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Richard III

Much has been written about Richard of York, Richard III. history is full of his scheming, murders and suchlike. Most of it is totally untrue. Following the War of The Roses, and the final battle at Bosworth, the Tudor dynasty rose to the fore and then they began to rewrite history in their own eyes. Another popular misconception was the the body of Richard III was thrown unceremoniously into a local river, he remained, where buried, at Greyfriars, Leicester. (see below) Henry VII ordered that Richards body be found and brought to him. He conveyed the body to Leicester, when he handed it over to a Priory for burial. And so the defeated King lay, until 2013AD. Now the site of a council car park, his body was somehow pinpointed and the archeologists dug in almost exactly the correct place. The lady who uncovered the body said that - 'I need to sit down' - she being overcome when the skeleton with a bent spine was uncovered. On 4th February 2013 it was announced that the DNA tests were complete and the body was indeed that of Richard III. Most of the following has been copied from the public site 'wikipedia'.  But I am also aware that Wikipedia is not to be trusted 100% as it is written by members of public and literary world alike.

As to his final resting place, York sadly lost the battle to take Richard home and he was interred in Leicester. I personally am not happy about this, he would have liked to be buried in York Minister I am positive of that.

From - all links below refer to the source.

The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic wars fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York (whose heraldic symbols were the "red" and the "white" rose, respectively) for the throne of England. They were fought in several sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1485, although there was related fighting both before and after this period. The final victory went to a relatively remote Lancastrian claimant, Henry Tudor, who defeated the last Yorkist king Richard III and married Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York to unite the two houses. The House of Tudor subsequently ruled England and Wales for 117 years.

Henry of Bolingbroke had established the House of Lancaster on the throne in 1399 when he deposed his cousin Richard II and was crowned as Henry IV. Bolingbroke's son Henry V maintained the family's hold on the crown, but when Henry V died, his heir was the infant Henry VI. The Lancastrian claim to the throne descended from John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, the fourth son of Edward III. Henry VI's right to the crown was challenged by Richard, Duke of York, who could claim descent from Edward's third and fifth sons, Lionel of Antwerp and Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York. Richard of York, who had held several important offices of state, quarrelled with prominent Lancastrians at court and with Henry VI's queen, Margaret of Anjou.

Although armed clashes had occurred previously between supporters of York and Lancaster, the first open fighting broke out in 1455 at the First Battle of St Albans. Several prominent Lancastrians died, but their heirs continued a deadly feud with Richard. Although peace was temporarily restored, the Lancastrians were inspired by Margaret of Anjou to contest York's influence. Fighting resumed more violently in 1459. York and his supporters were forced to flee the country, but one of his most prominent supporters, the Earl of Warwick, invaded England from Calais and captured Henry at the Battle of Northampton. York returned to the country and became Protector of England, but was dissuaded from claiming the throne. Margaret and the irreconcilable Lancastrian nobles gathered their forces in the north of England, and when York moved north to suppress them, he and his second son Edmund were killed at the Battle of Wakefield in December 1460. The Lancastrian army advanced south and recaptured Henry at the Second Battle of St Albans, but failed to occupy London, and subsequently retreated to the north. York's eldest son, Edward, Earl of March, was proclaimed King Edward IV. He gathered the Yorkist armies and won a crushing victory at the Battle of Towton in March 1461.

After Lancastrian revolts in the north were suppressed in 1464 and Henry was captured once again, Edward fell out with his chief supporter and advisor, the Earl of Warwick (known as the "Kingmaker"), and also alienated many friends and even family members by favouring the upstart family of his queen, Elizabeth Woodville, whom he had married in secret. Warwick tried first to supplant Edward with his younger brother George, Duke of Clarence, and then to restore Henry VI to the throne. This resulted in two years of rapid changes of fortune, before Edward IV once again won complete victories at Barnet (April 1471), where Warwick was killed, and Tewkesbury (May 1471) where the Lancastrian heir, Edward, Prince of Wales, was executed after the battle. Henry was murdered in the Tower of London several days later, ending the direct Lancastrian line of succession.

