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The Riddle of Richard the Third

23 Sep

King Richard III was one of England’s most famous, most hated and in many ways most important monarchs. Although he reigned for only two years, between 1483 and 1485, he is remembered for a variety of reasons. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses and is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England, before the ushering in of the Tudor period and the English Renaissance. He is rarely spoken of fondly, however, and is often regarded as the pantomime villain of English history. History has forever tarred him with the accusation that he murdered his young nephews Edward and Richard, following the incident of the ‘Princes in the Tower’, even though the evidence of Richard III’s alleged crime is circumstantial to say the least. As an unpopular king, Richard III had to face more than one rebellion and it was in a successful revolt by Henry Tudor (later crowned King Henry VII) that he ultimately met his end – the last English king, incidentally, to fall in battle. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Richard III, however, is what happened to him after his death – or more specifically to his body.

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