The portrait at Hever Castle is more like Henry VI than Richard III….

Richard III, English School, Late 16th century © Hever Castle & Gardens

I’ve seen this (awful!) portrait of Richard before. It just doesn’t look like him, more one of the invented Tudor versions of him, i.e. monstrous and evil, or weak and terrified of all things Tudor. This one fits the ‘weak and terrified’ mould, and if it were listed as a portrait of Henry VI, I’d go along with it.

Hever has a portrait of the latter:-

King Henry VI. © Hever Castle & Gardens

Poor Richard was a handsome young man, but posterity has been very unkind to him. Courtesy of the Tudors, More, Shakespeare et al.

I have other bones to pick with the above article about the Hever portraits. They aren’t Tudor portraits, unless it means they were painted during that era. Henry IV, Henry V, Edward IV and Richard III weren’t Tudor. Far from it. Nor did Richard ‘usher in the Tudor dynasty’. Usher it in? I doubt very much if that was his purpose at Bosworth, where he was murdered by a treacherous conspiracy in favour of the usurping nonentity Henry Tudor, who didn’t even have the courage to fight at the battle, but stayed out of sight behind his guards. He was a coward, and remained a coward throughout his reign.

And the article repeats the old chestnut about Richard’s ascent to the throne being regarded as shocking and extraordinary. Richard’s ‘defects of person and character’ are cited. Eh? He had no defects of character, except perhaps that he was too lenient with his enemies, and I doubt very much if many people knew about his scoliosis.

“….Whatever your view on him, Richard’s defects of person and character are not a later, Tudor, invention as some of his later 20th-century supporters have claimed. His seizure of the throne was regarded as so shocking and extraordinary at the time that in December 1483 an Italian, Dominico Mancini, wrote an account of it, saying ‘but how he may afterwards rule, and yet rules I have not sufficiently learnt because directly after … I left England for France.’….”

and

“….How Richard III afterwards ruled – in particular the murder/disappearance of his nephews – was so contentious and divisive in England that after a mere two years on the throne, he lost the Battle of Bosworth to the exiled Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond who some historians believe had the weakest claim to the throne in English history….”

Well, the last ten words are true! The rest is a load of cobblers.

Oh, and for good measure there are TWO portraits of the appalling tyrant Henry VIII. So I guess Hever is proud only of its Tudor connections. The fact that the building dates from the 13th Century, well before that House, is beside the point.

4 comments

  1. I don’t often get the chance to say ‘ could do better than that ,myself’ but this is one of them

    Like

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