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Richard III

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Richard III

Post  princess garnet on Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:01 pm

Gareth Russell writes about a funeral today for Richard III--from earlier this week:
http://garethrussellcidevant.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/a-state-funeral-for-richard-iii-dont.html
I thought I post it here for those who want reread or missed it.

On the Princes in the Tower, I read Alison Weir's book on the subject. Here's a passage I agree with; she writes that it's damaging how "the simple fact that the Princes disappeared for good whilst under the King's protection, as prisoners, and that Richard gave no explanation of what happened to them nor made any reference to their continuing extistence..." (p.164)

Citation
Weir, Alison. The Princes in the Tower. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Julygirl on Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:49 pm

That was a good book! I read it!! Smile
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:18 pm

That was a fabulous book! All of the news about Richard makes me want to read it again. Gareth's post was great and I left some comments on it. It made me do some brushing up on Richard III. I fell in love with Richard when I was 14 and read Rosemary Hawley Jarman's novel We Speak No Treason. Decades later, I try to be more objective than I was then. I still wonder, however, why Richard, who was known for his political shrewdness and his ability to work the system, would have done something so stupid as to have his nephews killed. Murders of that kind are hard to cover up, even in the Tower. It would have been a clumsy move for someone who had shown himself to be pretty astute.

The boys, even after being declared illegitimate, were still a possible rallying point for Richard's enemies, particularly the remaining Woodville faction, which is why he would never have shown them to the public. I think it is more likely that he hid them somewhere, probably in the Tower by keeping them from view. Or else he had them sent away for their own safety, and his. I think it more likely they were killed in the upheavals which followed Bosworth. The size of the skeletons which were found under the staircase do show the boys to have been around 11 and 14, which means they could have lived well into 1485 (unless they were just big for their ages).

In Richard's life, other than the alleged murder of his nephews, is there any solid evidence of his committing atrocities, such as there would be in the lives of Edward I, the Black Prince, and other Plantagenet rulers? No. Did Richard ever preside over the wholesale slaughter of civilians? No. He was accused of murdering most of the main players on the Wars of the Roses, but is there proof that he actually did any of it? No. Therefore, I see the murder of his nephews uncharacteristic of someone who knew how to play the game both militarily and politically without resorting to massacre and mayhem.

The skeleton at Leicester shows that Richard (if it is truly he) was struck from behind. It also shows that he had scoliosis, which made one shoulder higher than the other, not that he was hunchback. A hunchback would not have been physically able to have participated in the strenuous military campaigns which Richard took part in from his early teens until the moment of his death. He died struck from behind, knowing he had been betrayed, after leading a courageous charge into the heart of the enemy's ranks. He at least deserves a military funeral.

Here is a brief biographical account of Richard's life.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_III_of_England

More HERE:
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-search-for-richard-iii.html
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2012/09/richard-iii-found-at-last.html


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Re: Richard III

Post  Mata Hari on Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:25 pm

Don't forget Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Here is a review:
http://almostcrazymommy.blogspot.com/2009/09/book-review-daughter-of-time.html
This was a fascinating read by Josephine Tey. It is the story of Alan Grant, a policeman with Scotland Yard, who is laid up in the hospital after being injured on the job. A friend brings in a portrait of Richard III and he has a hard time believing that the man in the picture is the horrible, nephew murdering hunchback that he is familiar with. This sparks his interest and to relieve his boredom he takes up the 400+ year old case of Richard III - did he or did he not murder his nephews in the Tower? He and an American researcher working in the British Museum sort through all the evidence they can get and look at the case through a policeman's perspective - considering motives, opportunities, written accounts from the times, looking for breaks in the normal routine of the main players, etc. Grant becomes convinced that, based on the evidence, that Richard did not murder his nephews. In fact, he had absolutely nothing to gain and quite a bit to loose if he did.

It should be mentioned that Tey is writing a work of fiction here so I'm sure some things that didn't fit into her story were most likely left out. But that aside, it is an intriguing look at a man who history has made out to be a horrible monster. One of the points Grant realizes (and probably the biggest) is that, basically, history is written by the victors. Anything that might make them, the victors, look bad is going to be changed and anything that can discredit the vanquished will be trumped up as much as possible.

