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Richard III

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Richard III

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

First topic message reminder :

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  Mata Hari on Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:15 pm

Interesting take. I found this piece by author Amy License:
http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/03/new-evidence-was-richard-iii-guilty-murdering-princes-tower

Back in the 1980s, Anne F Sutton identified that a visit Richard made to Canterbury soon after his reign must have taken place early in 1484. Until then, he was busy dealing with Buckingham’s rebellion, establishing his new royal household and preparing for his first parliament. Under the aegis of visiting the port of Sandwich, Richard stayed in the city, being offered £33 6s 8d in gold, contributed by the mayor, councillors and “the better sort of persons of the city,” although he did not accept it. The mayoral accounts indicate how he was catered for, through payments made to a local supplier: John Burton received £4 for “four great fattened beefs” and 66s 8d for “twenty fattened rams.” Payments were also made for carpentry work and for the carriage of furniture and hangings to the royal lodgings.

Traditionally, visiting monarchs would reside in the well-appointed, central Archbishop’s Palace or at St.Augustine’s Abbey, as Henry VIII frequently did and Elizabeth would do in 1573. However, I uncovered a reference in the city accounts to Blene Le Hale, outside the walls, suggests Richard did not stay within the city itself. He may have lodged at Hall Place, which from 1484, was owned by a Thomas Lovell, a possible relative of Richard’s childhood friend Francis. It is more likely, though, that he stayed in “large temporary buildings around a great tent called le Hale” on the edge of Blean forest, elsewhere called the Pavilion on the Blean. This was on the top of the hill still known as “Palmer’s (or pilgrim’s) Cross,” where the modern village of Blean overlaps Upper Harbledown. As a local resident, who studied the history of the area whilst doing my MA, I was aware of the significance of this location along the Canterbury pilgrimage route. Just as the devout did in Walsingham, many pilgrims removed their shoes in Harbledown, or “hobble-down” for the final mile and walked, penitent and barefoot, down the hill to Becket’s shrine.

In Chaucer’s late 14th century work, The Canterbury Tales, the village was also known as “Bobbe-up-and-down,” due to the poor condition of its roads. In the 1483-4 city accounts, payments were listed for repairs to the road in advance of Richard’s visit. If the King undertook the barefoot walk to make offerings at the shrine, he would have been walking in the footsteps of another notorious monarch. Three hundred years earlier, Henry II had taken that route as penance for his role in the death of Thomas Becket. Did Richard make an offering at the sainted Archbishop’s tomb? Did he, like Henry, have a burden on his conscience that he sought to alleviate?

There is no question that Richard made any sort of public penance. He did not moan or flagellate himself in public as the former King had. He was however, a devout man, even by the standards of the time, whose religious conviction is one of the aspects agreed upon by many of those who debate his motives and reputation. Of course he could not have openly bewailed their deaths in public, as this would necessitate confessing his guilt by association. Instead, he may have visited Canterbury Cathedral in order to make his peace with God. No court of law would convict Richard of the boys’ death on the surviving evidence alone; a Channel 4 televised court drama of 1984 put Ricardian and pro-Tudor experts into the witness box but after much discussion, the jury were forced to conceded that the case was not strong enough to convict him.

The truth of the Prince’s fate will probably never be known, even if the bones in the Westminster urn one day confirm that they suffered a violent death. If one of Richard’s servants had carried out the boys’ murders in his name, as I suggest, this may have represented a struggle between the nature of his succession and his religious conviction. He may have benefited, so he thought, from the boy’s deaths but gone on to undertake this atonement for the sake of his own soul. In actuality, though, it was their disappearance that underpinned his downfall and blackened his reputation for centuries after.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:49 pm


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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sun May 05, 2013 11:24 pm

Fascinating article about Richard's skull and teeth. The fact that he ground his teeth does not prove he was a child murderer, only that he was under stress.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/archaeology/10031896/King-Richard-IIIs-teeth-and-jaw-reveal-monarchs-anxious-life-and-violent-death.html To quote:
Dr Rai said the monarch’s teeth and jaw showed signs of rudimentary signs of medieval dentistry while some of the teeth showed signs of decay from a diet rich in carbohydrates and sugar.

Surface loss on a number of back teeth and upper right teeth suggest he also suffered from stress-related bruxism, or teeth grinding.

Whether this was because he was wracked with guilt over the fate of the Princes in the Tower, who he is accused of murdering to assume the throne, may never be clear.

Dr Rai also found evidence that Richard III had undergone dental surgery and had two teeth removed at the hands of barber surgeons.

Tartar was also found on the teeth in the King’s upper jaw.

Dr Rai added: “Analysis of this tartar will enable the identification of the strains and diversity of bacteria which once inhabited Richard’s mouth and provide a better insight into his diet and oral hygiene habits.”

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Thu May 23, 2013 10:06 pm

From The Atlantic:
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/the-uncanny-face-model-they-made-with-richard-iiis-skull/275965/

Let's say, just hypothetically, that you have exhumed what you believe to be the body of an infamous British monarch from beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England. Let's also say, given your knowledge of history and the distinctive deformations of the skeleton, that you are fairly certain the remains actually do belong to the king who was at once an agent of political change and, thanks to a British monarch of a different strain, one of literature's most iconic villains.

