To think that just because they have found the bones of Richard III, that doesn't automatically mean that he was actually A Really Bloody Nice Bloke?

(239 Posts)
BalloonSlayer Tue 05-Feb-13 08:31:00

Constant quotes from the Richard III Society:

"We're going to completely reassess Richard III, we're going to completely look at all the sources again, and hopefully there's going to be a new beginning for Richard as well." Why? It's a skeleton? Was it holding a signed confession from Henry VII of the murder of the Princes in the Tower?

Richard III Society member Philippa Langley, originator of the search, said on a Channel 4 documentary earlier: "It doesn't look like the face of a tyrant. I'm sorry but it doesn't. WTF?

Why does this change anything at all?

BalloonSlayer Tue 05-Feb-13 09:27:45

"possible HVII had them murdered in an attempt to blacken RIII's name as much as he could, as early as he could. "

see that's the argument I don't get . . . why would Henry do something like that to try to blacken Richard's name when the one certain consequence of their deaths would be to put Richard firmly on the throne? The risk was enormous. If there had been any evidence Henry was involved Richard could have had him executed immediately and that would have been that.

Means, motive, opportunity - Richard had them all.

Not that I believe Henry was a noble prince, saving the nation from the evil Richard. He was just a chancer who saw the opportunity to get his hands on the throne and went for it. And Richard was exactly the same, IMO.

And as for "oooh nooo, Richard wasn't the sort of guy to kill people who got in his way" . . . . well that's exactly what he was doing when he was killed - he was fighting, charging up at Henry trying to kill him.

Hopefully the poor lady never trips over this thread. Channel 4 have done a nasty sniggery hatchet job on her enthusiasm.

She may well be a little... er... obsessed with the man, but I'm willing to bet Channel 4 cut out any scenes where she talked sensibly and knowledgeably about the subject. Much funnier to show a one-dimensional nutjob. hmm

SigmundFraude Tue 05-Feb-13 09:39:40

Haven't they used these facial reconstructions to identify murder victims with a pretty high success rate? I think they're reasonably accurate. It would be interesting to know whether the people doing the reconstruction looked at paintings of Richard III beforehand, or whether it was totally 'blind'.

The reaction of 'woo lady' to the reveal that RIII did indeed have scoliosis, after her unshakable belief that he did not collapsed in a heap, was priceless. There should be a word to describe it.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Tue 05-Feb-13 09:42:22

The bones showed he didn't have a withered arm, which would suggest that that at least was tudor propaganda.

SigmundFraude Tue 05-Feb-13 09:43:47

O right, now I feel guilty Leucan! Just to backpeddle a bit, I did say to DH (about her) that it would be amazing to be so knowledgeable and it must have been such a fantastic moment for her when they found him, not many historians get that kind of opportunity.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Feb-13 09:43:58

"why would Henry do something like that to try to blacken Richard's name when the one certain consequence of their deaths would be to put Richard firmly on the throne?"

The best evidence is that the princes were still alive when Richard was firmly on the throne. They and other members of Richard's family were the legitimate heirs of Edward, which was a threat to Henry Tudor, not Richard, once Richard was dead. The bodies were never displayed by Henry at the time they were supposed to have died.... which he should have done really if he wanted to prove that Richard was a murderer. The children simply quietly disappeared.

LineRunner Tue 05-Feb-13 09:46:12

I had to turn the programme off. It was too annoying. I would have preferred a scientific discussion of the DNA analysis.

Also there has been plenty of 'reassessment' of R3 over the years. It's an industry. The battle is for control of the narrative. The bones and teeth will yield some interesting analysis about loads of stuff, but I agree with the OP that it's a red herring in terms of his character.

*Hopefully the poor lady never trips over this thread. Channel 4 have done a nasty sniggery hatchet job on her enthusiasm.

She may well be a little... er... obsessed with the man, but I'm willing to bet Channel 4 cut out any scenes where she talked sensibly and knowledgeably about the subject. Much funnier to show a one-dimensional nutjob.*

True but my MIL and quite a few of her friends are in the Richard III Society and some of them are really weirdly over invested in him. They talk about him as though he's their imaginary boyfriend. Very, very odd.

Honestly her ridiculous over dramatising and attention seeking totally spoiled the program for me. I wish they would have stuck to the facts and actually given us information rather than focusing on her.

greencolorpack Tue 05-Feb-13 09:52:58

I loved the show and if I had modern technology I would have recorded it/Iplayer and all that, cos I would love my children to see it. I loved the fact that she had a funny feeling where to dig, and she was right and after all that it probably is the real bones of the real Richard 111! But I did think she was drama queeny blubbing over the bones of a complete stranger long dead.

