Return of the King – Huzzah!

Richard III

Great news from Leicester that the bones found beneath a car park belong to Richard III, last of the Plantagenet kings. I’m chuffed pink that he’s been found, and hope the discovery breathes new life into the question of whether he was a Bad King, as portrayed by that shameless Tudor propagandist, William Shakespeare. Here’s a video of the dig from the University of Leicester, who did a brilliant job.

I will admit to being somewhat influenced in my historical perspective by this splendid song from Horrible Histories.

According to the news reports, he died a horrible, brutal death, which prompts reflection on the fact that kings and queens, the high and mighty in general, are only human. All that swank and swagger is merely whistling in the dark. This scene from Richard II, says it all. Yes, I know it’s the wrong Richard, but the words are spot on.

Here is Shakespeare’s character assassination, as portrayed by Laurence Olivier in the 1955 film.

And for something completely different, a trailer for the 1995 film, with Ian McKellen in the title role. I want to see this.

8 thoughts on “Return of the King – Huzzah!

  1. This whole story fascinates me. I mean, a car park in Leicester???? How the hell did THAT happen? Makes me wonder what Shakespeare would write about this. I LOVE Horrible Histories. I never saw the show but I have the whole book series.

    • A lot of Horrible Histories stuff is available on YouTube. I love the songs. Shakespeare was such a Tudor propagandist, I wouldn’t trust a word that came out of his mouth about Richard, though he could probably put together a rollicking comedy about the dig. The forensic specialist put a mattock through his skull when she uncovered him.

    • It was a close thing. One of the archaeologists said that if they’d dug the trench 50 cm away, they’d have missed him completely. I don’t know if Richard killed the princes, but h’s certainly the prime suspect. And it doesn’t help when Britain’s greatest playwright turns you into a monster.

      • Yes, but in Richard’s house while he was their guardian. I like underdogs, so I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. If Richard didn’t do it, and they were still alive after his death, then Henry Tudor would have murdered them in a heartbeat.

  2. Hi Paul,I have not received any more of your postings. Are you still blogging? I saw Richard II at the Globe Theatre in London about 2004, they put on the production because they thought his reign was similar to that of George W. Bush (unnecessary wars, foolish rule). hope to hear from you and the blog.Heather Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2013 16:42:48 +0000 To:

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