Would you then:

a) combine DNA analysis, genealogical research, osteology, and carbon dating to confirm more definitively that the bones do indeed belong to the king in question
b) analyze the body's skull to make a digital reconstruction of the king's head
c) use 3D printing to render that design into a physical model of the king's head
d) send the model on a tour throughout England
e) all of the above

If you are the Richard III Society, your answer would be (e). After the discovery of the remains of Richard III in February, a professor at the Society, Caroline Wilkinson, put the new evidence about the king's body -- a centuries-old smoking gun -- to use. The professor, The Guardian reports, worked with the forensic art team at the University of Dundee to digitally determine what the king's face would have looked like in person (well, "in person"). From there, the team used stereolithography -- yep, 3D printing -- to convert that rendering into a physical model of the king's face. They extrapolated details like hair color and clothing style from portraits painted during Richard's time.

The results of this endeavor are fairly creepily Tussaudian: The twisted-spined king, in the form of a 3D-printed bust, looks essentially like a decapitated wax figure. But it's a high-tech wax figure. The forensics-based model -- which, yes, will now be going on a tour throughout England -- offers a new perspective on an old story: It brings a new dimension, quite literally, to ancient history.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Mata Hari on Sun May 26, 2013 4:07 pm


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Re: Richard III

Post  Mata Hari on Mon May 27, 2013 9:49 pm


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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:08 pm

Here is an article about the coronation of Richard III and Anne Neville. To quote:
http://onceiwasacleverboy.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-coronation-of-king-richard-iii.html
Recently I saw a piece, in connection with the latest television costume drama offering on the period, which laid stress on the fact that this was the first joint coronation of a King and Queen, and implied a significant role for Queen Anne. That I think unlikely, for all that she was the daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker - I sense her two marriages to Edward Prince of Wales (killed at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471) and to Richard Duke of Gloucester were largely beyond her control. It is also worth pointing out that not since 1308, when the newly married King Edward II and Queen Isabella were crowned together, had there been a married King - they were either bachelors, or in the case of King Henry IV, a widower, and hence there was no Queen to crown. There had been previous joint coronations of a king and queen, as in 1154 and 1274 for King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and for King Edward I and Queen Eleanor of Castile, but seperate coronations for Queens consort were not su uncommon, with monarchs marrying during their reigns, or marrying for a second time. Such aseperate coronation has not been held in this country since 1533.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:44 pm

Here are some interesting articles on Richard.

It seems he spoke with a lilt:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/50710181/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.UjENJtjiuZS
Before he became a historical mystery, however, Richard wrote letters, some of which survive. The first and oldest, dating to 1469, comes from before Richard's reign (he ascended the throne in 1483). In the letter, Richard's secretary requests a loan of 100 pounds from Sir John Say, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to help alleviate a disturbance in Yorkshire. To underscore the urgency of the request, Richard put pen to paper himself, writing a two-line addendum begging that Say "fail me not in this time of my great need." [ Gallery: The Search for Richard III ]

A second letter, written by Richard as monarch in 1483, is addressed to the King's Chancellor. Richard III wrote the letter after learning that the Duke of Buckingham was rebelling against him. He requests the Great Seal, a mold for creating wax seals to attach to official state documents. At the end of the document, which is mostly penned by a secretary, Richard III again adds an urgent personal note, asking the chancellor to come in person and promising to "subdue" the Duke's "malice."

Reconstructing a voice
An analysis of Richard III's grammar and spelling in these notes provides tantalizing hints as to how he spoke, said Philip Shaw, a professor of English at the University of Leicester. At the time, people's spellings reflected their local dialects, Shaw said in a statement.

In a university podcast, Shaw read Richard III's notes in a lilting dialect nearly incomprehensible in places to modern ears.
Also, it seems he suffered from parasites: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/richard-iii-roundworms-8C11067779
More here: http://www.medievalists.net/2013/09/04/the-intestinal-parasites-of-king-richard-iii/

By Piers D Mitchell, Hui-Yuan Yeh, Jo Appleby and Richard Buckley

The Lancet – published online (2013)

Introduction: Richard III ruled England from 1483—85 AD, and he died at the battle of Bosworth Field near Leicester. He is one of England’s most well known medieval kings because of his portrayal as a villain in Shakespeare’s play Richard III, in part a consequence of his usurping the throne and the perception of his spinal deformity. His body was buried in the church of the friars minor (Grey Friars) in Leicester. In September, 2012, Richard’s remains were excavated and sediment samples were taken from the sacral area of his pelvis, and control samples from his skull and the soil outside the grave cut. Analysis was done with disaggregation with trisodium phosphate, microsieving with 300, 160, and 20 μm diameter mesh, and then light microscopy.2 The results showed the presence of multiple roundworm eggs (Ascaris lumbricoides) in the sacral sample, where the intestines would have been during life. The eggs were decorticated and dimensions ranged from 55·1—69·8 μm in length to 40·9—48·2 μm in breadth. The control sample from the skull was negative for parasite eggs, and the control sample from outside the grave cut showed only scanty environmental soil contamination with parasite eggs.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:08 pm

Now there's a fight over Richard's tomb.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-24201228

Members of the Richard III Society have withdrawn funding meant for the king's tomb at Leicester Cathedral because they are unhappy with the design.

