King Richard’s Return

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MICHAEL O’SULLIVAN

News outlets across the world are reporting on the discovery of the long lost body of Richard the Third, the last English monarch to die in battle.  While momentous, the question arises over whether this will help his reputation at all.

The remains were discovered under a parking lot that was being removed.  DNA testing and knowledge about the area confirmed that the remains were that of the ex-king.

Richard certainly is not remembered as a popular monarch, but one can hardly say that he deserves to be remembered as such.  Richard gained the throne after the mysterious disappearance of his nephews, the princes, under suspicious circumstances.

The succession came towards the end of the War of the Roses, an English civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York for control of the throne.  The name comes from both houses use of roses as their symbol.

Richard, a Yorkist, only lasted two years before a rebellion broke out under the Tudors, a branch of the Lancasters, who had become disaffected with the pro-Yorkist regime.  Henry Tudor, the grandfather of Elizabeth the First, lead the revolt.

Richard was killed at the battle of Bosworth Field by a Welsh halberdier, a fact confirmed by the discovery of his body, which bore fatal wounds from an array of weapons including a halberd.

Seeing As the victors write the history, Richard has long been the villain of the story, and everyone from Shakespeare on has portrayed him in a less than flattering manner.

The discovery is too recent to make many assumptions, but Richard’s modern supporters hope that the discovery will renew interest and revive the reputation of the former King of England.

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