Monday, 4 February 2013

Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain

The title of today's blog is of course a mnemonic for remembering the colours of the rainbow. The Richard of York this rhyme revolves around is King Richard III who was killed at the great Battle of Bosworth Field on 22nd August 1485. He was just 32 years old and was King of England for just two years.

After his death he was buried in a Franciscan Friary and his actual burial place was lost over the following 500 years. This Friary eventually became the site of a modern day Leicester City Council car park. Last year during a planned archaeological dig the remains of a skeleton thought to be those of the King were discovered and today it was revealed that DNA testing shows without doubt that that is actually the case.

There is a lot of controversy that surrounds the life of Richard III specifically relating to his ward over his brothers two boys when the King died. Richard made a case to become King himself and was granted that privilege. His two nephews were lodged in the tower and were never seen again. Suggestion pointed to Richard. The hand of Uncle Dick in murder of these two young royals is implied but never proved.

Shakespeare portrays Richard as an ugly hunchback and shows him full of jealousy and ambition. Shakespeare's interpretation of him has certainly affected the way the last King of England to die in battle has been remembered.

It appears that Richard III's body will be interned in Leicester Cathedral next year. Hopefully that will attract the pomp and circumstance that was missing way back in 1485. He was King after all.

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