The Mysteries around Richard III

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Researchers from the University of Leicester said at a news conference yesterday that DNA tests on bones unearthed during an archaeological dig match samples taken from two living descendants of Richard III’s sister. A separate skeletal analysis showed similarities between the bones and features Richard was said to have had, including a curved spine.

The man archaeologists uncovered had been killed by an blow to the skull, which fit with the story that Richard was killed during the Battle of Bosworth Field by a sword, axe or halberd. The bones were found under a parking lot, which was once the corner of a chapel in a Greyfriars priory–exactly where a 16th century historian, John Rouse, said they would be. The man had been dumped in an earthen grave–interred without a coffin or shroud.

Richard III was the last English king killed in battle, and also the last of the Plantagenet kings to rule. His defeat by Henry VII began the start of the Tudor dynasty.    

The debate continues to rage if Richard III had his nephews, the young princes, murdered in the Tower in order to usurp the throne. Or, as some defenders of Richard posit, they were murdered after his death and used to blacken Richard’s reputation. His supporters argue that while Richard III was harsh in the ways of his time, he was progressive and enlightened in many ways, including aid to the poor, extending protections to suspected criminals, and easing bans on the printing and sale of books.

A great book on this controversy is “The Daughter of Time,” a 1951 detective novel by Josephine Tey. It features an inspector from Scotland Yard, Alan Grant, who investigates the allegations while recuperating from a broken leg. He comes to the conclusion Richard III was the victim of a frame-up by the victorious Tudors, who saw to it their version of history prevailed. William Shakespeare, of course, helped with that.

I agree.   I think Richard III was innocent.

What do you think?


3 thoughts on “The Mysteries around Richard III

  1. Innocent! The usurpers had to justify their seizure and the treachery of Richard’s “allies.” If you ever have occasion to study the laws he passed during his short reign, you’ll find him incredibly enlightened compared to the Tudors who followed.

    The people of his personal lands mourned him for generations after. That speaks far more for a man than any propaganda written for the usurping family.

    Studies of the battles show it was the treachery of a few families failing to join the battle at the last minute and betraying him that resulted in his loss. Richard was a famous tactician and swordsman despite any physical infirmities. It was from this time on that kings “led” from the rear, rather than by example on the battlefield.

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