The cathedral's plans were unveiled last week with the chairman of the society describing them as "inspired".

However, Philippa Langley, who sparked the search for the remains, said it was unfit for a "medieval warrior king".

The cathedral said it understood the group's concerns but "could not be held hostage" for the money.

Members of the society had pledged about £40,000 to go towards the tomb but Ms Langley said some large donors had contacted her to ask for their money back.
'Very difficult'

The remains of the king, who died in battle in 1485, were discovered by archaeologists under a Leicester car park in September 2012.

Church authorities originally wanted a flat slab to mark the burial site but changed the plans because of feedback, revealing the raised tomb on Friday.
Continue reading the main story
A tomb fit for a king?

The tomb will be made from Swaledale fossil limestone
It will feature a rose carved in white limestone
The rose will be surrounded by a band of dark Kilkenny limestone
The band will be carved with the king's name, dates (1452-1485), motto (Loyaulte me Lie 'Loyalty binds Me') and boar badge
The area will be defined by wooden screens

Ms Langley said unhappy international members of the society had contacted her.

"They think it is a very difficult design," she said.

"The feeling is that it is too modern and stylised, and designed with a cathedral in mind - not a medieval warrior king.

"I pretty much agree with them."

She said she hoped the group could continue talks with the cathedral.

On Friday, when the new design was unveiled, the society chairman Dr Phil Stone said it was "beautiful".

"I think it is inspired," he said.

"I was surprised at the depth of the cross but have been reassured by the thinking behind it."
'Not at any price'

Canon Peter Hobson said it appeared some of the "Richard III devotees" were only approaching the design from their own perspective whereas the cathedral had to consider all aspects.

That included planning restrictions placed by the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England as well as keeping it as a place of worship, he said.

"Philippa, and those writing to her, bring just a particular perspective. We understand it but we don't think it can be the last word," he said.

"We would [rather have the support of the Richard III Society] but I suppose if you put it that way I would have to say not at any price."

He said the cathedral had never relied on the offer of money from the society to pay for the tomb .

The reinterment of Richard is further overshadowed by a legal challenge by a small group of distant relatives who want him in York.

The Plantagenet Alliance has secured a judicial review of the licence to keep the bones in Leicester but the Ministry of Justice has said it will challenge that ruling.

Originally planned for May 2014, church officials have confirmed the ceremony to lay Richard to rest will now happen "by the end of August" when the two-year licence expires.

The cathedral's proposals will now go before the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, a national planning body, with a final decision expected in late October.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:01 pm

Banner of Richard III.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2430008/Richard-III-Fragment-500-year-flag-flew-King-killed-Battle-Bosworth.html#ixzz2g5xchFOi


The firm's Charles Hanson said the fragment was part of a far larger flag carried by Sir Robert Harcourt who was standard bearer to Henry Tudor during the fight.

'It's difficult to say exactly what the standard would have looked like but it probably measured at least two foot by four foot and was a large flag that was held aloft for army colleagues to see on a hill - it would have been very much a focal point for a military advancement,' he said.

'It is an incredible find from one of the most important battles ever fought on British soil.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2430008/Richard-III-Fragment-500-year-flag-flew-King-killed-Battle-Bosworth.html#ixzz2gDQTO38c
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:48 pm

Amy Licence on Richard's Queen, Anne Neville:

http://nerdalicious.com.au/history/richard-iiis-elusive-queen-a-look-at-anne-neville-with-amy-licence/

As Warwick’s daughter, Anne knew the destiny to which she had been raised; a dynastic match was always on the cards for her, it was just a question of with whom. There is no reason to suspect that Anne wasn’t ambitious; fourteen year old girls can be very focused and driven as I recall. Much has been made of Anne marrying into the family of her former enemy, Margaret, but there were many alliances made that crossed the boundaries of prior rivalries and hatreds. Anne’s marriage to Edward made her Princess of Wales and, for a period of around nine months, she lived closely with Margaret, when she was planning her return to England and the dramatic events that followed. Anne was a witness to all that. However, I do think it equally likely that Anne learned by negative example from Margaret, that she used her as a model for good and bad qualities. For the decade after marrying Richard, Anne doesn’t seem to have been particularly ambitious and perhaps, having seen Margaret’s troubles, she was content to live quietly. Once there was a chance for the throne though, she may have recalled the ex-Queen’s swift and decisive action, so I think the influence was formative yet selective....