Some of the evidence/points that Grant comes across:

1. The accepted history of Richard III was written by Thomas More who was about 8 when Richard was killed AND he was writing for a Tudor King. He certainly wasn't going to publish anything that would make Henry VIII's father look bad. Also, a lot of his information apparently came from a certain John Morton, who hated Richard. (It should be noted that Shakespeare used More's account of Richard's life when writing his play Richard III, which most people today base their idea of Richard on.)

2. Richard had declared all of Edward's children illegitimate but there were still several heirs in line ahead of him and they continued to live happy lives during his reign. No reason to do away with just two of the heirs between him and the throne and leave all the others.

3. When Henry VII was having all of Richard's crimes laid out never once was the murder of the Princes mentioned. He wasn't even accused of it.

4. After Richard took the throne, Elizabeth Woodville came out of sanctuary, her daughters went to Richard's court, and she wrote to one of her Grey sons in France to come home because Richard would be kind to him. Would she have done this if she thought Richard killed her sons?

5. Henry VII, to bolster his claim to the throne after killing Richard, married Elizabeth of York, the sister of the Princes in the Tower. To make her claim to the throne valid, he had to make her (and ALL her siblings) legitimate. Once he did that, her brother was the rightful King again.

These are just a few of the points Grant considers when he finally comes to his verdict at the end. Some of the information Tey puts into her story certainly will make you think about what you accept as history, especially in a case such as Richard's. I do wish the story had been longer and more detail given about some of the evidence presented but I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Richard II.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:56 pm

I read Tey's Daughter of Time as well. It made quite an impression on me. Here is another post from Gareth Russell about royal claimants in which Richard III is mentioned.
http://garethrussellcidevant.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/missing-royals-and-murder-mysteries.html

Here is a comment I left (not published yet.):
Wonderful post, Gareth, as always. What a good summation of such complicated cases! I think that the topic of royal claimants and imposters is a rich field for study in itself. There is, however, little romance about it, except perhaps in the movies. Most royal claimants/imposters did not live happy lives or come to happy ends. Perkin Warbeck died young. Most of the Dauphin claimants ended up in prison at some point in their lives. As for "Anna Anderson" her life had so many tumultuous ups and downs, with long stays in mental hospitals and long periods of penury, that one can only be consoled at the thought of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholaevna dying with her family.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Bunnies on Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:03 pm

I like to think that I'm an objective person. While human emotions invariably get involved in every study of past human beings, I genuinely try to set them aside when I'm concocting a written opinion, or at least construct my fluid feelings on solid facts. Of course there are historical figures that I like/dislike, but as a general rule I come to that opinion after I know a little bit about their historical context.

At least, well, I try to.

Except when it comes to Richard III. Uh-uh, no. Objectivity just blips out of my vocabulary when it comes to this fellow. What happened was that my father and I were playing a series of table-top war games and eventually we did the War of the Roses. We got to Bosworth, where I controlled Richard's army and my father commanded Henry's. Anyway, since neither my father nor myself have ever been accused of undue decorum, we inevitably stumbled into a game of trash talking our opponents. We just barely avoided employing inventive profanity due to our relation, but I do remember referring to the future Henry VII's mother as a "dried out husk of a woman" who nonetheless possessed bigger you-know-whats than her son.

Keepin' it classy. Anyway, the natural reaction to my allusion to Margaret Beaufort's anatomy was some allusion to how Richard's most dangerous enemies had been children who he had dispatched in secret. Cowardice was implied, blah blah blah. It wasn't as profound as my barb so I don't remember it exactly. But suffice to say I defended Richard's honor, frantically denying that he had ever had anything to do with the deaths with all the confidence of a Yorkist Scholar, despite the fact that I had absolutely no knowledge of 15th century England beyond how they irritated the French a lot.

I rather liked my madcap argument and did a little research, conveniently rigged to support my Richard-was-totally-innocent thesis. Paul Murray Kendall was my biography of choice, and Penman's The Sunne in Splendour was read cover to cover. With such devoted research I convinced myself that I had been entirely correct in defending Richard's honor.

Good heavens, I was uncomfortable just reading Charles Ross' less-than-complimentary work on this "maligned monarch!" Aside from the fond memory I related above, I think it is also that I find the story of a saintly king demonized to be tragically romantic, and for all my spouted cynicism a good story can enthrall me as easily as anyone else.

Likewise, I think since I fought so many campaigns in the aforementioned game with Richard as my general I sorta...started thinking he was my friend. Subsequently, hearing that he might not-be-so-great makes me less intrigued as a wanna-be historian...and more disappointed that a "loved one" could do something like that.

