• Richard III gets a bad rap
    February 09,2013
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    I have an opposing viewpoint.

    Many years ago when I read Josephine Tey’s “The Daughter of Time.” I was convinced that Richard III had gotten a very bad rap. Nothing I have read since has changed my mind. Still, it is a fascinating tale. And what could be more exciting than the discovery and identification of his bones, his scoliosis-twisted bones.

    More than anything the man has been the object of a magnificent scourging by William Shakespeare. “Now is the winter of our discontent turned summer.” He begins on an upbeat note to be dragged down into the depths of despair and through it all commits mayhem after mayhem. But — did he really?

    History, as we all know, is written by the victors. In this case, the Tudors, notably Henry VII, father of Henry VIII, father of Elizabeth. And Shakespeare, after all, was writing for Elizabeth. And as it so happens so were the other historians who addressed the issue, the first being Sir Thomas More who was only 8 at the time Richard was killed at Bosworth in 1485.

    Sir Thomas More skewed the story to benefit the Tudors because, of course, that was the way the story was being told, and then his history was skewed still further by Bishop Morton whose sole interest was to promote the Tudors.

    And then I read Thomas Costain’s masterful four volume “History of the Plantagenets,” in the last volume of which he deals with Richard III in a most impartial manner. Point by point he addresses all the claims against Richard and finds him innocent. Including the princes in the tower. This is the story I believe.


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