Anne was in a state of limbo after Tewkesbury. She would have been grieving the losses of her husband and father but yet, she was aware that women were not treated in the same way as man during these conflicts. You only need to look at the “punishments” meted out to Margaret Beaufort to see what women could get away with by virtue of their gender. Anne was brought before Edward IV after Tewkesbury but this was her old family friend, whom she had known as a child. Regardless of the way her father had turned against him, Edward was unlikely to react with severity to a young girl in her situation and very quickly, she was released into the custody of her sister. From then, the situation opened up a new chapter for Anne; she could try and make a new marriage and that would change her fortunes again. We really do have to think about women making career marriages then, like Margaret Beaufort did and, as unsentimental as it sounds, widowhood was also an opportunity. It seems likely that Clarence was unwilling to let her remarry but the extent of Isabel’s involvement and her relationship with Anne at that point is not clear by any means

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:52 pm


Anne Neville, Queen of England

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Re: Richard III

Post  MadameRoyale on Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:44 pm

Happy Birthday Richard III!

I have become recently interested in Anne Neville as another great woman of history. I'd love to do some further reading on her! Thanks for the fantastic posts!
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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:31 pm

Thanks! He was born on the feast of the Guardian Angels! Here is a really really interesting article about Richard's DNA.
http://nerdalicious.com.au/history/the-search-for-richard-iiis-dna-looking-for-richard-with-john-ashdown-hill/
Actually, the immediate impetus was nothing to do with Richard III. In 2003 I attended a conference in Belgium, organised by the Centre Européen d’Etudes Bourguignonnes (of which I am a member). The conference was in honour of Richard III’s sister, Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy, and was to commemorate the 500th anniversary of her death. One of the papers presented concerned three female skeletons of about the right age, which had been found in the former church where Margaret had been buried – and the problem of trying to identify them. My Belgian colleagues asked me what they could do and I said ‘DNA’ – so they asked me to try to discover a mitochondrial DNA sequence for Margaret (and all her brothers and sisters).
However, the idea of looking for a DNA sequence for both Richard III and his nephews, the so-called ‘princes in the Tower’ was already in the back of my mind before I went to Belgium, because I thought historians had spent 500 years going over and over the same material about Richard III. To my mind the way forward for all historians is to try to find NEW evidence – of whatever kind. In the case of Richard III, in 2003, DNA evidence would certainly be something new!
And here is an article about Richard's chapel in York:
http://m.yorkpress.co.uk/news/10720820.Archaeologists_find_evidence_of_Richard_III_s_lost_chapel_near_York/?ref=twt&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

ARCHAEOLOGISTS near York believe they have found a chapel built by Richard III to commemorate the Yorkist victory in one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on English soil.

As the row continues over whether the Plantagenet king should be buried in York or Leicester, a discovery in a peaceful field on the outskirts of York has unearthed more of his legacy, ending a 16-year search for the building's remains.

The land was where the Battle of Towton was fought; the bloody clash between the Lancastrians and Yorkists in the War of the Roses. According to accounts at the time, it left 28,000 soldiers dead, causing rivers to have run red with blood and survivors fleeing across “bridges of bodies”.

It led to the Yorkist king Edward being crowned Edward IV.

After his death, his younger brother, Richard III, took to the throne and began building a chapel at Towton, near York, in 1483 to commemorate the battle, which took place 22 years earlier.

Richard III died two years later at the Battle of Bosworth Field, in Leicester and the chapel was never completed. It fell into decline and by the late 1500s had disappeared altogether.

Now archaeologists believe they may have found evidence of his lost chapel.

While filming a new archaeology television series, Medieval Dead, due to air on Yesterday on October 21, archaeologists uncovered what they believed to be the structural remains of the building.

A University of York spokesman for the department stressed the research so far looked positive, but said researchers can’t prove exactly where the chapel was until a larger excavation has taken place.

But lead archaeologist, Tim Sutherland, from the university, said they had found lead and glass from the windows and worked stone which proved archaeological evidence the chapel exists.

Mr Sutherland has been searching for evidence of the chapel since 1997, but while filming the television program they narrowed their search down to a small area, where with the help of a University of York expert in medieval stonemasonry, they found evidence of a sophisticated late 15th century religious building.

Mr Sutherland recently told historyextra magazine that following the Battle of Towton, Edward IV had planned to build a grand memorial chapel where people could pray for the dead.

When Edward died in 1483, his brother, Richard III began to build a commemorative chapel. But when he was killed at Bosworth, it became unpopular amongst the Lancastrian-supporting Tudors and fell into decline.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:44 pm

During the reign of his brother Edward IV, Richard of Gloucester led an invasion into Scotland.
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/09/when-richard-iii-invaded-scotland/

Richard soon realized he would not be able to capture Edinburgh, and brought his forces back to Berwick, where he oversaw the capitulation of town and castle on 24 August 1482 – this would be the last time that Berwick would change hands between England and Scotland. While some contemporary chroniclers and historians have criticized Richard for not trying to take Edinburgh, Cunningham notes that he “was probably making the best of the unexpected political situation in Scotland and was conscious of his inability to keep his army in the field beyond the limited period of service.”