^ That is the closest I've ever come to a confession of lunacy on a message board, incidentally. ^

Now, I know objectively speaking that there is a lot of evidence to indicate that Richard did, in fact, murder his nephews. I begrudgingly admit that the Richard in my head is probably very different than the Richard who walked this earth. I rig my research (by doing research ahead of time as to the mood of the books I buy, see) to support my own romantic view, but I figure that as long as I know I'm doing it and never seriously try to publish anything whitewashing him, my bias doesn't hurt anyone. Thinking about romantic Richard makes me happier than thinking about murderous Richard, and I see no reason to make myself unhappy when I'm reading for recreation anyway.

So yeah. I'm a relatively objective person when it comes to history until Richard III comes up. He was totally 100% not guilty of anything wrong, ever. And anyone who says otherwise will make me cry.
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:32 pm

Your post makes me laugh out loud! I totally fell in love with Richard III when I was 14 or 15 and read Rosemary Hawley Jarman's We Speak No Treason, a novel about him. I also loved Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time. It is hard for me to be pbjective although I do try. Wink

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Re: Richard III

Post  Bunnies on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:15 pm

Save yourself, it's too late for me. I've given up trying. Go on without me, Elena. Tell Richard I loved him.

Joking aside, I read Daughter of Time and enjoyed it because I'm me...but even unapoletically-Ricardian-biased Bunnies noticed that Tey had a nasty tendency to omit and skewer some facts in order to buffer her argument. As an example of the former, she mentioned that it was odd how such a tyrannical king had never to put down one rebellion throughout his reign - conveniently omitting mention of Buckingham's rebellion. As for skewering, I recall she had Grant make a list of all the heirs who proceeded Richard in line for the throne. She included daughters.

Daughters could of course, legally speaking, inherit the throne of England, but a lot of contemporaries would not have even considered Elizabeth of York or any of her sisters as serious contenders for the throne. Had Edward V and Richard of York never existed, Richard III would have been comfortably seated on the throne of England. Most everyone would have preferred a grown man to a teenaged girl.

Now, the list also included less-absurd contenders, such as George of Clarence's little boy, also named Edward. This child arguably had a better claim to the throne than Richard, and that he was permitted to remain alive is an argument in Richard's favor - but to buffer his existence with seven daughters who no one would have given a second thought to borders on the dishonest. So too is to ignore the fact that this Edward was barred by Attainder to the throne - true, Edward V was barred by his alleged bastardy, but everyone knew Clarence had committed treason while many people believed that Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV had been married.

(Unless Tey did mention this Attainder? It's been awhile.)

Tey was writing a novel so her burden of professionalism is lighter than that of a biographer. And it is true she was drafting a 'defense' so to speak, but in a way that just means she needed even tighter arguments. I don't like to think that people read Tey and went "That's the best Ricardians have? They have to lie to prove their case?" No...

Now, obviously there are better Ricardian arguments than this and I definitely didn't absolutely demolish the case, but Tey was perhaps doing what I condemned above: taking her fondness for an historical figure and trying to twist the facts in order to make other people fond of him too. Unfortunately, a teenaged girl in pajama pants who occasionally rambles incoherently on message boards is held to a different standard than a published author who is allegedly exonerating an innocent man before the public.

...I never read We Speak No Treason but I'd probably adore it so I'll check it out next time I'm in the mood for a novel. Sunne in Splendour is still one of my favorite novels, bar none. I've been thinking of reading The Seventh Son but I am concerned that I'll be disconcerted with its touted "balanced" view of Richard.


Last edited by Bunnies on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:24 pm

Great post! Laughing You are correct on all points! Who wrote The Seventh Son? Let me know if it is worth reading.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Bunnies on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:56 pm

The Seventh Son is written by Reay Tannahill. My father bought me the book for my last birthday, which was in March. That I've put it off for nearly a year now is testament enough to how reluctant I am to dive in. On one hand, it's about Richard III so I want to read it...on the other hand, it's not my idealized Richard III, so I want to avoid it like the plague.

Speaking of idealized Richard III, I thought I would share this...



^ Not pictured: Objectivity. ^

What is pictured is my Richard III plush doll based on Laurence Olivier's portrayal - sans hunchback. My father gave him the little sword because he's an enabler.

