Tuesday, 5 February 2013

My kingdom for a horse

Richard III - a recent portrait.

If you have a new book on Richard III up your sleeve, now is the time to get it published.

I'd like to be a history buff, but it's such a vast expanse I've never settled on a field of interest. Even so, like many others I've been keeping an eye on the discovery of Richard III's grave since the story broke. There is something about finding a mislaid king, especially the last of the Plantagenets, that stirs the blood. At least it stirs mine.

A skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of English king Richard III.

Experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the monarch's family.

Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: "Beyond reasonable doubt it's Richard."

Richard, killed in battle in 1485, will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.

Some decades ago we visited the supposed battlefield site near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. There wasn't much to see of course, but the battle itself we found interesting.

If I recall rightly, there was a model of the forces ranged against each other on the low leicestershire hills together with a description of how the battle went - how Henry Tudor could so easily have been defeated but for the fortunes of war and the subtle arts of quid pro quo.

The alliances, betrayals and sheer savagery with which would-be monarchs and their supporters would butcher their way to riches, power and glory - it's all there in the story of the battle of Bosworth. 

Although I believe there is some uncertainty about the precise location. No matter - it's still a good story. Unfortunately I don't have that book up my sleeve.


Demetrius said...

Over 50 years ago, I called at the Council Offices a couple of times, parking my Vespa over the grave. What might be said is that there are very many descendants from the Plantagenets around amongst ordinary people. So he could be closer to many of us than we think.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - my wife parked there once or twice in the seventies when we lived at Hinckley. Strange to think what lay there just a few feet away.

Demetrius said...

Back in the 1950's Hinckley then had a very useful rugby team with a decent fixture list. I recall playing there once on a very wet day and then going on to meet the lady's parents. Her mother was a little taken aback when presented with a bag of kit to wash. Perhaps I ought to have been more tactful.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I bet Hinckley was quite a peaceful little place in the fifties.

Angus Dei said...

Nice to see that they have dug up Dick 3, all they have to do is plant him again, wonder what the parking charge on one space for 500 years will be:)

A K Haart said...

Angus - we'll be back to riding horses in another 500 years.