The big question is, who painted R on the car park floor? I bet there's some lowly council worker watching the show and laughing because the R isn't anything to do with dead monarchs.

I liked the fact that the face in the portraits looked a lot like Ibsen the Canadian descendant.

Sorry, Sigmund, not trying to catsbum the thread, just deeply pissed off that Channel 4 presented this woman to us as the fool we should snigger along at. It's mean. Couldn't we have had the history without ganging up on someone?

Over-investment in history is not the worst character trait someone can possess. Yes, it overshadowed the programme for me too, but I blame Channel4 editing for that, not the lady herself.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Tue 05-Feb-13 09:58:01

No leucan, you're right.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Tue 05-Feb-13 10:00:20

The R presumably meant "Reserved".

"Residents" parking.

aldiwhore Tue 05-Feb-13 10:07:00

I think he was probably somewhere between a tyrant and a lovely chap... not unlike most monarchs.

I think Shakespeare's play is very biased, commissioned to show him as a bad sort, and not historically accurate at all (until the lions have historians only the hunter will be glorified etc etc) which has led to the counter argument of him being just lovely and 'such fun'. Which is natural.

I suspect the truth about the man is far more boring than any of the stories.

CalamityKate Tue 05-Feb-13 10:11:22

Well I sort of suspected that the Philippa woman seemed a bit, um, odd but then she mentioned dowsing rods and that confirmed it for me.

Miggsie Tue 05-Feb-13 10:14:18

Hmm...but he did declare himself king when clearly he should have taken the role of regent for his under age nephew...then they go into the Tower "to be safe" and never re-emerge...hmmmm.

Elizabeth Woodville only emerged when Richard offered to marry her daughter..again...hmmm.

Richard was popular in the North and a good Duke - but he should not have made himself king. The principle of primogeniture was active in his time - his nephews should have inherited their titles.

Even if there was Tudor propoganda slagging him off - he did some dodgy stuff.

Wife's suspicious death just after he becomes king anyone?????
Wanting to marry his own niece?????

poozlepants Tue 05-Feb-13 10:16:14

I am a historian by trade and I've met a few academics who have more than a little crush on their subjects of interest. I bet that lady has absolutely filthy dreams about Richard3.

cory Tue 05-Feb-13 10:18:44

I get why Tudor historians thought they could blacken the name of Richard by describing him as a hunchback. I even get why that resonated with Victorian historians (think Dickens). What I do not get is why modern Ricardians think they are defending the man by saying "Oh, no, he was not disabled; that is evil Tudor propaganda". Bit of a nasty take on disability imho.

thegreylady Tue 05-Feb-13 10:20:48

All we learn from the bones is confirmation of the scoliosis and evidence of the injuries sustained in battle. It has long been known that the people of York admired and respected him. We can only guess at the fate of the princes but I think someone killed them on Richard's behalf with or without his compliance.

cory Tue 05-Feb-13 10:23:58

I think the imaginary boyfriend idea is spot on.

Not for all professional historians, though- I'd run may miles rather than have to be in close proximity with any of my research subjects; a distance of 900 years suits me very well indeed. Professional bores, the lot of them, and no doubt most unattractive in bed.

wildfig Tue 05-Feb-13 10:24:20

I have to agree with Leucan - I did wonder how much of Philippa's response was prompted by the off-screen director ("Ooh, how do you feel seeing his face at last?"). Obvs she's emotionally invested in Richard III to an obsessive degree, but since the filmmakers had no way of knowing at first whether the bones were his, or if they'd even find anything, they must have set off with a 'let's make a documentary about Richard III fanatics and their crazy ways' angle... only to find themselves in the middle of an actual documentary.

Yes, I agree with that cory, it's a really nasty take. I would hope maybe now, people wil reassess a bit? I mean, it's a bit shaming, isn't it, that we're so quick to say he couldn't have been disabled and it must be a slur because it only got mentioned late on, but maybe people at the time actually just didn't give a toss?

DorisIsWaiting Tue 05-Feb-13 10:26:34

She was pretty tragic, Dh likened it to a woman with a boyfriend on death row- despite the fact that to survive in middle ages and especially to rule required a degress of ruthlessness. It is unreasonable to judge by current social mores.

SigmundFraude Tue 05-Feb-13 10:33:06

'I am a historian by trade and I've met a few academics who have more than a little crush on their subjects of interest. I bet that lady has absolutely filthy dreams about Richard3.'

Brilliant!

Lord Byron would be my historical crush of choice. Sadly I've never had filthy dreams about him, despite reading reams of literature about him.

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