Gairdner said it …

” … one might almost look upon it (the Duke of Gloucester’s selection as rightful heir) … as a constitutional election.” (History of The Life and Reign of Richard the Third (p.121) as cited in The Maligned King (p.117)).

By super blue

Grandson of a Town player.


  1. In a nutshell that one little perfect quote from Gairdner explains both the promise and the problem of the (over?) educated, the scholar, the scions of academe who tell us amateurs ‘we’ are wrong about Richard (and a host of other things too!)

    He was THIS close to just ‘getting it’, seeing it, grasping it, comprehending that no, Richard did not swoop in, kill everyone in sight – with 5000 bloodthirsty heathen Northerners tearing at London’s fragile Walls and commit a Gaunt-inspired chevauchee on those frail, naive and quavering aldermen, merchants, the mayor, the wall to wall lawyers, clergy and assembled peerage – no, Richard didn’t make the mistakes of his father, didn’t ASSUME anything, didn’t ignore the law. Everyone involved knew exactly just how likely, how demonstrably credible the claim was that Edward had committed bigamy – and yet – with all the chronicles, flying tales, with Tom More valiantly ‘remembering’ what Morton bleated into his ear, did Queen Elizabeth Woodville once, even once, deny, protest, pitch a fit, scream blue thunder, make even a squeak that these claims were outright slanders?! unbearable lies! demand investigation IMMEDIATELY! Imagine Marguerite of Anjou allowing these claims to go unchallenged ONE hour, forget days, weeks!

    And QEW could have used her vaunted innocence to get equal time, demand a public hearing, with Rotherham as her interlocutor! Demand proof from the family of Eleanor Talbot! Both Eleanor’s sister and niece were alive and well – and Lord Lisle definitely was a corroborating source for Stillington’s revelations to Richard when he came to speak with him.

    But as we know QEW never said anything publicly, she may have plotted privately with her son Dorset, and Margaret Beaufort, and who knows how many others, but even in close negotiations when she could and should have declared her innocence, refuted the lies, she did not. What was she expecting, or told, that Richard would storm the Sanctuary and sell her daughters off to the Moors as slaves? Her brother and son were in northern castles yes, but IF she had truth on her side, she would expose the Talbots for liars, and her brother an son vindicated.

    QEW also would have known Richard was the same man who had in his care, since the death of Isobel Ingoldsthorpe, his cousin John Neville’s five young daughters, living at Middleham with himself and his duchess, Anne Neville. As Edward had also never attainted Montagu it was incumbent upon Richard to ensure these daughters contract marriages worthy of their station, as Nevilles, his own blood kin, just as the Woodville daughters were. ( And finding suitable, even felicitous marriages for the daughters AND their brother George was no small objective! The eldest sister, already married by 1483, appears to have been permitted an agreeable match, possibly what we would call a love match, and one with a family close to Anne and Richard personally). How easy it is for the Gairdners in historiography to disassociate the human from the caricature they create!

    Oh, but he came so close to ‘getting it’ didn’t he! A pack of lies won, and Gairdner was back on his game, so sure of himself, hero to how many unquestioning generations?

    Faulkner, in a disarming phrase, wrote in “Light in August” (1932), captures what I am TRYING to say – “… memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders …”

    there you have Gairdner, he has a ‘memory’ of what he was told about Richard, prob from our friends Tom More and Shakespeare, in his earliest schoolboy days, and it never mattered WHAT else he learned, or uncovered, ‘memory believes before knowing…’

    just imagine if Gairdner had had a spine!

    Liked by 2 people

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