History has a weird way of repeating itself….
Following on from the blog above, entitled More C17 coincidences, it occurred to me that there is another strange set of coincidences concerning Richard III (1452-1485), and his predecessor and namesake of the previous century, Richard II (1367-1400). And I do not only mean being killed and usurped.
Both had a queen named Anne (Richard II married Anne of Bohemia, Richard III married Anne Neville), who died before them and left them childless. Richard II never had children, and Richard III’s only legitimate child, a son, predeceased him.
The two kings were very young when their fathers passed away, Richard II about ten when the Black Prince died of devastated health, and Richard III a boy of eight when the Duke of York was executed after defeat in battle.
As if this were not enough to link these tragic Richards, Richard II died a month into his 33rd year, and Richard III was 32. They could, conceivably, have both been 32. Just. Because the exact date of Richard II’s murder is not known.
During these monarchs’ reigns, as Brian Wainwright has pointed out, both had devoted support in the north – in Richard II’s case, Cheshire in the north-west, and in Richard III’s case Yorkshire and the far north of England. Both, as super blue points out below, chose white animals as their personal badge, Richard II the white hart, and Richard III the white boar. Both were also plagued by plots, rebellions and powerful barons, and both were to be killed by a Lancastrian usurper named Henry (Henry IV and Henry VII).
These usurping Henrys had a strong link to the House of Beaufort, an illegitimate line descended from Richard II’s uncle, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Although, it has to be said, Henry IV did not want this baseborn link, and especially wanted it barred from the succession, whereas Henry VII needed the Beauforts and for them to be included in the succession. Theirs was the only small drop of English royal blood that he had, and it gave him his precarious and almost invisible claim to the throne! Except for having killed Richard III through dark and bloody treachery, which, of course, is what killed Richard II as well.
There are bound to be more coincidences linking these kings, but already there is more than enough for me to think that in their case, history repeated itself almost eerily . . .