne even among his supporters seems far beneath her. On the other hand, ITTL the throne of England has been successfully usurped four times in the space of less than a quarter-century. Those are some promising odds. "Edward VI" probably takes Perkin Warbeck's place ITTL. He's the right age to head a late-1490s invasion attempt, should it come to that.
 
If Buckingham was successful,wouldn't he have made himself king rather than Henry Tudor? His own claim to the throne was equal if not superior to Henry Tudor's.
 
Few thoughts on your comments
1) Rumours of the Prince's deaths were around by the mid-summer - though nothing was confirmed - we know most of the minor rebellions through the late summer were in the name of Edward V - it is still debated whether Buckingham's actions in joining the rebellion was due to a) personal ambition b) because he fell out with Richard aftter learning the deposed King had been murdered on Richard's orders or c) He did the boys in himself in the hope of blaming Richard and gaining the throne for himself
2) Assuming the Welsh landing is succesfull and assuming Buckingham, Tudor and Dorset destroy Richard - then as in otl - first the public will be told the lawful King (Edward V) is dead - and that the legal heir of the late King Edward IV is his eldest daughter the Lady Elizabeth - who it is decided will marry Henry - in this scenario Henry is politically weaker and might have to settle with marriage before becoming King and will more obviously be King by marriage rather than conquest - by enlarge due to his dependance on the Edwardian supporters and Buckingham and Dorset. Buckingham and Dorset exert more influence and perhaps like his son in OTL Buckingham eventually overreaches and comes a cropper.
3) Anne Neville is still living - no doubt she will be treated with respect - she will have had custody of both her son and her nephew the Earl of Warwick (who previously had been in the custody of Dorset) - and that i think makes the chance of the boys being spirited abroad unlikely... Richard's support at this point was very narrow - his supporters might regard his son as the lawful heir - but the claim is very very weak - Warwick's claim is actually stronger (he is the senior male heir of Edward III at this point) - his custody will be actively fought over by the King's supporters.
4) If they do flee then yes like the later de la Pole's they are a stick to beat the English King with - however - pretenders were usually just as much at risk from their hosts if a better deal with the English court was struck - in this case if Edward of Middleham dies as in otl then the Ricardian loyalists who might have supported him are not going to necessarily transfer that support to Warwick either. Its a risk for Maximilian to tie his family to either of them if i am honest.
 
If Buckingham was successful,wouldn't he have made himself king rather than Henry Tudor? His own claim to the throne was equal if not superior to Henry Tudor's.
The problem is that Buckingham doesn't seem to have had any natural supporters. Conveniently, every one of his close family ties would have backed Henry Tudor ahead of him: his wife was Catherine Woodville, who would support her sister Queen Elizabeth (who supported Henry Tudor); his mother's family were the Beauforts; the few of those who remained were of course Lancastrian and would have backed Lady Margaret's son, Henry Tudor. It's entirely possible that Buckingham joined the rebellion hoping to establish himself as figurehead, but the problem there is that he was in communication with Tudor, whom everyone knew was the Lancastrian claimant and who would have been the natural figurehead of any rebellion. Of mcdnab's three possible motives for Buckingham's betrayal, the second (he fell out with Richard after the King killed his nephews) makes the most sense to me - the timing is right and Buckingham has an obvious example of what happens when you usurp the throne without a very good reason (or a very unpopular incumbent to depose) in Richard III himself. I think Buckingham liked the idea of being the Kingmaker, but if it just so happened that he were offered the crown anyway, that's just gravy. But of course there's no way Buckingham doesn't know what happened to the Princes, and a lot of people are going to be very uncomfortable crowning him King when he has blood on his hands. Henry Tudor at least has plausible deniability.

Tudor just has too many natural supporters for Buckingham to come out ahead of him, IMO: he has a power base in Wales (the Welsh are happy to back their native son), the Lancastrians will support him over Buckingham (but Buckingham is actually the next Lancastrian male heir after him, which I think is why he'd be successful in being recognized as Henry's Heir Presumptive if he were to push for that), Oxford seems to have been extremely faithful to him and was England's best commander in that era other than the York brothers, Jasper Tudor was no slouch militarily either, Margaret Beaufort can bring the Stanleys onboard, and of course the Woodvilles (including Dorset) will back Henry as long as he agrees to marry Elizabeth.

