History : Oct-Nov 2015
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 9 RICHARD III was a good general and personally fought bravely at Bosworth, living up to the ideal of medieval kingship. THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH IN 1485 Henry Tudor invaded England with an army of well- trained mercenaries. Richard III fought bravely, but the tide of battle turned against him when the forces of Lord Stanley defec- ted to Henry Tudor. Richard was defeated and killed, his body lost for over 500 years. A HELMET TYPICAL OF THOSE WORN BY ENGLISH KNIGHTS IN THE TIME OF RICHARD III However Clarence, Rivers, Grey, Vaughan, and Buckingham were not murdered, they were executed—a legal process. In fact Clarence was executed by Edward IV, whereas Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan were all executed by the Earl of Northumberland. Richard III did order the execution of Hastings and Bucking- ham, but on the grounds that they had conspired against him. Similar action by other rulers, including Henry VII, was viewed as a sign of strong kingship. As for the others, Edward of Westminster was actually killed in battle, and Anne Neville almost certainly died of natural causes. Mystery still shrouds the fate of the brothers Richard and Edward, but there is no hard evidence they were mur- dered, let alone murdered by Richard III. It’s also unclear why, if Richard had so few scruples about killing, he allowed dangerous enemies to live. Doctor John Morton had plotted with Hastings in 1483, but was imprisoned rather than ex- ecuted. Lady Stanley had been involved in a rebellion and Lord Stanley’s loyalty was questionable, not least because Henry Tudor was his stepson. But in June 1485, with Henry Tudor poised to fight for the crown, Richard granted Lord Stan- ley’s request to retire from court. It was a decision that ultimately led to the king’s defeat at Bosworth, where Stanley’s support of Henry Tudor proved decisive. Another story often told to discredit Richard’s character is that he planned to marry, incestuously, his niece, Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. The letter on which this accusation is based has not survived, but rumors to this effect were circulating in 1485, after the death of Anne Neville. Richard was concerned about the accusations of incest and issued firm denials. That is not surprising, since the crown had been offered to him on the basis that Edward IV’s children were il- legitimate, including Elizabeth of York. In fact, Richard III did intend to re- marry in 1485, but his chosen bride was the Portuguese princess Joana. More- over, his diplomats were also arranging a marriage between Elizabeth of York and a minor Portuguese royal to prevent her marrying Henry Tudor—a marriage Henry subsequently made in 1486 to strengthen his claim to the crown he won at Bosworth. His was an absolute victory, not only killing the king but his reputation as well. — John Ashdown-Hill BRIDGEMAN/ACIBRIDGEMAN/ACI THIS ARTICLE WAS EXCERPTED FROM THE MYTHOLOGY OF RICHARD III (AMBERLEY PUBLISHING) BY ASHDOWN-HILL . HE WAS MADE A MEMBER OF THE MOST EXCELLENT ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE FOR CONTRIBUTING TO RICHARD III’S DISCOVERY.
Dec 2015-Jan 2016