Every little girl wants to be a princess. But to be a princess, you need a prince. And princes become kings. Or in this case, Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, son of Richard Duke of York, nephew of Richard Duke of Warwick, brother of King Edward IV, husband to his cousin Queen Anne Neville, father to a son who died too young became King Richard III. King Richard III was a respected battle commander and ruler during his time. By the time he died at the Battle of Bosworth on August 22, 1485, he was just 32 years old. He was only king for two years. But King Richard III’s legacy has been in dispute ever since as the supposed murderer of his nephews to gain the crown for himself (and image right). But was King Richard III the murderer he was reputed to be?
Over the last 500 years King Richard III’s last resting place was lost to history–possibly even thrown into the river–or so everyone thought. This past week, the world was stunned to learn from researchers at the University of Leicester in England that the excavations in a Leicester, England parking lot have indeed unearthed the remains of King Richard III (KR3). Here are some non-exhaustive resources links associated with this discovery that you might want to check out:
1) University of Leicester Search for Richard III, Grey Friars project announcement that King Richard III had been identified, February 4, 2013:
http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2013/february/university-of-leicester-announces-discovery-of-king-richard-iii ; following the press conference, there was a live Q & A with the experts and Philippa Langley of The Richard III Society who spearheaded this dig.
2) “Le squelette de Richard III dévoile ses secrets”, February 4, 2013 (location map of discovery at right):
http://www.lefigaro.fr/sciences/2013/02/04/01008-20130204ARTFIG00562-le-squelette-de-richard-iii-devoile-ses-secrets.php ; link shared by Richard Armitage France.
3) Audio only (from the BBC): “Press Conference ‘Search for King Richard III’ University of Leicester, February 4, 2013” (a must listen to learn about all of the scientific tests and evidence used to come to the conclusion that the bones belonged to KR3): here is the video of the press conference from the BBC
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Thank you to the King Richard Armitage project (a support network for a film on Richard III) for sharing these links.
Philippa Langley of The Richard III Society (left) said at the Monday, February 4th, 2013 University of Leicester press conference: “After Richard’s death at Bosworth, the men of the North who had known Richard–man and boy–described him thus: ‘The most famous prince of blessed memory.’” Such a fine testimonial to King Richard III’s character gives rise to the belief that history and Shakespeare may have maligned him.
4) “Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king’s”, February 4, 2013 by BBC News Leicester
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21063882 ; (note for the squeamish, the article contains a discussion of the injuries sustained and some pictures of the bones as illustration; I am not displaying the bones here out of respect for the dead)
5) Channel 4 aired a very interesting 1 hour and 14 minute documentary video “The King Under the Car Park” in the evening on February 4, 2013 (a video shared by LilyElizabeta); thanks to Sueli for the link; the focus of this video is about the journey the researchers and amateur historians had in launching this project and finding and scientifically determining whether or not the remains found were indeed King Richard III. However, it also showcases the science behind making the determination that the remains are King Richard III:
6) What is even more exciting in the documentary is the reconstruction of what King Richard III is likely to have looked like. Here are some of those images of a young man in his early thirties:
7) A Herald Sun Article that mentions a “New hunt for Richard Third lookalikes as face put to long-lost King” by Chris Bartlett on February 6, 2013 (thanks for link from Fabo Laktuko). The article begins humorously, then soon becomes quite detailed about past and proposed future Richard III portrayals. Scrolling toward the end of the article, the King Richard Armitage project touting British actor Richard Armitage as a possible contender to portray King Richard III is mentioned (see snaps from Facebook at right).
8) The Times of London also published an article about “Philippa Langley’s love affair with King Richard III” on February 6, 2013.
9) Thank you to www.RichardArmitageNet.com for sharing this Philippa Langley February 7, 2013 BBC Radio Leicester interview link.
www.RichardArmitageCentral.co.uk also has a link to the interview at http://richardarmitagecentral.co.uk/philippa-langley-on-bbc-radio-leicester/ and
10) The Leicester Museum in Leicester, England opened their “Richard III: Leicester’s Search for a King” (and image right) exhibit on February 8, 2013.
11) For more information on this developing discovery about King Richard III–his life, final resting place, and a proposed film project to revisit his historical legacy–visit the King Richard Armitage(below) site’s “King Richard III Found” page that is currently under construction:
This website is created through a fan-initiative to support Richard Armitage with his “Richard III” filming project and to demonstrate that there is a substantial global audience who support this project.”
If you would like to support these KRA efforts, don’t forget to sign the online KRA petition.
12) And here is a related article in the January 23, 2013 Leicester Mercury about the grass roots fan effort to support a King Richard III film project helmed by Richard Armitage (scan below courtesy of RANet):
13) Finally, “Now THIS is a CASTING NEWS I can get behind! Richard Armitage as Richard III” by Ruth Maramis, February 7, 2013 on Flix Chatter writes about a prospective film (a very compelling image comparison below; with the reconstructed face of King Richard III on the left, and a portrait of the British actor Richard Armitage on the right):
And if I, Gratiana, were to give my opinion, the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage has the acting chops and regal bearing to be King Richard III. So my long ago little girl wish for a prince charming of my dreams to me as a princess would be very happily fulfilled in Richard Armitage portraying King Richard III.
P.S. Gratiana’s own lay person’s general observations about King Richard III:
I have merely dipped my toe into finding out more about this fascinating man, King Richard III (KR3). And the King Richard Armitage fan site dedicated to showing Richard Armitage fan support for his vision to bring a new film about King Richard III to audiences that might reconstruct history. In addition to resource links, they also have a petition you may sign to show fan support for Richard Armitage’s goal of a new King Richard III film.
And having read a bit of the KRA and other resource links, I now think there is room to question whether or not KR3 is the dastardly man who killed his nephews in the Tower as promoted by King Henry Tudor who succeeded him and William Shakespeare. Remember, to the victor go the spoils–and the writing of history. My mind is now more open to hearing new facts about this King Richard III that might place his life within the context of his time, the politics, and the history of England.
I have particularly enjoyed reading Sharon Kay Penman’s 1982 book The Sunne in Splendour (TSIS; book cover right) and participating in a weekly discussion group on Twitter. The readings and discussions are fun–and we realize that this is a fictionalized account with lots of conjecture in it. Since I am no historian, and I urge you to read the insightful essays of Michaela Servetus and others to learn more about King Richard III. Listed below is a link to one of her more recent KR3 essays for the TSIS reading group prep:
Last week in TSIS Book 4, Ch. 11-15 in Penman’s fictionalized account, Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham admits to killing the boys in the tower for his own kingly ambitions: http://meandrichard.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/richard-armitage-richard-iii-rumble-week-16/
We’re getting toward the end of the TSIS book reading discussions, but all are welcome to join us. The #RA4R3 TSIS Tweetchat room link is here. We chat for an hour, starting at 9pm EST (New York time zone) on Monday nights.