The King ( No Longer) in the Parking Lot

Jessica and I have written quite a little about this story starting way back in September of 2012 here, and then here and here as well as the article that forms the basis of this one, and closes the series. because last Thursday King Richard III, the loser at Bosworth field and the last Plantagenet King was re-interred at Leicester.

A Clerk of Oxford compared the whole tumult to the medieval translations of Saints from one cathedral to another. I think she makes a pretty good case, and I find it illuminating to see the same kind of arguments unleashed as were in those translations, as well.

In any case this article of Jessica’s is the centerpiece of what we wrote on this story.


Skull of Richard III

Skull of Richard III

So it was him – it was Richard III, the last Plantagent King of England who the archaeologists found underneath a car park in Leicester in the East Midlands of the UK.  If you don’t care for the romance of history, then look away now, but if you do then like me you’ll have wondered at it all.

Of course, when he was buried there it was a church, which was destroyed at the Reformation, and the site was lost over the years. That the first trench dug by the archaeologists should have yielded his bone was the equivalent for them of a lottery win.

There exists a Richard III Society which sponsored the dig, which seems to think the man was next door to a saint. They react violently to Shakespeare’s fictional portrayal of the king, not seeming to realise that the point of a play is that it is fiction, not history.  One of their claims is that the King was not a hunchback. Well, tough, because this skeleton was; this seems not to have gone down well with some ‘Ricardians’; but they are, themselves, writing fiction.

Richard did not, they say, kill his nephews, the Princes in the Tower. Well, they disappeared from view under his reign, when he took the throne from his eldest nephew, Edward V, and if we ask the simple question of what happened to deposed kings in those days, the answer is that the man who deposed them had them killed: it happened with Edward II, Richard II and Henry VI, so why not with Edward V? The answer of the Ricardians, that their hero wasn’t that sort of guy, won’t wash. They claim the man who defeated Richard at Bosworth, Henry VII did it. There’s no proof at all that the Princes were even alive in 1485, but to exonerate their hero, the Ricardians will blame anyone, even when the obvious is just that – obvious.

That’s what you get with people who already know the conclusion they want before they read the evidence; they read it in the light of their own conclusion; it is why it is pointless to argue with conspiracy theorists and atheists – they already know the truth, they just select the evidence to support it.

There is certainly a mystery with Richard.  As the youngest brother of King Edward IV he won a reputation as a gallant knight and a reliable supporter, and yet, on the sudden and unexpected death of Edward, he seized the throne, imprisoned his nephews, had his enemies executed and declared himself King.  The Ricardians claim that he’d become convinced that stories about his brother’s marriage not being legitimate were correct. When did that one happen? Oh, when Edward IV was dead – how convenient. Isn’t that just the sort of excuse a man with bad conscience would make to excuse himself?

Far more likely that Richard, like others, feared that the new King’s mother and her grasping and ambitious family, the Woodvilles, would seize as much power and money as they could, and that they’d try to get rid of men who stood in their way, as Richard would have done. It was a dog eat dog political world then, as now, and Richard would have acted wisely from his own point of view in seizing the throne.

If he’d won at Bosworth in 1485, no one would have cared one way or the other by now. But he lost – and ended up as the king in the parking lot. Moral of that one – if you seize the throne, better make sure you hang on to it.

And so he was reburied last week with at least a simulacrum of the pomp and majesty of medieval England. There were horses, and knights in shining armor, and pennons not seen in the field for hundreds of years.

And money was spent and money was made, and some decried the pandering to tourists, and some were appalled that he was not translated to York, or Westminster Abbey.

The Ricardians were aghast that he really was a hunchback, but pleased that he got a fancy reinterment. And so now it is all over, and everybody knows (or can know) where every anointed King (or Queen) of England is buried.

And here is the video.

And yet, one is left wondering what our world would have been like if Richard had won. Because so much of the modern world is the growth of what was no more, and no less, than a Tudor Enterprise when they turned the face of England from Europe and faced the outer world. So  much history flows from that, including the very existence the United States.

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

One Response to The King ( No Longer) in the Parking Lot

  1. Pingback: My Article Read (3-31-2015) (4-1-2015) | My Daily Musing

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