The Yorkist Age: Proceedings of the 2011 Harlaxton SymposiumMoreover Cunningham sees that the invasion of Scotland had other important effects back in England. He adds that the campaign had “demonstrated to the duke and his followers that he possessed and had successfully displayed all the qualities of kingship that were required of an English monarch. That Edward IV – still aged only forty – had failed to lead an army royal into Scotland only placed Gloucester’s abilities in sharper relief. It is thus easier to understand why Gloucester felt confident in his tactics during the period April-July 1483, and why he was able to retain the crown after deposing his nephew.”

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Re: Richard III

Post  Mata Hari on Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:41 pm

Good article on the fate of the princes from Leanda de Lisle: http://www.leandadelisle.com/blog/
VANISHING ACT: Why did the Princes in the Tower disappear? Richard III was accused of their murder in 1483. Yet two years later his rival Henry VII did his best to ensure the princes remained forgotten. Clues in the research for ‘Tudor’ helped me make a breakthrough in solving the riddle at the heart of the mystery. Today I republish a version of my article for BBC History magazine, which will also be posted on my website.

Locked in the Tower in June 1483 with his younger brother, the twelve-year-old Edward V was certain ‘that death was facing him’. Two overthrown kings had died in suspicious circumstances already that century. Yet it was still possible that their uncle, Richard III, would spare them.

The princes were so very young, and if it were accepted they were bastards, as their uncle claimed, they would pose little threat to him. The innocent little Richard Duke of York – no more than eleven years old - remained ‘joyous’, and full of ‘frolics’, even as the last of their servants were dismissed. But the boys were spotted behind the Tower windows less and less often, and by the summer’s end, they had vanished.

It is the fact of their disappearance that lies at the heart of the many conspiracy theories about what happened to the princes. Murder was suspected, but without bodies no one could be certain even that they were dead. A hundred and one different scenarios have been painted since. In the nearest surviving contemporary accounts Richard is accused of ordering their deaths, with the boys either suffocated with their bedding, or drowned, or their arteries cut. There were also theories that one or both of the princes escaped.

In more modern times some came to believe that Richard III was innocent of ordering the children’s deaths and spirited his nephews abroad or to a safe place nearer home, only for them to be killed later by Henry VII, who feared their rival claims to the throne. None of these theories, however, have provided a satisfactory answer to the riddle at the heart of this mystery: the fact they had simply vanished.

If the princes were alive, why did Richard did not say so in October 1483, when the rumours he had had them killed was fuelling a rebellion? If they were dead, why had he not followed earlier examples of royal killings? The bodies of deposed kings were displayed and claims made that they had died of natural causes, so that loyalties could be transferred to the new king.

That the answer to these questions lies in the fifteenth century seems obvious, but it can be hard to stop thinking like twenty-first century detectives and start thinking like contemporaries. To the modern mind, if Richard III was a religious man and a good king, as many believe, then he could not have ordered the deaths of two children. But even good people do bad things when given the right motivation.

In the fifteenth century it was a primary duty of good kingship to ensure peace and national harmony. After his coronation Richard III had continued to employ many of his brother Edward IV’s former servants, but by the end of July 1483 it was already clear that some did not accept that Edward IV’s sons were illegitimate, and judged Richard to be a usurper. The fact the princes remained a focus of opposition gives Richard a strong motive for having them killed – just as his brother had killed the king he had deposed.

The childlike, helpless, Lancastrian Henry VI, was found dead in the Tower in 1471, after over a decade of conflict between the rival royal Houses of Lancaster and York. It was said he was killed by grief and rage over the recent death in battle of his son, but few can have doubted that Edward IV had ordered his murder. Henry VI’s death extirpated the House of Lancaster. Only Henry VI’s half nephew, Henry Tudor, a descendent of John of Gaunt, founder of the Lancastrian House, through his mother’s illegitimate Beaufort line, was left to represent their cause.

Trapped in European exile, Henry Tudor had posed a negligible threat to Edward IV. But Richard was acutely aware there had been an unexpected sequel to Henry VI’s death. The murdered king had been popular acclaimed a saint with rich and poor alike venerating him as an innocent whose troubled life gave him some insight into their own difficulties. Miracles were reported at the site of his modest grave, in Chertsey Abbey, Surrey. A simple peasant claimed that the dead king had even deigned to help him when he had a bean trapped in his ear, with it popping out after he had prayed to the deposed king.

Edward IV had failed to put a halt to the popular cult, and Richard III shared his late brothers anxieties about its ever-growing power. Ithad a strong following in his home city of York, where a statue of ‘Henry the saint’ had been built on the choir screen at York Minster. In 1484 Richard would attempt to take control of the cult with an act of reconciliation, moving Henry VI’s body to St George’s chapel, Windsor. In the meantime there was a high risk that the dead princes too would attract a cult, for in them the religious qualities attached to royalty were combined with the purity of childhood.

In England we have no equivalent today to the shrine at Lourdes in France, visited by thousands of pilgrims every year, looking for healing or spiritual renewal. But we can remember the vast crowds outside Buckingham Palace after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Imagine that feeling and enthusiasm in pilgrims visiting the tombs of two young princes and greatly magnified by the closeness people then felt with the dead. It would have been extremely dangerous to the King who had taken their throne. The vanishing of the princes was for Richard a case of least said, soonest mended, for without a grave there could be no focus for a cult, and without a body or items belonging to the dead placed on display, there would be no relics either.

