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Villainous King?

Just how villainous was Richard III?

Villainous King?

Villainous King looks at the legacy and image of Richard III.

Whilst Richard was probably not the evil tyrant depicted by Shakespeare, neither was he whiter than white. There are several episodes in his life that might be considered to be crimes, and other evil deeds which he is suspected of carrying out. Was he really an evil and power-hungry man? These questions might help you to decide.

1.
On 13th June 1483, Richard had one of his former allies killed. What was the victim's name?
Edward, Earl of Northumberland
William, Baron of Hastings
Mary, Countess of Wessex
Henry, Duke of Norfolk
At a meeting of the Royal Council in the Tower of London, the Duke of Buckingham accused Hastings, and other members of the council, of conspiring to kill Richard. All of the alleged conspirators were imprisoned, except for Hastings who was taken outside and beheaded there and then. It is possible that Hastings was plotting against Richard, but it seems more likely that Richard was securing his position on the throne
2.
Anne died just four months before her husband Richard. What is the most likely cause of death?
The Black Death
Poison
Tuberculosis
Strangulation
Anne is thought to have died of natural causes but rumours were spread that Richard had his wife poisoned so that he would be free to remarry. On the day of Anne's death there was a solar eclipse which some have interpreted as a sign of Richard's guilt
3.
Following the death of her husband, Edward, son of Henry VI, his wife Anne, was taken prisoner by whom? She was married to Richard III one year later.
Edward IV
George, brother of Edward and Richard
Richard III
The Earl of Warwick
Anne was the daughter of the Earl of Warwick. She had met both Richard and George during her childhood. Apparently, Anne escaped from George and hid in a London shop. Richard found her and took her to a place of safety. Whether or not this story is true, the two were married on 12th July 1472. Some believe that Anne was forced to marry Richard but there is no proof to support this theory
4.
After the Battle of Tewkesbury, Edward, the son of Henry VI, was captured and killed. Who was it who murdered Edward?
Edward IV
Richard III
The Duke of Clarence
We don't know
Contemporary accounts say that Edward was killed by men under the command of the Duke of Clarence. Tudor histories though, say otherwise. According to Polydore Vergil, Edward Hall and William Shakespeare, Edward was set upon and killed by Edward IV, his brothers George and Richard III, and William, Lord Hastings. This account is most likely propaganda given that it was written long after the event and by Richard's enemies, the Tudors. The original story seems the more likely, but we shall probably never know the truth
5.
Perhaps the most infamous of Richard's alleged crimes was the supposed murder of who?
His sons
All of the citizens of York
His nephews
All of the citizens of Gloucester
Richard is thought by many to have murdered the sons of his brother, Edward IV. They were put under Richard's care in the Tower of London but were never seen again. There are many theories about what became of the two princes, most of which suggest that Richard either killed them or had them killed for him, but there is no real evidence to support the claims
6.
According to Shakespeare, Richard framed who for treason, resulting in their execution?
His brother, George
His mother, Cecily
His son, John
His sister, Margaret
Shakespeare also shows Richard intercepting a warrant which pardons his brother. In truth, George was sentenced to death by his other brother, Edward IV, for 'unnatural, loathly treasons'. Richard had no part in either the trial or execution of George
7.
On the day of his death at the Battle of Bosworth, Richard held captive the son of one of his commanders, Sir Stanley, in order to secure his loyalty. Richard threatened to kill Stanley's son if his father betrayed him. What was Stanley's response to Richard's threat?
"Sire, have mercy!"
"Sire, the boy is yours"
"Sire, I am your loyal servant"
"Sire, I have other sons"
Stanley switched sides during the battle which ultimately cost Richard his life. He is said to have ordered that Stanley's son should be killed on the battlefield but the order was never carried out
8.
Following the death of Richard's wife it was rumoured that he planned to marry which of his relations?
His mother
His aunt
His daughter
His niece
The Croyland Chronicle, written after Henry Tudor's victory over Richard, stated that Richard was forced to deny his plan to marry his niece Elizabeth. In fact he was negotiating to marry Joanna, sister of the king of Portugal. Elizabeth went on to marry Henry VII and was the mother of Henry VIII
9.
Sir Thomas More, in his History of Richard III, says that Richard murdered Henry VI in the Tower of London. We can be reasonably sure that this is not true. Why?
Henry died of natural causes
Richard was not in London when the crime was committed
Henry's murderer was a woman
Richard had no motive to kill Henry
Wakefield's Chronicle, a contemporary account, gives the date of Henry's death as 23rd May 1471, when Richard was not in the capital. The official accounts say that Henry died of grief after hearing of his son's death, but that seems unlikely. It is reasonable to assume that Henry was indeed murdered, but not at the hands of Richard. His brother, Edward IV, was king at the time and is much more likely to have organised the crime
10.
In 1483, following the death of Edward IV, his son, Edward V, was escorted to London by two men; Anthony Woodville, the Earl Rivers and Sir Richard Grey, half-brother to the new king. Richard III met the party and did what?
He had the two men imprisoned and killed
He granted the two men titles and lands
He had the two men sent into exile
He granted the two men monetary rewards
They were arrested and taken to Pontefract Castle, where they were accused of planning to assassinate Richard. They received no trial but were judged by Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland, who had them executed on 25th June 1483. This is one instance where it seems that Richard could indeed be cruel and merciless

 

Author:  Graeme Haw

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