Interview with Isolde Martyn (Plantagenet Society of Australia)

 

Plantagenet Society of Australia

 

King Richard III is a topic of research societies worldwide and all the interest he can evoke, shows us that his fate still can stir us today.
Our focus in today’s article lies on a research society far away from Richard III’s home country England.

 

Our special guest today is

Ms. Isolde Martyn,

Vice-Chair and Co-founder of the

Plantagenet Society of Australia.

To give you more insight into their work and proceedings, we let Ms. Martyn tell us a bit about the efforts and events of the Plantagenet Society of Australia:

Yes, some of you may think that it’s weird to find a Plantagenet Society in Australia (no relation to its namesake in the UK) but many of the members have English ancestry and love British and European history.

There already exists the world spanning research organization of the Richard III Society. What reason was there for your five founding members in the year 1991, to create a special group with the Plantagenet Society?

Well, for example, in the Richard III Society it wasn’t easy to hold a debate about Richard III and whether he had the Princes murdered because all the members were on the same side. It’s fun with the Plantagenets because there are many different viewpoints and that puts us Ricardian members on our mettle. One member of our Plantagenet Society, a retired judge, felt Richard was guilty on the grounds of ‘duty of care’! Arguing for and against is very healthy.
The other reason for establishing the Plantagenet Society of Australia was to gain an insight into the whole Middle Ages era not just the Yorkist era. Some of the people who have joined the Plantagenets would have found a society specifically dedicated to Richard III too narrow a focus.
I know the members we have in common with the Richard III Society have enjoyed coming to both societies. I should add some of them also attend the Jane Austen Society, too. You see, for those of us in Australia who love and research English history, we can’t explore castles or wander the streets of a historic city just when we need to, but belonging to a historical society brings us in touch with kindred spirits and helps us keep our interest fresh.

What benefits are there for your members?

The wide range of talks and topics offer our members a broad perspective. In this age of spin, too, the discussions on Richard III hold relevance for the present day. Who is telling the story and what have they got to gain? Whose viewpoint can we trust?

Can people, not members of the Plantagenet Society, join in on your events and readings?

Yes, they are most welcome.

Now, of course, we are eager to learn, what events and publications are planned for the near future.

One of our members, John Bryson QC, is researching London Bridge in the fifteenth century and will be presenting a talk later in the year. We are also holding a discussion meeting on whether the Arthurian legend impacted the politics of the Plantagenet kings.

Not only for our Australian readers, but also for us, living in other parts of the world, we hope you will keep us updated with publications and announcements about your work, events and research.

We would be delighted to do so and we hope that Richard Armitage’s project to portray the historical Richard III will be highly successful and attract interest all around the world!

Thank you very much for this interview, Ms. Martyn, and for showing us, what importance King Richard III still has in our days.

 

We have more information about the Richard III Society of Australia here.

 

Contact details:

John McDermott (Membership Secretary)
plantagenets@telstra.com

members.optusnet.com.au/arablts

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