Nevertheless Richard III needed the princes’ mother, Elizabeth Woodville, and other supporters, to know they were dead in order to forestall plots raised in their name, and under the country under his rule. According to the Tudor historian Polydore Vergil Elizabeth Woodville fainted when she was told her sons had been killed. As she came round, ‘she wept, she cryed out loud, and with lamentable shrieks made all the house ring, she struck her breast, tore and cut her hair’. She also called for vengeance.

Elizabeth Woodville made an agreement with Henry Tudor’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, that he should marry her daughter, Elizabeth of York, and called on Edwardian loyalists to back their cause. The rebellion that followed in October 1483 proved that Richard had failed to restore peace and harmony, and although he defeated these risings, less than two years later, at the battle of Bosworth in August 1485, he was betrayed by part of his own army, and was killed, sword in hand.

The princes were revenged, but it soon became evident that Henry VII was in no hurry to investigate the princes’ fate. It is possible Henry feared such an investigation would draw attention to a role in their fate played by someone close to his cause – most likely Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. The duke, who came from a Lancastrian family, had been a close ally of Richard’s in the overthrow of Edward V, but later turned against Richard. Known as a ‘sore and hard dealing man’, it is possible he had encouraged Richard to have the princes murdered, planning then to see Richard killed and the House of York overthrown. Richard executed Buckingham for treason in November 1483, but Buckingham’s name remained associated at home and aboard with the princes’ disappearance.

What is certain, however, is that Henry, like Richard, had good reasons for wishing to forestall a cult of the princes. Henry’s blood claim to the throne was extremely weak and he was fearful of being seen as a mere king consort to Elizabeth of York. To counter this Henry claimed the throne in his own right, citing divine providence – God’s intervention on earth – as evidence that he was a true king (for only God made kings). A key piece of evidence used in support of this was a story that, a few months before his murder, ‘the saint’, Henry VI, had prophesised Henry Tudor’s reign.

It would not have been wise to allow Yorkist royal saints to compete with the memory of Henry VI, whose cult Henry VII now wished to encourage. Nothing was said therefore in 1485 of the princes’ disappearance, beyond the vague accusation in parliament that autumn that Richard III was guilty of ‘treasons, homicides and murders in shedding of infants blood’. No search was made for their bodies, and like Hamlet’s father, they were given no hatchment over their bones, no noble rite of burial. Indeed even the fate of their souls was, seemingly, abandoned.

I have not found any evidence of endowments set up to pay for prayers for the princes that century. Henry may well have feared the churches where these so called ‘chantries’ might be established would become centres for the kind of cult that he wanted to avoid. But their absence would have struck people as very strange. Praying for the dead was a crucial part of medieval religion. In December 1485, when Henry issued a special charter re-founding his favourite religious order, the Observant Friars, at Greenwich, he noted that offering Masses for the dead was, ‘the greatest work of piety and mercy, for through it souls would be purged’. It was unthinkable not to help the souls of your loved ones pass from purgatory to heaven with prayers and Masses. On the other hand, it was akin to a curse to say a requiem for a living person – you were effectively praying for their death.

The obvious question posed by the lack of public prayers for the princes was, were they still alive? And, as Vergil recalled, in 1491 there appeared in Ireland, as if, ‘raised from the dead one of the sons of King Edward..a youth by the name of Richard’. Henry VII said that the man claiming to be the younger of the Princes in the Tower was, in fact, a Dutchman called Perkin Warbeck, but who could be sure?

Henry was more anxious than ever that the princes be forgotten and when their mother, Elizabeth Woodville, died in June 1492, she was buried ‘privily..without any solemn dirge done for her obit’. It has been suggested that this may reflect her dying wishes to be buried, ‘without pomp’. But Henry VII would also ask to be buried without pomp. He still expected, and got, amongst the most stately funerals of the Middle Ages. Elizabeth Woodville emphatically had not. Much has been made of this in conspiracy theories concerning the princes (especially on the question of whether she believed them to be alive), but Henry’s motives become clear when recalled in their period context.

This was an era of visual symbols and display: kings projected their power and significance in palaces decorated with their badges, in rich clothes and elaborate ceremonies. Elizabeth Woodville, like her sons, was being denied the images of a great funeral with its effigies, banners, and grand ceremonial. This caused negative comment at the time. But with Warbeck’s appearance Henry wanted to avoid any nostalgia for the past glories of the House of York

It was 1497 before Perkin Warbeck was captured. Henry then kept him alive to publicly and repeatedly confess his modest birth until he was executed eventually in 1499. Yet even then Henry continued to fear the power of the vanished Princes. Three years later it was given out that a condemned traitor called Sir James Tyrell had, before his execution, confessed to arranging their murder on Richard’s orders. Henry VIII’s future chancellor, Thomas More, claimed he had been told the murdered boys had been buried at the foot of some stairs in the Tower, but that Richard had asked for their bodies to be re-buried with dignity, and that those involved had subsequently died so their final resting place was unknown - a most convenient outcome for Henry.

