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A guest post by Iris

Re: “Richard the Mourner”:

I tend to agree with layers of unsubstantiated myth building century after century, including Richard’s butchering his way to the crown (4 executions against over 20.000 dead on the field only at Towton to put his brother Edward on the throne, indeed a pale imitation of a larger than life example of real Plantagenet ambition.) As for the issue you are addressing here, as you well remind us all the Crowland continuator, writing some 2 years after Richard’s own “funeral” and under Tudor’s regime, while amply (and I may add with no shred of a contemporary record to substantiate his statements) disserting on Richard’s incestous marriage plans only mentioned Anne was buried at Westminster with no less honors than befitted the interment of a queen.

However, just ONE DAY after Richard’s public refutal of the rumours he had poisoned his wife to marry his niece, the Court minutes of the Mercers’ Company report his speech at St John’s Hospital on 30 March with these words: “Addressing them ‘in a loud and distinct voice’, “he ‘showed his grief and displeasure aforesaid and said it never came into his thought or mind to marry in such manner wise, nor willing nor glad of the death of his queen but as sorry and in heart as heavy as man might be.” Now “‘showed his grief and displeasure” refers to body language, not words and speculations that it might refer to tears over the death of his wife do not seem to be so extraordinary to me. So at least in this occasion there is evidence suggesting some sort of phisical display of sorrow was caught by the audience attending this very unusual official speech. I do not know what others do when they are sad about the death of a close relative, I usually cry, I cannot see why another human being whatever his status should not do the same.

As far as Richard is concerned, this public display would not even have been the first one. The Crowland Chronicler, despite his evident dislike of the man and almost rejoicing on the divine punishment God had sent by taking Richard’s only legitimate son and heir away, also reports how, “on hearing the news of this, at Nottingham, where they were then residing, you might have seen his father and mother in a state almost bordering on madness, by reason of their sudden grief”. Now, again I do not luckily know what losing my only child means, I tend to say it’s generally considered a tragedy and Richard and Anne seem to have reacted accordingly as human beings. Did that involve tears? Possibly. So, is there any record literally using the words “tears” when describing Richard mourning over his departed beloved? No? Do contemporary records make it a far fetched fantasy to speculate on Richard’s tears in such occasions? Again no. Does that fit with the monster image of Tudor’s historians? Hardly. Is this why debunking the tears myth is so important?

If some in turn at this point want to speculate that Richard was a wimp crying at the first difficulty instead of a human being with basic human feelings and corresponding body language and was a good riddance when he was killed at Bosworth field, everyone is entitled to their opinion, I just know for some he can’t seem to win one way or the other

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26 thoughts on “A guest post by Iris

  1. Iris on said:

    This post was originally written as a comment to an old blog article titled “Richard the mourner?” but was “burnt without reading”, or better removed before others could read it in the best Tudor’s tradition. Thanks for sharing it on your blog.

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  2. Jasmine on said:

    Glad you posted this, Iris.

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  3. Very well argued, Iris.

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  4. Amanda on said:

    Well said, Iris. Thank you for posting this.

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  5. Iris on said:

    Thank you

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  6. Kalina on said:

    This is the answer for Susan Higginbotham, isn,t it? You really, Iris, would prefer to see King Richard as a medieval “cry-baby”? Sorry, but medieval queens had only one function: they had to give many heirs for their kings and for their Kingdom. Anne Neville did not perform a duty: she gave birth only one weak son who died. She could exist so as Duchess of Gloucester but not as Queen of England. Realm needed a heir and Richard knew well about it as well as his counsellors. If she did not get died it would be necessarily to divorce King from his wife and replace her for another woman (girl) young and in good health. Richard had to be King in first. Not a spark fallen in love and in black despair. He proposed marriage with Joana of Portugal before Anne,s burial yet. And his public refutal of the rumours he had poisoned his wife to marry his niece was necessary for keeping support of North. It does not mean that he was not attached to Anne but we do not know about it.

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    • Oh, it was her? I was just going to ask which blog this was about. I remember her commenting on someone else’s blog that Richard “sacrificed” the opportunity to get a large legitimate progeny for “power and riches” by marrying Anne (because supposedly he could have seen that the Nevilles had “fertility problems”), and he must have been resentful of Edward’s large family because of that.

      Obviously, Richard hated his earlier choice of wife who was not a successful baby maker, and his main requirement for his next bride was that she were a baby machine, first and foremost. This must be why he was planning to marry a 33-year old woman with no proven record of fertility who was known to have a strong distaste for marriage, and who also was was of senior legitimate Lancastrian descent and was known strong personality, political experience and great reputation as a pious woman who cares for the poor. I guess he must have written to Joanna that, in order to be a satisfactory queen, she would have to pop out a child every year they were married, so he’d have as many children as Edward, and this clearly appealed to her so she said yes…

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      • Kalina on said:

        :)))))) But I hope you do not suggest that Richard was in love with Joana if he even supposed she could not have any children :)) Seriously: she belonged to Lancastrian family and her possible child (if she even died in that moment) would be important in the same way as a child of Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York. And the imaginary, romantic explanation: Richard dreamt of Elizabeth of York and his endeavour to marry Joana was only simulated:)) In any cause: love in our sense did not exist in medieval period, specially among royal persons. What,s a pity…

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      • Kalina on said:

        By the way I recommend this very interesting discussion on the blog of Susan Higginbotham. Arthur Kincaid takes part in it. I hope he is THAT Arthur Kincaid:))

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      • Kalina on said:

        I have just get known: 19th July 1415: Philippa of Lancaster, Queen of Portugal, died. She was grand-grand-mother of Joana:))

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      • Game, set, and match to the Bunny!

