Old Bones

Richard III (1452-1485)

Richard III (1452-1485)

I was on a Laker Airlines flight from London Gatwick to Los Angeles in October 1976 when I read Josephine Tey’s novelized biography of Richard III entitled The Daughter of Time. In it, Tey’s Inspector Allan Grant, while recovering in a hospital, decides to investigate the life of Richard III. Based on the picture above, he could not believe that Richard could be such as arrant villain as Shakespeare portrayed him in his play.

There is little doubt that Richard seized the crown that properly belonged to his young nephews, the so-called Princes in the Tower, whom he may or may not have ordered to be killed. As king, he was not so very bad; but there is always that suspicion of evildoing at its outset.

Richard is one of the few kings of England who have a fan club dedicated to restoring his reputation.

Well, it appears that they have found and identified the remains of Richard, which were discovered in a shallow grave in a parking lot where Greyfriars Abbey once sat before Henry VIII had it razed. DNA was taken and compared with that of a lineal descendent in Canada and found to be a match. And, what is more, Richard’s body was slightly misshapen, not quite an out-and-out hunchback, but near to it.

Now, was he a good king or a bad king? Or was he merely indifferent? The question rages on.