While the princes graves remained unmarked the tomb of Henry VI had come to rival the internationally famous tomb of Thomas Becket at Canterbury as a site of mass pilgrimage. Henry ran a campaign to have his half uncle beatified by the Pope, which continued even after his death, ending only with Henry VIII’s break with Rome. The Reformation then brought to a close the cult of saints in England. Our cultural memories of their power faded away, so we overlooked the significance of the cult of Henry VI in the fate of the princes.

In 1674, long after the passing of the Tudors, two skeletons were recovered in the Tower, in a place that resembled More’s description of their first burial place. They were interred at Westminster Abbey, not far from where Henry VII lies. In 1933 they were removed and examined by two doctors. Broken and incomplete, the skeletons were judged to be two children aged between seven and eleven and between eleven and thirteen. The bones, were returned to their urn in the Abbey, and whose ever they are, these little bones remain a testament to the failure of Richard and Henry to bury the princes in eternal obscurity.

Edward V

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Re: Richard III

Post  Mata Hari on Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:10 pm


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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:26 am

I am reading this amazing book by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303309504579185962532163786

The last king of England to die in battle was Richard III, killed at Bosworth Field on Aug. 22, 1485. His body was stripped, carried off to Leicester and buried without ceremony in an unmarked grave. The victorious new king, Henry VII, and his Tudor descendants then followed up with a PR campaign blackening Richard's character and presenting Henry as national savior. The high point of this exercise was Shakespeare's play, in which Richard became a murderous child-killing hunchback.

The bias of the "Tudor myth" has long been evident. But what is the truth? We still don't know, but one of the biggest archaeological surprises ever is the recent rediscovery of Richard's body under a parking lot in Leicester where the Church of the Greyfriars once stood. The identification is fully validated by DNA matched with descendants of his sister Anne, and the skeleton, with its 11 battle wounds, confirms contemporary reports that Richard fought like a hero to the end.

Philippa Langley and Michael Jones's "The King's Grave" tells two remarkable stories in alternating chapters. One is Richard's progress to the battlefield and to his final furious charge. The other details the quest for the king undertaken by Ms. Langley, a passionate amateur Ricardian. It was stoked by a book on the battle itself by her co-author, a historian, but became urgent after a strange experience of her own. Walking round Leicester to see if she could gain any impression of the place where the king lay, she knew, suddenly, "in my innermost being," that she was standing "right on top of his grave."

And she was. Scraping the funds together for a dig and getting the necessary permissions proved nearly impossible. Only the generous response of many members of the Richard III Society enabled a dig to take place at all. But on Aug. 25, 2012, 527 years after he was buried, the bones of Richard were found, right where Ms. Langley had sensed them.

The forensics tell us a good deal. He was not a hunchback, but he had severe scoliosis, a C-shaped spine, which reduced his height to about 5 foot 6. Of his 11 wounds, the fatal one was a halberd blow that took off the back of his skull, though someone made sure with a dagger through the top of the head and a stab through the temple. His body was maltreated after death, which does not reflect well on Henry, who was probably seriously frightened: Richard had cut down Henry's standard-bearer, knocked his giant bodyguard aside, and all but reached Henry himself before the French halberdiers got him.

Questions remain. Did Richard really kill his young nephews, the Princes in the Tower, who represented a threat to his claim to the throne? The authors of "The King's Grave" cannot agree, and write alternative opinions. But one thing is sure. Good man, bad man, he died the way kings were supposed to.

—Tom Shippey

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:37 am

And there is going to be a film with Richard Armitage as Richard:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/hobbit-actor-lines-up-role-as-richard-iii.20080483
Philippa Langley finished a screenplay about the medieval monarch's life last year, months after she led archaeologists to a spot where a skeleton believed to be his was found.

Ms Langley, 50, who is secretary of the Scottish branch of the Richard III Society, came up with the idea of the search during a meeting of the group in February 2009.

Results of tests are to be revealed over the next day or so, conclusively proving whether the remains are indeed those of the last Plantagenet monarch.

Ms Langley contacted Armitage, 41, who plays dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's blockbuster, and says he agreed to take on the role. Armitage has also starred in a number of television series including Spooks, Robin Hood and the Vicar of Dibley.

Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 by the forces of Henry Tudor, effectively ending the 30-year-long War of the Roses.

He is often regarded as an ugly, hunchbacked tyrant, but Langley believes history has judged him unfairly and the popular view of him stems from the Tudors, who were keen to damage his reputation in order to justify his killing.

Her screenplay presents a sympathetic portrait of him, underlining his accomplishments such as the introduction of the presumption of innocence of an accused facing trial.

It also disputes the opinion he was responsible for the murders of his nephews, 12-year-old Edward V and nine-year-old Richard, Duke of York, the so-called Princes in the Tower.

"I had to write the screenplay. Richard III's story has to be out there. I want that story to be told. I had Richard Armitage in mind to play him and he has agreed," said Ms Langley.

"Not only he is a dead ringer for Richard III, but he was born a few miles away from Bosworth field and was named after him."

Ms Langley, who lives in Edinburgh, is now seeking funding for the film.

