Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Whatever Happened to Richard?

Earlier this month there was small item in the Sunday edition of my local newspaper reporting that the remains of England’s King Richard III may lie beneath a parking lot in Leicester.

Richard was the one Shakespeare portrayed as a villainous hunchback who, in the midst of battle, cried, “a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!”

 He died in defeat Aug. 22, 1485, conquered by the forces of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) at the Battle of Bosworth Field about 15 miles away from the Leicester parking lot where archeologists are currently digging.

 Historical accounts report that Richard’s enemies stripped his corpse and paraded it in Leicester before allowing Franciscan brothers to bury it with no pomp or ceremony.

 The burial was probably near the altar in the Franciscan friary and there were plans to mark the spot with an alabaster monument but that project was abandoned when the next king, Henry VIII, shut down all of England’s monasteries.

 So much for glory and power – and the rewards of purported villainy. The former king of England may well lie, anonymous, somewhere underneath a 2002 gray-blue Jaguar.

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