1) Rumours of the Prince's deaths were around by the mid-summer - though nothing was confirmed - we know most of the minor rebellions through the late summer were in the name of Edward V - it is still debated whether Buckingham's actions in joining the rebellion was due to a) personal ambition b) because he fell out with Richard aftter learning the deposed King had been murdered on Richard's orders or c) He did the boys in himself in the hope of blaming Richard and gaining the throne for himself
I agree with this. Whatever Buckingham's motives are, when it's discovered that the Princes are dead he's going to claim it was always b) if he knows what's good for him.

2) Assuming the Welsh landing is succesfull and assuming Buckingham, Tudor and Dorset destroy Richard - then as in otl - first the public will be told the lawful King (Edward V) is dead - and that the legal heir of the late King Edward IV is his eldest daughter the Lady Elizabeth - who it is decided will marry Henry - in this scenario Henry is politically weaker and might have to settle with marriage before becoming King and will more obviously be King by marriage rather than conquest - by enlarge due to his dependance on the Edwardian supporters and Buckingham and Dorset. Buckingham and Dorset exert more influence and perhaps like his son in OTL Buckingham eventually overreaches and comes a cropper.
I do think Oxford, as IOTL, talks his warden into escaping and joining Tudor's army with him, and Oxford (unlike Dorset or Buckingham) is much likelier to be a true blue ally to Henry VII (as he was IOTL). Henry will definitely want to play Oxford against the others as much as he can. Others he might puff up to counter Buckingham and Dorset include his father-in-law (even if he isn't created Earl of Derby ITTL) and, of course, his uncle the Duke of Bedford for as long as he's alive. But I agree it will be very hard for him to dislodge Buckingham and Dorset. (I wonder if he might try to play the two of them against each other. That could be fun.)

3) Anne Neville is still living - no doubt she will be treated with respect - she will have had custody of both her son and her nephew the Earl of Warwick (who previously had been in the custody of Dorset) - and that i think makes the chance of the boys being spirited abroad unlikely... Richard's support at this point was very narrow - his supporters might regard his son as the lawful heir - but the claim is very very weak - Warwick's claim is actually stronger (he is the senior male heir of Edward III at this point) - his custody will be actively fought over by the King's supporters.
Thanks for the insight. So into the Tower our two Edwards go, and like their royal cousins, they're not coming out alive. Edward of Middleham dying about a year into his imprisonment could be impetus enough for a *Stoke situation, especially if Yorkist/Ricardian lore emerges that "King Edward" did not die (or was murdered by Henry Tudor) but managed to escape, which was then covered up, but of course he managed to flee somewhere he could be discovered by an obscure would-be Kingmaker a la Lambert Simnel. (Or Edward of Middleham was killed but Warwick managed to escape - Simnel was supposed to be Warwick IOTL, after all.) This means that *Stoke happens in 1484 or 1485. As IOTL, Lincoln is the obvious choice to lead the rebels unless Buckingham chooses this opportunity to turn coat and play Kingmaker once again. But I have other ideas for him.

I agree Anne Neville would be treated with great respect by everyone. The one wrinkle is that she'll not be addressed as the Dowager Queen but instead as the Dowager Princess of Wales as, by law, Richard III was never actually the King, and her rank as widow of Edward of Westminster outranks that of her rank as widow of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Do you think Henry VII will arrange for her to marry his Uncle Jasper or will she be allowed to remain a widow? And if she does remain a widow, who might Jasper marry?

4) If they do flee then yes like the later de la Pole's they are a stick to beat the English King with - however - pretenders were usually just as much at risk from their hosts if a better deal with the English court was struck - in this case if Edward of Middleham dies as in otl then the Ricardian loyalists who might have supported him are not going to necessarily transfer that support to Warwick either. Its a risk for Maximilian to tie his family to either of them if i am honest.
I agree, if the Edwards make it to Burgundy they'll be guests of Margaret at Mechlin, and not Maximilian.

