Well, this article starts off as follows:-
“….WHEN King Edward IV died in April 1483, his brother Richard of Gloucester was named Lord Protector of Edward’s son, the 12-year-old Edward V….
“….But before Edward could be crowned, Richard arranged for his parents’ marriage to be declared invalid, making the Princes illegitimate and ineligible for the throne, which Richard claimed for himself….”
Right. For Richard it was clearly a casual matter of picking up his phone and calling his lawyers! But no! Half a tick! The marriage was invalid! It was bigamous because naughty Edward had got himself another wife first. Tut, tut. Richard, of course, on learning of this, should have suppressed the information and let his illegitimate nephew take the throne. Why, pray? Richard was the legitimate heir after Edward, and after Richard was his own son, Edward of Middleham! Was Richard expected to throw away his child’s birthright? Well, if you listen to the usual old traditionalist tosh, you’ll know that that was precisely what he was supposed to do. More, he was supposed to hurl himself onto the blazing funeral pyre the Woodvilles had prepared.
Would you stand idly by while your brother’s bastard son stole what was rightfully yours? No, of course you wouldn’t! Especially when that brother had deliberately concealed the truth. The bigamy was no forgotten little indiscretion, it was an intentionally fake marriage because Edward wanted to get into Elizabeth Woodville‘s bed! Edward always knew his children by her were illegitimate and died fully intending one of them to take the throne. And by so doing he robbed the only brother who had remained staunchly faithful and could be relied upon in all circumstances. A monumental slap in the face if ever there was one. Poor Richard.
And one important thing. It has never been proved that Richard was responsible for the murders of his nephews. In fact, it’s never even been proved that they were murdered by anyone! What happened to them is a mystery, and if Richard knew their whereabouts, the secret died with him at Bosworth. But I certainly don’t think he did away with them. It doesn’t seem in keeping with what we know of his character, and they were illegitimate anyway and thus precluded from sitting on the throne.
Anyway, that tirade aside, the article is entitled The Four Rebels of Southampton. I confess I was curious to know the identities of the Southampton Four. They were William Overey, Roger Kelsale, John Fesaunt and Walter Watkin William. Well, actually, most of them don’t really matter in the great scheme of things, and their greatest achievements would seem to have by some miracle “survived” Richard’s reign. Richard actually punished very few – a few more and he might have survived Bosworth! These four men of Southampton managed to sit fences. Nothing particularly heroic.
Oh, and in 1483 it was a gale that prevented Henry Tudor from landing. Really? No! The weather had nothing to do with it, he just realised he was being lured ashore by Richard’s men, and off he scuttled! And the same terrible storm prevented Buckingham from crossing the Severn. No! It was a period of constant rain, not one particular storm. As for Buckingham’s reasons for turning on Richard…we’ll never know, so stating categorically that it was one thing or another is futile. Suffice it that although Richard befriended and rewarded him, he turned traitor and paid the price. But no, I was forgetting, it was Richard’s nasty, vindictive fault that the Judas earl ended up on a Salisbury scaffold. That Buckingham betrayed the true king is somehow brushed aside.
To read more about medieval Southampton, as distinct from the above rebels, go here, from which the illustration at the top of this page is taken.