Ricardians often bemoan the repeated myths about Richard’s wickedness and cruelty. And with good reason. In spite of the fact that he did what he could to better the lot of women, he is accused of bullying the poor old (treacherous) Countess of Oxford because she happened to be financing her Lancastrian son who was abroad sucking up to Henry Tudor. He was a traitor. She deserved to be kept in line, but Richard didn’t lock her up, starve her or bully her in general. That’s a Tudor fib.
Another Tudor fallacy that’s still churned out today is that he was pitiless to dear Margaret Beaufort when she was caught conspiring against him. Here is an extract from Medieval Women: Social History Of Women In England 450-1500 (Women in History) by Henrietta Leyser. As follows:-
“….Margaret and Henry [Tudor] emerged from the Wars of the Roses in triumph but it could well have been otherwise. Widows who took their sons’ part in any kind of intrigue ran the risk of ending up destitute and in prison, a fate with Margaret had brought on herself for the part she had played n the conspiracy against Richard III in 1483…”
R-i-g-h-t…. Let’s read that carefully. The suggestion is that Richard purloined her enormous wealth and shoved her in some deep, dark dungeon or other. Yes? In fact he placed her property in the hands of her husband, who was supposed to keep her under more control. Of course, that husband was Sir Thomas Stanley, of whom no more need be said. But the point is that Richard was very lenient toward her. If he’d been the monster of myth, he’d have been far better off! She was a reptile, married to another reptile, and if she’d wrung her hands and shed copious tears, she’d have surpassed even the most accomplilshed crocodile.
Richard III did NOT punish women. Such a thing went against his principles. He didn’t even punish Elizabeth Woodville. She conspired against him, meaning him to be removed from the scene terminally , and when the plot fell through she rushed into (exceedingly comfortable) sanctuary at Westminster Abbey, taking crown treasure with her. She even knocked down an abbey wall to drag it all inside! She certainly wasn’t imprisoned there by Richard and left to suffer. Then she accepted his word that he would take proper care of her and her daughters and see the latter properly married. Well, if she had indeed conspired with Margaret Beaufort to marry off her oldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, to Margaret’s dear Henry, she must have regretted it and wished Richard back on the throne. Henry was the one who took her property and banished her to Bermondsey Abbey, where she died in obscurity, relatively penniless.
So when it comes to punishing women, Richard could have taken lessons from the creep who usurped his throne! It’s about time those who slaver over the Tudors got their facts right. This silly Richard-bashing is so passé, dahlings….!