A period of comparative peace followed, but King Edward died unexpectedly in 1483. His surviving brother, Richard of Gloucester, first moved to prevent the unpopular Woodville family of Edward's widow from participating in the government during the minority of Edward's son, Edward V, and then seized the throne for himself, using the suspect legitimacy of Edward IV's marriage as pretext. Henry Tudor, a distant relative of the Lancastrian kings who had inherited their claim, defeated Richard at Bosworth in 1485. He was crowned Henry VII, and married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, to unite and reconcile the two houses.

Yorkist revolts, directed by John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln and others, flared up in 1487 under the banner of the pretender Lambert Simnel, who claimed to be Edward, Earl of Warwick (son of George of Clarence), resulting in the last pitched battles. Although most of the surviving descendants of Richard of York were imprisoned, sporadic rebellions continued until 1497 when Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be the younger brother of Edward V, one of the two disappeared Princes in the Tower, was imprisoned and later executed.



Bosworth is a site of national historic significance, being the location of one of the three most important battles fought on British soil. It is the site where the Battle of Bosworth took place in 1485, and infamous as the place where King Richard III lost his life and crown to Henry Tudor and thus where the Tudor dynasty was born. Shakespeare immortalised Richard III, a King betrayed, unhorsed, surrounded by his enemies and finally calling out “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.”

The Wars of The Roses consisted of a series of battles fought between 1454 and 1485 by two rival branches of the same royal family for the control of the English throne. A contemporary name for the conflict was 'The Cousins' War'.Although some members of the houses of York and Lancaster did have white and red roses on their heraldry, the term Wars of the Roses was not used untill much later.

Between 1454 and 1471 the houses of Lancaster and York fought thirteen battles with the Yorkist Edward IV winning the eventual victory. Richard III was Edward’s youngest brother and succeeded him to the throne in 1483. Fourteen years after the last battle of the Wars of the Roses, Richard III rode into battle once more, losing his life and his throne to Henry Tudor on the 22nd August 1485. On this date, in the heart of rural Leicestershire, two armies faced each other; a large Royal army led by King Richard III awaited the approach of a smaller rebel army led by Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond. This decisive battle would witness the death of the King and the birth of a dynasty that would last for 122 years. It was the last time that an English King was killed in battle.

King Richard III had ruled the country for just over two years when he found his claim to the throne challenged by Henry Tudor. Henry started the day as an exiled nobleman, and ended the day being crowned at Stoke Golding, becoming Henry VII.  Henry had been living in exile in France since the age of 14, but at 28 was encouraged by his Lancastrian family and friends to fight for the chance to become England’s King. He sailed to Milford Haven in Wales with a small army of English exiles and French mercenaries. He was born in Wales, and used this connection to gain more support for his cause. His army finally numbered around 5000 men.

Henry requested help from Lord Thomas Stanley and his brother Sir William Stanley, based in the North West of England. Lord Thomas was married to Henry’s mother (Henry’s father had died some years before), but more importantly, was a wealthy man. He could command a great private army. Henry and Sir William are said to have communicated on the march down the country, as they would have followed a similar route. However it is not known if Henry was successful in gaining Lord Thomas’s support prior to the Battle. Meanwhile Richard III, on hearing of Henry’s landing, sent out a summons to his supporters, requesting them to meet the King equipped for war. He also wanted Lord Thomas’s support and took his eldest son hostage in an attempt to guarantee it.

Richard was buried at Grey Friars monastery in Leicester. Years later, when England’s monasteries were being destroyed by Henry VIII, Richard’s bones were dug up and thrown in the river  - he is one of the few English Kings not to have a grave. ((we now know this is not true as I stated above this was an 'invention of the 16th C) Henry VII, the new King of England married Richard III’s niece, Elizabeth, joining the Houses of York and Lancaster together. Despite this union Yorkist revolts continued until 1499. You can read the remainder of this epic saga on the link on top of this section.

As a person born in the 'realm' of Richard Duke of York, I am pleased that his remains have been found and hope, when all this is over, he can be buried at 'home' in York Minster.  (This never happened, a court decided his should not be buried at home, but in Leicester, disgusting!)The Tudor historians and Shakespeare, no less, are guilty of gross misrepresentation of history and the man, the king. Who killed the young Princes ' in the Tower'? We will probably never know but Richard III had no reason to do this and probably did not order such. I wrote a small portion of this and most has been copied from sources named. If you want more detail, visit the sources.

