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Richard III – hero or villain….?

Look very carefully, I will say this only once. There IS a little article in among all the darned adverts!

Helen Cox is to give a talk on whether Richard was a hero or a villain. It is always difficult where he is concerned, because whenever he is described as the boy’s uncle, the uninitated (and set-in-concrete traditionalists) envisage a much older, untrustworthy man, who’d been around the royal block a good few times and knew how to bend every rule in sight. An undoubtedly wicked man. Something along the lines of the troublesome uncles around the boy-king Richard II. John of Gaunt was not wicked, but was always suspected of planning to steal the throne for himself. Shakespeare depicts Richard III as this stereotype. 

But Richard III didn’t fit the criteria, because he was honourable, and apart from anything else he was a young man. Yet because of the Bard and the repulsive Tudors, it is the sterotype of him that always surges to the fore.



Richard III – From Villain to Hero

bosworth field

Yesterday, I came across this interesting poster from the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Center on my Facebook feed.  As a true-blue Ricardian, I was impressed with the title ‘Richard III – from Villain to Hero’ which shows a sea change in how this much maligned king is suddenly being portrayed before the general public.  One of Bosworth Field’s experienced guides, John Whitehead, will be giving the lecture and opening it up to the floor for questions.  His talk will include the causes of the Wars of the Roses, Richard’s reputation and his reevaluation in the 20th and 21st Centuries, particularly in light of the discovery of his remains.

The talk will be on Wednesday evening, June 29, 2016 at 7:30pm in the Heritage Room.  Cost is 6 pounds.

It’s events like this that make a Yank in NYC burn with jealousy!

Of course, when dealing with Facebook – which brings so much light to this endlessly fascinating subject – there is a downside.  And that is the comments section.  While Ricardians and others expressed enthusiasm for the talk, the traditionalists chimed in, enraged at the revisionism occurring around Richard’s dukedom and reign:

I thought we had already been told the truth, until Ricardians decided that all the history that we know about Richard is Tudor propaganda because it doesn’t fit with their version of what Richard should be, well I am sorry, but I think all Ricardian history trying to tell us that Richard was a good man is just Ricardian  propaganda.  It works both ways.”

Talk about propaganda and lies, Richard was an expert.”

And let’s not forget the amusingly eccentric comments:

“Is Bosworth related to the Bosworths of Oklahoma?”

Apparently, the only subject in worldwide history that is closed to revisionism or reevaluation is King Richard the Third.  No matter how much is unearthed about his life, no matter what the Vatican archives turn up, no matter how brilliantly one historian tracks his timeline while another scholarly historian follows the last days of his life, he is, in the words of Broadway lyricist Yip Harburg, “a bounder, a rounder, a rotter and a lot’er dirty names.”  And that phrase must be written in stone and shoved under the nose of every person who dares question the shoddy treatment doled out to the last English king to die in battle.  Unfortunately for traditionalists and their running dogs, the attempt to stand in the way of younger and less hidebound historians brings to mind another fine lyricist who turned 75 this week.   His warning was prescient then and is now:  the times they are a’changin’.

Get used to it.

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