‘Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York…’
How well I remember that thrilling and awesome news — the discovery of the skeleton of Richard III. Actual Richard III. The last Plantagenet King, slain at the Battle of Bosworth, at the end of the War of the Roses. The King who, in Shakespeare’s play, called for ‘A horse, a horse — my kingdom for a horse.’ The King who scuttled in the shadows, crudely-made and evil, as Shakespeare put it:
Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
They found his bones, his actual skeleton, when they dug up a car-park — once the site of Greyfriars Church — in Leicester in 2013.
And the skeleton showed he did indeed have a twisted spine. DNA samples, carbon testing and other tests proved it was the body of King Richard himself — that glorious son of York, that notorious, infamous Plantagenet monarch.
I still get a thrill when I think of it now.
Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king's
Experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the monarch's family…
Richard III, villain and child-murderer, humped of back and mean of nature…
Or was he?
Traditionally, Richard has been portrayed as an evil character, but as more information comes to light, we begin to suspect he was nowhere near half as bad as he was painted.
Did he murder his two young nephews — the Princes in the Tower? There’s no evidence of that.
Did he shuffle around, hunchbacked and clumsy? No, he didn’t. Though his spine was curved, his appearance and gait did not suffer all that much, though it must have been noticeable for Shakespeare to write about it.
Richard III | Biography & Facts
Richard III, the last Plantagenet and Yorkist king of England. He usurped the throne of his nephew Edward V in 1483 and…
There are now many supporters of Richard who maintain he was an excellent king, Christian and pious, keen on governing the land as best he could, a good husband, a courageous and chivalrous knight.
Others disagree and stick with the traditional view that he was an infamous villain.
Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between.