The price of one royal progress….


Not Richard III but the entry of John II of France and Joan I of Auvergne into Paris after their coronation at Reims in 1350, later manuscript illumination by Jean Fouquet

King Charles III’s fleeting visits to the separate nations of the United Kingdom have been the modern equivalent of the royal progresses of the past. From very early times each new monarch embarked on a progress through their realm, to show themselves to their people. As their only transport was the horse, it took a long time, and then and as now, certainly can’t have covered every corner. But at least King Charles doesn’t have to worry about what’s going on behind his back.

Richard III – illustration found on Pinterest

In 1483, when Richard III set off from London on his progress, there was definitely dangerous skulduggery being plotted in his absence. His cousin, the ungrateful and arrogant Duke of Buckingham planned a rebellion, and the puffed-up, presumptuous Woodvilles were simmering and waiting their chance (having failed in their attempt to snatch the boy Edward V and crown him before Richard, named as Lord Protector, knew anything). So 1483 was, perhaps, one progress that would have been better delayed. Oh, Richard overcame the rebellion and Buckingham paid the well-deserved price, but the Woodvilles were still there, still waiting to strike. Treachery loomed throughout Richard’s too-short reign, and the eventual invasion and usurpation of Henry Tudor had Woodville backing. One of their number, Elizabeth of York, became Tudor’s queen. Elizabeth is always seen as the heiress of the House of York, but she was also a Woodville.

There haven’t been any such hazards for our new king. He didn’t have to face rebellion by a cousin, or invasion by a foreign army supporting an invading usurper!


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