There's one thought I had which ties together a few of the situations facing England in the 1480s. IOTL, Henry VII apparently considered suggesting the 3rd Duke of Buckingham as a potential husband for Anne of Brittany in 1488, and there's a lot to like about the idea. It neutralizes a powerful potential rival for the throne (one whom his son Henry VIII executed for treason in 1521) and puts a "neutral" dynasty on the Breton throne instead of someone far more provocative to French interests like Maximilian of Austria. I like the idea of both Henry VII and Anne de Beaujeu insisting that Edward Stafford renounce his claims to the English throne and his English titles and lands in exchange for being allowed to reign as Duke jure uxoris of Brittany. Now of course Buckingham has a younger son (and ITTL may have yet more - his last child was born just a year before his death), who would likely be allowed to become the 3rd Duke of Buckingham and inherit his father's property. But it divides Buckingham's attention. Why squabble with Dorset and Oxford and Bedford and Derby for the King's attention when you could have uncontested control over Brittany as Regent for young Edward and Anne? (Assuming Francis is good enough to die on schedule.) And conveniently for Henry VII (and his heirs), Henry Stafford (IOTL the Earl of Wiltshire) was far more loyal and faithful to the ruling monarch than his father or elder brother were.

Although Buckingham might want his second son to marry one of the York sisters in exchange for going along with all this (strengthening his line's claim to the throne - and, for the first time, adding the Yorkist claim to the Stafford line; their children would be descended from four of Edward III's sons). Henry Stafford was born in 1479 - the youngest York daughter, Bridget, was born in 1480 but promised to the Church at birth. The next-youngest daughter, Catherine, is just the right age and IOTL conveniently enough married a traitor, the Earl of Devon.
 
We all know Wikipedia is a hugely unreliable and inaccurate source of historical information.

Nevertheless this tidbit jumped out at me:

The Wikipedia article on Francis II Duke of Brittany said:
In October 1483, Henry Tudor launched a failed invasion of England from Brittany. Duke Francis II supported this invasion by providing 40,000 gold crowns, 15,000 soldiers, and a fleet of transport ships. Henry's fleet of 15 chartered vessels was scattered by a storm, and his ship reached the coast of England in company with only one other vessel.
Assuming that Henry Tudor does indeed have 15,000 Breton troops at his disposal when he lands in Wales, this alone provides for a massive change in power dynamics. For reference, this is about as many men as William of Orange mustered to invade England two centuries later. IOTL, France provided Henry Tudor with - at most - some 5,000 troops. Most estimates are more modest, averaging at about 3,000. So Francis is providing three to five times what France, the most populous country in Europe, would provide two years later. That astounds me. Surely it must be the bulk of his army, if not virtually all of it. Fewer men than that defended the independence of Brittany from France at the Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier in 1488 IOTL. But let's assume the 15,000 number is valid. IOTL, Henry Tudor picked up perhaps 2,000 Welsh troops on his march through Wales, mostly mustered by Rhys ap Thomas, a key figure in West Wales. This was a large enough host to significantly augment his own invading army IOTL (a source describes the Welsh contingent as having "dwarfed" all of the others), but even if we assume more men join what is clearly a much more powerful army, they'll be a supplement to the Breton troops at best.

15,000 troops is a larger contingent than either side at Bosworth IOTL. Lord Stanley had about 5,000 men, and I suspect between his son-in-law's massive army and the no doubt impressive levies raised by the Duke of Buckingham he'll be a lot less equivocal at backing the Lancastrian horse. So add about 5,000 troops to Henry Tudor's total. Then there's Buckingham's army. I'm not sure how many men he can raise but as a powerful Duke surely he can at least match Stanley. So say another 5,000 at the least. If all of these armies can meet up we're probably looking at some 30,000 troops - an army as large as those fielded by either side at Towton in 1461. That's assuming other English leaders don't also try to rally with Henry Tudor. And notice that his Breton troops still make up about half the total. Again, assuming this number holds, his chances of seizing the throne by right of conquest are much higher. Of course he can't hold onto those Breton troops forever so some kind of favourable arrangement with Buckingham (who gets to keep his troops in England) is still likely.