Commissioning this doll earned me a Ricardian black belt.
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:00 pm

VERY cute! You're the only person I know with a Richard III doll! Very Happy

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Re: Richard III

Post  Bunnies on Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:23 pm

Yes. Richard III may have been both figuratively and literally stabbed in the back at Bosworth and subsequently vilified before all history but at least someone has a cute plush doll of him, dang it.

I bet no one has a plush of Henry VII. Who was the real winner here?
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:41 pm

There you go. The ultimate triumph is to be become a child's plaything.

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Just parachuting in from Elena's blog...

Post  Richard Malcolm on Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:26 pm

Just parachuting in from Elena's blog...

I couldn't help myself - Richard III has long been a fascinating topic for me. Firstly, because my first name really is Richard, and I was named for Richard I, Couer de Lion, and that inspired me to learn as much about *all three* King Richards - a fascinating, motley, tragic and often misunderstood group of Plantagenets. And secondly because, as it happens, one of my first history professors at college assigned The Daughter of Time as required reading for class.

As it turned out, Tey's book was one of the few assigned readings that stayed with me from college. Partly because it was a ripping good read. But also, partly, because, however fantastic it was as a work of fiction, it's a lot more dubious as an exercise in historiography. And I was never able to get a satisfactory answer as to why my Historiography professor assigned it - at least not beyond the fact that it was something that inspired her to become a historian after reading it as a young girl.

But that is not to say that there aren't some things we can't learn from Tey's little exercise. Henry Tudor really was a right [expletive deleted] of the first water, and ruthless enough to kill off the Princes without a second thought, given how many other Yorkist heirs he liquidated in subsequent years. Bosworth ushered in no glorious age of enlightened rule no matter how many apologetics Shakespeare or the St. Thomas More (God forgive him) might write to that end - it merely ended England's Civil Wars, quite ruthlessly. And Richard is far from the crouchback ogre of Shakespeare, and quite possibly one of Medieval England's most capable monarchs.

But Alison Weir is likely correct: The odds still are that Richard, or men working for Richard on their own initiative, did away with the Princes in the Tower. And it's a shame, because, on the whole, Richard III is much more likable than Henry VII.
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Re: Richard III

Post  Richard Malcolm on Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:35 pm

Elena wrote: He died struck from behind, knowing he had been betrayed, after leading a courageous charge into the heart of the enemy's ranks. He at least deserves a military funeral.

He does at that.

And Lord Stanley deserves, well . . . something less pleasant. I can well imagine what circle Dante might have located him in.
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Re: Richard III

Post  Bunnies on Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:43 pm

Speaking of Lord Stanley, I read somewhere (citation desperately needed) that it was one of his descendants who commissioned Shakespeare to write the Richard III play.

If that's true, then Stanley's betrayal was the gift that just kept on giving.
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:13 pm

Thank you for joining us and sharing your reflections! Smile

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It appears the remains *are* those of Richard III

Post  Richard Malcolm on Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:42 am

From the Washington Post:

LONDON — A team of archaeologists confirmed Monday that ancient remains found under a parking lot belong to long-lost King Richard III, successfully ending a search that sparked a modern-day debate about the legacy of the reputed tyrant.

Details of the findings were released hours after DNA tests came in late Sunday. The 500-year-old remains were discovered five months ago, using ancient maps and records to uncover the ruins of the old friary where Richard III was laid to rest.

“It is the academic conclusion of the University of Leicester that beyond reasonable doubt, the individual exhumed at Greyfriars in September 2012 is indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England,” Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist of the University of Leicester, said at the announcement Monday in the city 90 miles northwest of London.

The verification came after scientific tests were used to match DNA samples taken from Canadian-born Michael Ibsen, a direct descendent of Anne of York, Richard’s elder sister.

Rest at the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/remains-of-king-richard-iii-identified/2013/02/04/d79e87b2-6ebb-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html

Truly remarkable to think that his remains could be identified after all this time.

Here's to praying that they can be given a proper, belated Catholic burial in a fitting resting place.
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:52 am

Thank you for the link! It is exciting news. More here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21328380

I think Richard was very handsome! Apparently, no contemporary portraits of him survive, only those that were copies of the original.


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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:46 am

Here is today's Tea at Trianon post about Richard. http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-last-plantagenet-king.html

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Re: Richard III

Post  Bunnies on Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:19 am

On a less academic note, I found this article entitled "Richard III To Pick Up Where He Left Off."