An Article

(I got this in an email from a friend)

The news that the skeleton of King Richard III has been found under a parking lot in Leicester, a city 100 miles north of London, should finally end half a millennium of winters of discontent for the most maligned monarch in English history. It proves that it is never too late to save one's reputation.

In William Shakespeare's "Richard III," the king is shown facilitating the deaths of King Henry VI and his son Prince Edward; of Richard's brother George, Duke of Clarence (drowned in a butt of malmsey wine); of the Second Duke of Buckingham; of Richard's own wife, Anne Neville; and especially of the Princes in the Tower of London, the 12-year-old King Edward V and his 9-year-old brother Richard, Duke of York. It is the greatest example of theatrical overkill since the Tarantino-like closing scenes of "Hamlet" and "Macbeth," yet there is absolutely no evidence that Richard was guilty of any of it. Shakespeare even has Richard killing the Duke of Somerset at the battle of St. Albans, which took place when Richard was 2 years old.

It is hoped by Ricardians (yes, the small but vocal band of Richard III's supporters have a sobriquet) that the world-wide interest in his disinterment by Leicester University archaeologists will focus attention on his reputation. Just because his last stand at the Battle of Bosworth Field took place 528 years ago, it doesn't mean that a good man's name should continue to be sullied. As Shakespeare's own Iago says in the third act of "Othello": "Who steals my purse steals trash . . . but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed."

Richard should be admired even today. After all, here is a monarch who abolished press censorship, invented the right to bail for people awaiting trial, reformed the country's finances, and led bravely in battle despite a crippling disability.

It was Richard's tragedy that after being betrayed by the turncoat Stanley family at Bosworth, he then had to contend with the greatest poet-playwright in the English language spin-doctoring against him on behalf of the incoming regime. When the Tudors defeated and succeeded the last of the Plantagenets, they constantly briefed against the previous administration, blaming it for all the country's ills. Shakespeare even has Richard say: "I am determined to prove a villain." Who in his right mind would ever say that, especially if it were true?

Assuming that the skeleton really is that of the king, as the DNA experts at Leicester contend, having connected him to a Canadian carpenter named Michael Ibsen, who is directly descended from King Richard's mother, its curvature of the spine implies that Shakespeare only slightly exaggerated by making him hunchbacked. A contemporary, the historian John Rous, described Richard as "slight in body and weak in strength," yet the king led his men into many battles and at Bosworth "to his last breath he held himself nobly in a defending manner." In an age that rightly lauds its Paralympians, shouldn't we praise the last king of England to die in battle for even taking up the profession of arms despite his disabilities?

As Josephine Tey so elegantly demonstrated in her 1951 crime novel "The Daughter of Time," no modern court would convict Richard III of the murder of the princes in the Tower, whose possible skeletons, discovered in 1674 under the staircase leading to the chapel—ought now to be disinterred from Westminster Abbey and subjected to DNA tests and modern pathology examinations. "Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead," says Richard in the play. Yet the evidence for their murders is at best circumstantial, and at worst pure Tudor invention.

Not merely Richard III, but also his killer and successor Henry VII needed the princes out of the way. It is known that Henry became highly perturbed throughout his reign whenever (as happened regularly) pretenders appeared, claiming to be the princes. This implies that he suspected that they might still have been alive at the time of Bosworth.

Rumors abounded, for example, that they may have escaped the country into the care of their aunt, the Dowager Duchess of Burgundy. A DNA test on the bones supposed to be those of the princes might establish whether they are the royal children, but it wouldn't tell us how they died. Yet were a full autopsy to diagnose plague, then Richard would be further exonerated. Certainly Richard's, July 6, 1483, coronation was very well attended, which might not have been the case had his contemporaries believed that he had murdered his brother's children.

There is something uplifting in the thought that even five centuries years after his death, a wronged monarch might at last find posthumous justice.

Mr. Roberts, a historian, is author most recently of  "The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War" (Harper, 2011).

The King in the Car Park

Sites of Relative Interest

I do not necessarily believe, verify or deny any of the information contained on the following sites. Lets face, it the Tudors screwed history up so???