She has also drawn up plans to give the dead monarch a proper burial, commissioning an artist and historian to design a tomb if, as expected, tests confirm the remains found in a car park in Leicester in August are his.

A photograph given exclusively to The Herald shows part of the tomb. It is decorated with the White Rose, the heraldic sign of Richard's House of York, and the cross of St Cuthbert, one of his most venerated saints.

"I always had two aims," said Ms Langley. "One was to undertake original research into Richard III and to bring the real historical figure to the forefront rather than the Shakespearean and Tudor version of him.

"But the second, which was actually my main aim, was to try and retrieve his remains from an undignified place and give them the reburial that fits a king."

After Richard III was killed, his body was despoiled before being taken to Leicester, where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as the Grey Friars. However, over time the exact whereabouts of the Grey Friars became lost.

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:31 pm

Richard's funeral: A protestant service with Catholic trappings? Too bad he cannot just have a solemn high requiem Mass in the old rite.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24643787
Dr Buckle says that this template for a reburial service is a way of finally giving Richard III a fitting send-off, in a form that would have closely resembled the prayers used when he reburied his own father.

Richard seemed to be a religious man, his devotional books have survived with his own notes in the margin. And Dr Buckle believes he would have expected such a religious service.

"We know Richard III had a very meagre night-time burial, probably just a basic requiem. He was covered in wounds, probably not embalmed.

"There may have been a shroud, but there is no trace of it, or he may have been buried naked, as it shows how rushed this was."

His body was treated with little dignity after his defeat in battle and his burial place was neglected for many centuries.

"This will give him the funeral he never had," she says.

"And the focus should be on how he is buried, not just where."

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:54 pm

Article about the rumors concerning Richard III and his niece, Elizabeth of York.

http://www.royalcentral.co.uk/blogs/history/the-real-white-queen-a-defence-of-king-richard-iii-13421#.UpKbTNi-X1U
Though out of chronological order, we will look first at the issue surrounding Elizabeth of York, since The Real White Queen has brought it once more to the fore. When Richard’s wife died on 16th March 1485, a rumour arose that he intended to marry his niece, Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. Elizabeth also happened to be the woman Henry Tudor had vowed to marry should he take the throne, a clear play for the support of disaffected Edwardian Yorkists. Apparently on the advice of Sir Richard Ratcliffe and Sir William Catesby, Richard issued a public declaration that he did not intend to marry his niece. He spoke before the mayor and aldermen of London and wrote to others of his disgust at the malicious rumour. Public denial does little to establish guilt or innocence, yet this is odd for a man silent about the fate of his nephews.

A guilty conscience? Perhaps. Yet it ignores the fact that Richard opened negotiations to marry Joana of Portugal, an arrangement that was to include Elizabeth’s marriage into the Portuguese royal family to the king’s cousin Manuel, Duke of Beja at the same time. This was not simply a random, convenient match. Richard was attempting to play Henry at his own game. Philippa, a daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and sister of Henry IV, the first Lancastrian king, had married into the Portuguese royal family and the blood of Lancaster flowed strongly there. Stronger and more legitimately than it did in the veins of Henry Tudor. Richard was seeking to attract Lancastrian support just as Henry looked to draw disaffected Yorkists to his cause by unifying the feuding Houses.
- See more at: http://www.royalcentral.co.uk/blogs/history/the-real-white-queen-a-defence-of-king-richard-iii-13421#.UpKbTNi-X1U
Here are some articles about Aneurin Barnard, the young Welsh actor who gave a complex and multilayered portrayal of Richard in The White Queen. It seems he did his own stunts. Also, after the King's body was found, Mr. Barnard studied the skull and made certain that in the filming of the battle Bosworth scene he was struck in the exact places that Richard was.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2355896/How-Richard-IIIs-skeleton-spooked-Aneurin-Barnard-man-playing-The-White-Queen.html

http://metro.co.uk/2013/07/19/actor-thinks-richard-iii-gets-a-raw-deal-3888865/

http://www.whatsontv.co.uk/tv-news/news/the-white-queens-aneurin-richard-iii-wasnt-that-bad


Aneurin Barnard as Richard III

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:40 pm

A recap of THE WHITE QUEEN from WSJ: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/10/19/the-white-queen-season-finale-tv-recap/

There was an earlier novel called The White Queen but it was about Anne Neville:
http://theshakespeareblog.com/2013/08/shakespeare-and-the-white-queen-using-creative-license/

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:39 am


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Re: Richard III

Post  princess garnet on Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:19 pm

I'm looking forward to reading Alison Weir's forthcoming biography on Elizabeth of York.

Elena, thanks for featuring that article on your blog the other day! (Link below for those missed it)  Very Happy 
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/alison-weir-on-elizabeth-of-york--the-diana-of-the-tudor-dynasty-8942579.html

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Re: Richard III

Post  Elena on Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:22 pm

You are most welcome and thank you for adding the link. I want to read Weir's book as well as the new one by Amy Licence.I love you 

http://authorherstorianparent.blogspot.com/2013/02/elizabeth-of-york-forthcoming-biography.html

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