THE skeleton of Richard III has vowed to re-boot the Wars of the Roses and slaughter his rivals to the throne.

‘Also, I have no organs and am invincible’

The exhumed king said he was delighted to be back before pledging ‘a torrent of Lancastrian blood that will turn the mill-wheels of Preston’.

He added: “I want to check out the Leicester restaurant scene, catch up on some paperwork and then disembowel all those who would deny my claim.

“I have also ordered a horse off the internet.”

The last king of the House of York revealed that having a curved spine and a club foot is a lot easier to cope with when you are just a skeleton.

“The hunchback was mostly fat. Now it’s gone I’m very nimble. But I am still really angry, so I guess it wasn’t all about the hump.

“I’ve read a couple of articles saying that I was actually quite nice and that Shakespeare was unfair.

“He wasn’t. I am [expletive] up and I am coming to get your children.”

Jane Thomson, from Stevenage, said: “Excellent. I was hoping this would activate some ancient curse that would wipe out half the country.”

Richard III added: “My friend Dan Snow tells me you are now ruled by Germans. We shall see about that.”

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/richard-iii-to-pick-up-where-he-left-off-2013020458569

Joking aside, I do hope he gets a Catholic burial as well. That's what he would have wanted, if he knew. I'd also think it would be respectful to inter him somewhere in York but that might be too much to hope for. Ricardian petitions aside...
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:43 am

Funny. Here is an article about the Princes.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/feb/05/princes-in-tower-staying-under?CMP=twt_gu
Previously confidential correspondence reveals that the Church of England, with backing from the Queen and ministers, has repeatedly refused requests to carry out similar forensic tests to those used to identify the remains of Richard III this week to see if the bones buried in Westminster Abbey are those of Richard's two nephews.

DNA testing was refused on the grounds that it could set a precedent for testing historical theories that would lead to multiple royal disinterments. The church was also uncertain what to do with the remains if the DNA tests were negative, potentially leaving the church with the dilemma of how to manage bogus bones. Authorities also resisted on the grounds the tests could not finally establish "if Richard III is to be let off the hook".

Tudor and Stuart histories insist that the remains contained in an urn designed by Sir Christopher Wren are those of Edward V and Richard Duke of York who were "stifled with pillows ... by the order of their perfidious uncle Richard the Usurper", as the 17th-century inscription puts it. A concerted attempt to get the urn opened was made by the Richard III Society, the group behind this week's confirmation of Richard III's remains, together with the BBC in 1993 and again by Channel 4 in 1995. A Home Office file shows the then dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Michael Mayne, strongly resisted both requests despite being "pressed very hard to agree" to allow the bones to be submitted to carbon dating, to match their deaths to Richard III's reign, and DNA testing to prove their identities.

Buckingham Palace and then home secretary, Michael Howard, were consulted and both the Queen and the minister were in "full agreement" with the church authorities that matter should not be reopened. The dean took advice from the historian Lord Blake and an Oxford archaeology professor, Edward Hall, who said carbon dating of a sample from the late 15th century would only establish the accuracy of the bones within plus or minus 50 years. Richard III occupied the throne for two years between 1483 and 1485 before his death in the battle of Bosworth Field. "It could not therefore differentiate between Richard III or Henry VII – or another – being the guilty party. Nor would the C/14 technique give any clue as to the age at death of the children," the dean said.

In his response to the 1995 request he said he accepted that DNA and other techniques could now establish whether or not the bones in the Abbey were those of the princes, although he could not resist mentioning the fiasco of the Turin shroud in this context. But he pointed out that in itself could create further problems.

"A sample of bone (skin/hair/tissue) from a known individual related to the princes would be required, and that almost certainly means opening a second tomb in the Abbey or elsewhere. If the result is positive, the remains of the two princes are placed back in Sir Christopher Wren's urn. But what if they are negative: what do we do with the remains?

"Keep them in the urn in the royal chapels, knowing they are bogus, or re-bury them elsewhere? And what would we have gained, other than to satisfy our curiosity in one area. It would not bring us any nearer the truth of the affair."

He said Blake and Hall advised that carbon dating would throw no light on the cause of death, nor the identity of those who killed them. "So far as the latter point is concerned – and it is this that fascinates and is the real interest – the other techniques would hardly do so either," said the Dean. And he dismissed the claims that anthropological or dental techniques could reliably reveal the ages of the victims, saying it would have to be accurate to within months or even weeks "if Richard III is to be let off the hook".

