Sunday, March 3, 2013

Richard III and One Rather Extreme Way of Saving A Parking Spot

By Karen V. Wasylowski

That is one curved spine, let me tell you.  

Well, by now everyone within earshot of a television or a computer knows that the remains of King Richard III have been a car park in Leicester, England, just a few miles from where he fell in battle, the last King of England to do so.  Staring into the unearthed grave, Philippa Langley, the Richard III screenplay writer who had led the search, had devoted years to it, still had her doubts.  “It was really odd,” she explained during the media storm. “When they first started exhuming him and pulled out the legs and arms he looked to have no battle wounds and he seemed to be quite tall. I’m 5ft 9in and you could see his leg bone was pretty much the same length as mine. I thought, ‘Maybe this isn’t him.’ Then the oesteologist said, ‘This just looks like a well nourished friar. It’s not him.’”

Philippa became immediately sick.

Well, a lot the oesteologist knew.  Richard III had spent centuries in an ignominious, unmarked grave - probably racking up astronomical parking fees to boot, making him, yet again, a subject of notoriety.  His reputation in tatters anyway; this was just icing on the cake.

But what of the real Richard III?  He is most famous for two things - his physical deformities and his bloody grab for the throne.  Let's take a closer look.  First, was he a hunchback as Shakespeare said?  Did he limp, have a withered arm, look like a cross between Rowan Atkinson and Farquhar of Shrek?  When you see his skeleton you see the truth.  Neither scoliosis nor a sideways-curved spine equates to a hunchback, his arms are straight and true, his legs...well, they are a bit dicey.  Then, through forensic reconstruction we have a semblance of what his face looked like...not too shabby.  No where near Richard Armitage standards, surely, but I wouldn't turn down his call.

Second, Richard III is notorious for the possible murders of his nephews, the little matter of the Princes in the Tower – the two young sons of his late brother – King Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, then 12 and 9, the rightful heirs to the throne.  Even with the bloody history associated to the crown this has gone down in history as the absolute worst.  But...did he do it?  He had a dodgy reputation as it was, would he be daffy enough to kill the children, then let the rumors run rampant?   Loyaulté me Lie (Loyalty Binds Me), was Richard's personal motto, and he was known to be a pious man, was godfather to the younger boy. He took a solemn oath to protect them, and, unlike now, oath's meant something back then.

Was it Henry Tudor then, who killed the boys?

In truth, the biggest threat to Richard's reign was Henry Tudor, the Lancastrian heir.  He had been plotting to take it from Richard since April of that year.  His mother, Margaret Beaufort Stanley, Countess of Richmond, wanted nothing more than to remove Richard from the throne and replace him with her beloved son.  Richard murdering the Princes made little sense; it would by no means secure him the throne. In order to do that he would have to eliminate Henry Tudor, who remained in exile in Brittany, while his mother worked to foment a rebellion to gain him the crown of England.

So, perhaps Richard III was not the monster Shakespeare portrayed. I mean, really - the British press is always exaggerating things...



Karen V. Wasylowski is the author of two very funny sequels (if I do say so myself) to

Darcy and Fitzwilliam


Sons and Daughters

1 comment:

  1. Fun post, Karen! I'm sold on your argument, but then again, I already am pro Richard.

    Now, that would be something- Jimmy Hoffa in Bath. LOL


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