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Good King Richard – A Reply to Shakespeare

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A member of the Richard III Society, Ian Dixon Potter who is a playwright has written a new theatre play about Richard III which opens in London on December the 8th.

<<‘Good King Richard’ is the culmination of many months of research going back to contemporary sources and presents a revised view of Richard III, the events which propelled him onto the throne of England and two years later, caused his downfall.

This play proposes answers to a number of historical questions: What happened to the ‘Princes in the Tower’? What was the cause of the sudden death of Edward IV at only 41? Why did he order the execution of his own brother George, The Duke of Clarence? What was at the root of his increasingly bitter estrangement from his wife Queen Elizabeth? Why did Lord Hastings and The Duke of Buckingham turn against Richard? And what was the source of the various negative rumours that were spread about Richard, including his deformity, his murder of the Princes and his intended incestuous marriage to his niece, Elizabeth of York.

What emerges is a tale of deceit, treachery and murder but not at the hand of Richard who emerges as a noble, just and honourable figure, a man of great intelligence and deep principle. The real villains of the piece are two women united in their determination to see the throne of England occupied by their sons, Edward V and Henry VII and entirely careless of how much innocent blood is spilled to that end.

Good King Richard will be performed at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington from 8th to 20th December. The times of the performances will appear on the theatre website a few weeks before the opening night.>>

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21 thoughts on “Good King Richard – A Reply to Shakespeare

  1. ” What was at the root of his increasingly bitter estrangement from his wife Queen Elizabeth”

    Is there any evidence that there was any estrangement between Edward IV and Elizabeth?

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    • Kalina on said:

      Why Edward made his brother Richard Lord Protector of Realm? If it was with agreement of his wife why she did not send the message to him? Contrary – she feared him, tried to make his son King of England without any collaboration with him. She knew that Richard accused her for the death of George Clarence. I am sure that Edward IV knew earlier very well about their hostility and nevertheless or just for it he decided to commit a power to Richard,s care.

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      • There was nothing unusual in Richard being appointed Lord Protector and Defender of the Realm during Edward’s minority – it would have been very unusual if he hadn’t been. It was the custom in England to appoint a king’s senior male relative, usual from the royal dynasty, as the Lord Protector during his minority or illness: during the minority of Henry VI, Lord Protectors were his paternal uncles, John, Duke of Bedford and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (the was Lord Protector in England in his elder brother’s absence, since Bedford was regent of France). None of Henry’s uncles were alive when he was an adult and experienced bouts of mental illness, and he had no first cousins, but Richard, Duke of York (who was his senior male relative from the royal dynasty) was appointed Lord Protector. During the minority of Edward VI, the Lord Protector was his maternal uncle Edward Seymour – Edward VI had no living uncles or cousins on his father’s side in England.

        In addition to this, Richard was the obvious choice, as a proven military commander and administrator in the north. Not to mention the unpopularity of the Woodvilles and the strong anti-Woodville faction at court (Hastings, for one, was their big rival).

        Wanting Richard to be Lord Protector speaks to his trust in Richard and his abilities and was also in accordance with tradition, but it doesn’t require Edward to hate Elizabeth. Nor would the king have been expected to ask her advice and consent on the matter.

        I doubt that Edward expected Elizabeth and Richard to come into such a conflict after his death. If he had expected that, then entrusting her brother fully with the upbringing of his eldest son and heir would have been a very bad idea. Granted, that was a decision made years before, but if he had anticipated the extent of the conflict, then he should have realized what a disaster in the making it would be to give Richard the title of Lord Protector while having a young king completely under the influence of his mother’s family. More likely, he thought they would cooperate, even if there was no love lost between them.

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      • Kalina on said:

        Edward IV in his last hour made his family and friends (like Hastings) to reconcile one with other. He had to know that the conflict after his death was inevitable.

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      • Kalina on said:

        @timetravellingbunny

        It was really impossible to make Elizabeth Woodville the regent for her son? Without the appointment anybody to Lord Protector?

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      • That just wasn’t done in England. The Lord Protector and Defender of the Realm was the under-age or infirm King’s nearest adult male relative – see Carson’s book or our recent post This appointment was made n Edward’s codicil and not disputed by anyone at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kalina on said:

        @superblue

        What about the sickness of Henry VI? His nearest relative was Edmund Duke of Somerset or I am wrong. But that was Richard of York who was appointed Protector of Realm despite the action of Margaret of Anjou. And he lost this honour very fast. Was it for memory for Richard that nothing is for ever and nothing has to be by law?

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      • RoY (the senior member of the royal family at the time) was protector twice, in 1454-5 and 1455-6, while the king was incapacitated; he lost the position (not unexpectedly) on Henry’s recovery each time.

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      • Edmund of Somerset was not closely, if at all, paternally related to Henry VI. His nearest paternal relative was Cardinal Beaufort, who dsp in 1447.

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      • @Kalina: Actually, Henry’s nearest male relative was his half brother Jasper Tudor (who was not from the royal line of England at all). But Richard of York was the senior male from the royal line.

        With regard to this, it should be kept in mind that a Lord Protector and Defender of the Realm was supposed to govern and protect the country, rather than take care of and babysit/nurse the king. Therefore “who is the closest relative” was not the deciding factor.

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      • Almost right – except that I should have emphasised that this excluded illegitimate half-brothers, depending on their paternity or that of the earlier Earl of Somerset.

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      • Regardless of paternity, Jasper Tudor was not from the royal line of England and wasn’t going to ever be considered as the first (or second etc.) choice. Just like nobody thought Thomas Grey should be Lord Protector during the minority of Edward V.

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    • Ed on said:

      No. Except from lady novelists 🙂

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  2. I’m not sure – perhaps this is assumed because of his known affection for Elizabeth ‘Jane’ Shore.

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    • Edward was a guy who always slept around and didn’t seem capable of faithfulness. Having a long-term mistress that he had affection for doesn’t necessarily mean that there was any bitter estrangement between him and his wife.

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  3. No, I agree – I am quoting the blurb for the play, it isn’t my own opinion. It is a work of fiction, you know?! 🙂

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    • Of course, but this was mentioned as one of the “historical questions”, and nothing else in that paragraph was speculative (Edward IV died suddenly, Edward executed his brother George, Hastings and Buckingham turned against Richard, we don’t know what happened to the ‘Princes in the Tower’, there were/are many negative rumors about Richard…), so it seemed to be mentioned as one of the historical facts.

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      • I repeat – that is the blurb from the playwright, which I simply quoted – you must ask him if you want to query it!

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  4. hoodedman1 on said:

    He did remove EW as one of the executors of his will, didn’t he? I’ve heard some say they think this might have showed that things had cooled between them

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Edward’s legendary promiscuity might have been more contained by preexisting and long term relationships as he became middle aged. He might still have a roving eye but he traveled about less in search of new trysts. He almost settled into domesticity,

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