The tactical goal for Richard III (who mustered, at best, 12,000 men at Bosworth IOTL) is to intercept smaller armies with his own before they merge into a larger one he would have a much harder time defeating in battle. That may be a challenge for him considering he couldn't even successfully neutralize the Stanleys while he had Lord Stanley's son as his prisoner IOTL. Richard's goose is well and truly cooked.

As for Henry Tudor, tactically one wonders if he would bother attempting to gather more support in the English countryside before moving on London with his army so much bigger. In the short term his goal is probably to link up with Buckingham and possibly Stanley if he can get a solid commitment from him. If he can avoid Richard's army (probably unlikely - Richard wasn't the type to run away from a fight) we're looking at 30,000+ strong entering London - and the nearly-inevitable Storming of the Tower to rescue the rightful King and his brother. Once they're found dead, hello civil war! And sure, maybe Buckingham could try to claim the throne, but hey, wouldn't he have known about the Princes? And oh, by the way, about two-thirds of the army currently occupying London is personally loyal to (or funded by) either Henry Tudor or his sponsor.

Sometimes it's good to be the Kingmaker.

And yes, Henry VII looked out for number one first and always, but he still owes Francis big for getting him on the throne. And we can expect Francis to call in that favour sometime in the next few years...
 
We don't know when Edward V died. Any chance of rescuing him from the Tower?

The Tower itself would be a key objective of any successful uprising, of course this one wasn't successful.

I don't think we get many "what ifs" with a surviving Edward V because of the problem with not knowing how he would have turned out. But its do-able with a plot that gets to the Tower early before Gloucester's henchmen can execute him. After all Henry VI was re-adapted in 1470 despite being imprisoned by his opponents.
 
We don't know when Edward V died. Any chance of rescuing him from the Tower?
There was apparently an attempt to rescue the Princes in late July. It seems likely they were still alive at this point - in fact this botched rescue attempt might have been the impetus for killing them. (Henry VII finally executed Edward, Earl of Warwick, after he and Perkin Warbeck attempted to escape from the Tower of London in 1499.)

But by October or November they've probably been dead for a least a couple of months. I read some rather horrifying articles on the process of putrefaction, the fifth stage of death. By the time they're found all of the proteins in their body will have liquified and the decomposition process will have begun. There's no way they'll be mistaken for freshly killed corpses, although they'll probably be described as such to maintain the legal fiction - historians will find out centuries later from some obscure witness report resurfacing in a library archive that nope, they've been dead for at least a month. (Possibly the Ricardians of TTL might seize on that in hopes of restoring him to the King List. The man obviously had a quality which attracts apologists.)

Galba Otho Vitelius said:
The Tower itself would be a key objective of any successful uprising, of course this one wasn't successful.
Despite my own phrasing referring to a "Storming of the Tower" I do think its custodians would capitulate in a situation like this rather than resist, which would be costly and drawn-out.

Galba Otho Vitelius said:
I don't think we get many "what ifs" with a surviving Edward V because of the problem with not knowing how he would have turned out. But its do-able with a plot that gets to the Tower early before Gloucester's henchmen can execute him. After all Henry VI was re-adapted in 1470 despite being imprisoned by his opponents.
Actually mcdnab has written several iterations of a timeline covering the reign of Edward V, assuming that Edward IV lives long enough for his sons to reach the age of majority. Edward IV had planned prestigious marriages for all of his children - and a personal union with Brittany was in the cards as Edward was the right age to marry Anne of Brittany (the same age as her OTL husband Charles VIII of France, in fact). But this is probably a subject for another thread. ITTL the Princes are dead and Henry Tudor becomes King, but two years earlier.

Continued Breton independence is one of the reasons I like a Buckingham's Rebellion scenario in the first place. Don't forget that Jacques Cartier, who explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence and discovered what he called "Canada" was not French but Breton. Between that and the likely survival of Charles VIII (he died hitting his head on the lintel of a door) France likely looks very different in the early decades of the 16th century. Charles VIII is also stuck marrying his original betrothed, Margaret of Austria. That's actually where I wanted to go next, looking at all of the alternate marital arrangements ITTL, but I'll leave it at that for now.
 
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