The Role of a King or Why Richard III is so Intriguing

 

I agree with historian Dr. Ashdown-Hill (Interview / some of his research publications) that the question ‘if’ King Richard III killed his nephews cannot be the main focus of historical research, as it is not even certain that they were indeed killed.
Furthermore, there are quite some other parties in the political scenery of the time occupying themselves with intrigues and plots. Most of them had as much or more reason to get rid of the heirs of King Edward IV’s or at least abduct them to get them under their own custody.

 

Cecily Neville, Duchess of York

Cecily Neville, Duchess of York (Source: Wikimedia.org)

  • King Richard III’s mother, Cecily Neville, who did not like her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Woodville and plotted against her eldest living son Edward IV during his reign and afterwards, to beware a succession of his ‘illegitimate’ children. She even went so far as to declare Edward IV himself as illegitimate, not because of the ‘adultery’ she sometimes was accused of, but because of his being born in Rouen. Some sources even go so far as to see her as the leading instigator of the discovery of the first marriage of King Edward IV, leading to the succession of King Richard III.
  • Henry Tudor, the known Lancastrian opponent and enemy of Richard III, who wanted to prevent a Yorkist ascension to the throne and might have wanted a pawn against King Richard III.
  • Nobles from the ‘South’, observing that Richard III supported Northerners in offices formerly entirely held by representatives of the South.
  • Richard III’s sister-in-law, Elizabeth Woodville and her large family, fearing that King Richard III might not adequately support their now ‘illegitimate’ members of the royal family.
  • Members of the administration, guards, nobility, etc. , trying to get a reward for their ‘helping’ in the matter.
  • Illnesses, as only 1 out of 5 children survived into adulthood during that time. For boys the chances to survive were even slightly less than for girls. If one remembers, that even appendicitis was a likely cause to die, the likeliness that the princes died in the Tower must remain a valid option as well, though there is the fact of a missing burial.
  • Even Richard III could have transferred or hidden the princes himself to get them out of the shooting line of all these intrigues around them and to leave them space to grow up.

You see there were so many parties with a large interest in getting rid of the princes, that it would have been a wonder if Richard III got to them first and that without leaving a clear trail of his deed.

 

What one can accuse Richard III of is, that he did not take better care of them or provide for them so that they could be abducted, murdered or have died under his custody. But as not even the cause of their disappearance is clear, to cast accusations is a bit premature.

 

As it is, King Richard III could not even prevent the death of his own son. Interesting in my opinion would be, what his own son died of and if that illness could have spread. On the continent for example, ‘Schweißfieber’ spread and caused many deaths at that time.

 

What also is an interesting aspect in the matter is, why King Richard III’s wife did not get another child. Was it because of a hard delivery of her first child or other causes? This indeed makes her a likely recipient of the jewellery found near Middleham castle. Maria Grazia (interview with her here) just published a lovely article about it on her blog Fly High!

 

But enough of speculation for now. King Richard III suffered enough speculation, during his lifetime and certainly afterwards.

Though, one of the fascinating aspects of his story for me is, that it leaves so much to speculate and still, in all of this, one cannot determine his character entirely.

 


 

Preview:

King Richard Armitage currently prepares an interview with an author, who researched his family history and found an interesting story taking place during King Richard’s time. We hope to present this article to you next Wednesday.

 

5 Responses to The Role of a King or Why Richard III is so Intriguing

  • Maria Grazia says:

    The mystery of Princes in the Tower will never be totally solved. Too many years have passed. At least, doubts still remain and Richard III is no more considered the only possible culprit. I tend to believe the young princes were still alive when their uncle died at Bosworth.
    I can’t wait to read the author interview next week!

    • CDoart says:

      Thank you very much, Maria Grazia.
      King Richard III is so fanscinating and the mysteries surrounding him just add to this fascination for me.

  • Maria Grazia says:

    By the way, many thanks for linking to my blog and mentioning my interview!

  • Riikka says:

    Villain or not we will still love him with all his faults and virtues…

    • CDoart says:

      Yes, I fully agree with you, Riikka. After finishing the article, I even came up with some more parties who had reason to interfere.

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October 4, 2018

The battle for Bosworth field: Historians react to decision to build on battlefield where Richard III died (by Rachel Dinning, BBC History Extra)


May 23, 2018

Richard III find historian John Ashdown-Hill dies (BBC News)


April 9, 2018

The secret intimacies of Edward IV: multiple marriages and a same-sex affair? (by Dr. John Ashdown-Hill, History Extra)


October 24, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: “Sleepwalker” star Richard Armitage is Living the Dream (by Izumi Hasegawa, What’s Up Hollywood)


September 12, 2017

Was Richard III a loyal brother or murderous tyrant? 60 seconds with Chris Skidmore (by Rachel Dinning, History Extra)


February 24, 2017

Richard III’s Prayer Book Goes Online … and Is That a Personal Note? (by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science)


December 1, 2016

Love, Love, Love’s Richard Armitage on Dancing Like a Teenager Backstage, His Royal Bucket List Role & More (by Broadway.com Staff, The Broadway Channel)


March 23, 2016

Richard III’s Innocence Found in Sterlised Room (by Shom Biswas, The New Indian Express)


August 21, 2015

The Princes in the Tower: Will the ultimate cold case finally be solved after more than 500 years? (by Paul Gallagher, The Independent)


August 19, 2015

Battle of Bosworth re-enactment this weekend (Leicester Mercury)


 

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