However discreetly it was done, television coverage would lead to "a great deal of sensational speculation", the dean said.

He also had another concern. "There are others buried in the abbey whose identity is somewhat uncertain, including Richard II, and allowing these bones to be examined could well set a precedent for other requests. I do not believe we are in the business of satisfying curiosity, or of certifying that remains in the abbey tombs are what they are said to be."

Turi King, a Leicester University geneticist, said this week that if she could gather enough DNA material from the brothers' skeletons to establish a match with that from Richard III, it could show that they were related.

But a Westminster Abbey spokeswoman said: "The recent discovery of Richard III does not change the abbey's position, which is that the mortal remains of two young children, widely believed since the 17th century to be the princes in tower, should not be disturbed."

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:07 pm

Here is a compelling article from Britain's Catholic Herald.
http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2013/02/06/i-dont-mind-where-they-bury-richard-iii-but-having-been-denied-christian-burial-by-henry-tudor-he-must-now-be-given-a-catholic-funeral-mass/

Early in Richard’s reign, Thomas Langton, Bishop of St David’s, accompanied Richard on a royal progress through his kingdom, and wrote to a friend that “He contents the people where he goes best that ever did prince; for many a poor man that hath suffered wrong many days have been relieved and helped by him and his commands in his progress. And in many great cities and towns were great sums of money been given him which he has refused. On my truth I liked never the conditions of any prince so well as his; God has sent him to us for the weal of us all”. There were more critical accounts of course; there always are. But Richard was not the monster we have supposed.

Whatever he was, he was England’s anointed king: and he was of course a Catholic. He was, in fact, austerely religious, a public benefactor and protector of the Church, a founder of charities, who throughout his life upheld a strict code of sexual morality, in marked contrast to many of his fellow courtiers. Had he not been toppled by the wretched Henry Tudor, there would have been no Henry VIII and no consequent apostasy of the Ecclesia Anglicana: we might still be a Catholic country, with a Catholic monarchy. His burial took place without any funeral rites at all: he was just shoved in a hole by the impious Henry. All this makes it surely unthinkable that he should be given a Protestant funeral service and buried in a Protestant cathedral. But that is what is now proposed: Leicester Cathedral is a post-reformation Cathedral. Richard himself wanted to be buried in York Minster, and that would be fine, as long as the funeral is a Catholic Requiem Mass. The historian Andrew Roberts thinks not only that “the bones of the last British [sic] monarch to die in battle now must be treated with dignity and venerated properly, as is only right for a former head of state”, but that like monarchs before and after him, Richard III deserves a burial ceremony in accordance with his former status. That means, he says, Westminster Abbey, where 17 English kings and queens are buried. He points out that Richard was anointed and crowned King at a grand, solemn and very well-attended ceremony at Westminster Abbey on July 6 1483, and thinks that he should be buried there with all the proper honours this summer, 530 years later.

I agree with all that. But the funeral service itself must surely be one he would not himself indignantly have repudiated. It must be a Catholic Mass, preferably conducted according to the Sarum Rite: the same rite, that is, accorded to most of the other Kings buried there.

That is the essential. As long as it’s not in Leicester Cathedral (close by the site of his final humiliation), I don’t mind where it happens. But for the last Plantagenet King of England to be buried as though he had been a Protestant would be an utterly offensive travesty of our history, and something English Catholics should simply not accept without vigorous protest: it is surely now time for our bishops, and especially the Archbishop of Westminster, to speak. Will they?

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Re: Richard III

Post  Bunnies on Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:03 pm

Speaking as a non-Catholic, I would be upset if Richard was deprived of a Catholic burial. A Protestant one would have been unthinkable to him and it's only right to respect the religious interests of the deceased.

As to his final resting place, the Ricardian in me would prefer him to be laid to rest in York, where he was most beloved and where he found support through his reign, but pragmatism in me says that it should be wherever is most convenient. To be frank, I doubt he cares too much where his bones are placed now.

Before someone jumps on me for ignoring the practicalities for a Catholic mass, I would just draw the distinction between the soul and the body. The Catholic rites are a matter of religious belief - the location of the burial is (to be frank) a matter of hiding a skeleton.
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:16 pm

Here is a an article which makes some interesting points.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2013/02/some-thoughts-on-richard-iii-history-and-catholicism/

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