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  7. Iris on said:

    I prefer to see Richard as a man. Others prefer to try and make him look as a monster, cleverly cherry picking half quotations from historical sources and censoring civilly expressed comments. I guess truth hurts.

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  8. Iris on said:

    No, of course love and passion did not exit in the Middle Ages nor in any other age before ours, that’s why John of Gaunt kept a steady mistress, sired 4 children with her and married her as soon as his dynastic duties were over, why Edward IV married such a well connected and rich widow like EW, why Edward of Woodstock defied his royal parents to marry his cousin Joan of Kent and clearly wrote to her “tres bien amee coeur chere copaine” only to deceive us, or why Abelard endangered his career for an affair with his female pupil Eloise, and troubadors sang of love only out of sheer imagination. I bow to your expertise in the matter.

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    • Kalina on said:

      I add to your, Iris, examples one more yet: Edward IV had a lot of women, between them Elizabeth Grey (earlier Eleanor Butler, later Jane Shore…). He loved them very much for a long time, had many children with them etc.:)) Sexual passions were always of course, contrary to it people would not be exist today:)) But medieval “love” was different then “love” in XIX c., in example “young Werter,s” one. I suppose that differences were between geographic and cultural circles too as well as between social circles. Today -as I see – the history of human sensuality turned back to days of Middle Ages. Our sense of love is on the same primitive level. It,s a pity…

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      • So this is the hill you want to die on, as it were? The belief that romantic love didn’t exist way back then?

        Oh, keep digging that hole, K.

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  9. By the way, since I know better than to attempt posting anything to Susan Higginbotham’s site as what happened to Iris’ posting would happen to mine, I just wanted to state that the tale implied if not baldly stated by her and her fellow anti-Ricardians about Edward IV allegedly pardoning Richard and Anne for evil heinous crimes is garbage.

    The pardon in question is in the Calendar of Patent Rolls, and is dated July 1475, and has nothing to do with crimes. It’s a general pardon for “all fines, issues, amercements, reliefs, scutages, debts and arrears” due to the king for any lands they might have entered without royal license – in other words, clearing up and securing the title Anne had to her lands, as she as yet didn’t have an heir to secure her claim to them had Richard predeceased her. Which, since he was in France on active service in his brother’s army at the time, was a distinct possibility. In fact, there was a flurry of similar actions being taken by the nobles who were overseas fighting for Edward.

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    • Kalina on said:

      Do you speak about the conditions of the marriage between Richard and Anne? As I know – Richard would stay as an owner of Anne,s properties if they were divorced. Until he would get married again. He was very clever young man I suppose, and providing:)) Not in love very much.

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      • Iris on said:

        The clause only applied if he remarried to Anne, any other consort would have meant loss of any right on her inheritance. Do read the WHOLE act Kalina

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      • Kalina on said:

        Yes, Iris. His next wife would not have any claims and Richard too. Or I am not right?

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      • Ah, so you’re refusing to admit that your guru was wrong about the “crimes” she insinuates that Richard and Anne committed? You’d rather circle back to your belief that there was no romantic love before the Enlightenment period?

        Please explain what all those troubadours and jongleurs were banging on about, then.

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      • I’m trying to see how you managed to get the belief that Richard was doing this for himself rather than Anne out of all that. Are you incapable of letting anything mar your belief that Richard was evil? Really?

        But keep it up, Kalina. The only cause you’re hurting here is your own.

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    • Iris on said:

      Ay Phoenix, nothing like a half quoted record out of context to twist opinions and make one sound like a great expert, a lesson our Kalina has learned from her larger-than-life teacher. Thank you for sharing this information with us instead of casting pearls before swynes who would not be convinced in any case.

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      • My favorite is the whole idea that romantic love didn’t exist before 1800. The apostles of courtly love would be quite surprised to hear that!

        Liked by 1 person

      • My second-favorite belief of K’s is the idea that an action done by Richard to ensure his wife wasn’t reduced to penury in the event of his death is somehow “proof” that he didn’t care about her and her welfare.

        By the bye, the July 1475 action puts paid to the idea that little Edward of Middleham had been born by that time. The action would not have been necessary had he been. In all likelihood, as most serious scholars now think, he came along about a year and a half later.

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      • Iris on said:

        Phoenix, I agree with you, and Charles Ross for once at that, that clues in contemporary records point to 1476 for Edward of Middleham’s birth. We can speculate if he was conceived before or after Richard’s short campaign in France.

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      • I’m also reminded that in 1475, George, Duke of Clarence — who still coveted the Neville-Beauchamp estates — was still very much alive. If Richard had died before George did, without first taking steps to secure Anne’s hold on the estates, George would have tried to take them from her, and quite possibly succeeded. Yet Richard did take those steps.

        A neutral observer with a functioning and logic-drive brain would take this to mean that Richard cared a great deal about (the then-childless) Anne and her welfare. Why, one might even call it… love. Even though she’d yet to pop out an heir.

        All right, that’s it for today from me, I promise. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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