Culture & Literature
Richard III - The Full Story of the King under the Car Park

Richard III - The Full Story of the King under the Car Park

Richard III - The Full Story of the King under the Car Park

Richard III - The Full Story of the King under the Car Park Richard III has frequently been in the news since his remains were found beneath a Leicester car park two years ago. Now, as he is to be buried in Leicester Cathedral, this compendium of the best articles from BBC History Magazine combined with specially commissioned content, offers the ultimate guide to this famous – and infamous – monarch. Inside you will find: Key events of his life and times; Fresh insight from leading historians; The dark tale of the Princes in the Tower; The dramatic discovery of his remains

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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R 188,66

in this issue

1 min.

“On 26 March, Richard III will be reburied in Leicester Cathedral, a little over two years since it was announced that a skeleton discovered beneath a nearby car park was that of the last Plantagenet king. In death, as in life, Richard has continued to cause controversy, including a lively debate – first reported in BBC History Magazine – about whether the skeleton even belongs to Richard at all. But, regardless of the identity of the remains, what’s undoubtedly true is that the events of the past two years have brought Richard to the public attention like never before, rekindling debates about him that have long raged. In this special edition of the magazine we explore Richard’s brief but eventful life and the world in which he lived and died. From…

11 min.
the life of richard iii

1452 2 October Richard is born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire (pictured right), 11th child of Richard, Duke of York and Cecily Neville. He later records in his Book of Hours that “on this day was born Richard III at Fotheringhay” – third-person confirmation of his exact date of birth. He is delivered by caesarean section, having been in a breach position, or so later rumours suggest. More implausible is John Rous’s description of Richard as being born “with teeth, and hair to his shoulders”. Though both stories are examples of the black legend that will quickly develop around the king after his death, we do know that Cecily, aged 37 at the time, suffered a particularly painful labour. The birth, she later wrote, had been “encumberous” and “to me full painful…

13 min.
england’s ultimate family drama

MONARCHIES ARE NOW RARE IN THE WORLD, numbering around 20 in a system of almost 200 independent states. But for hundreds of years monarchy was the way that politics worked in most countries. And monarchy meant power was in the hands of a family – a dynasty – and hence politics was family politics. It was not elections that shaped political life, but the births, marriages and deaths of the ruling family. This added further unpredictability to the unpredictable business of ruling. Between 1154 and 1485, a period of 331 years, England was ruled by one family. Every king during that time was a descendant in the male line of a French count, Geoffrey of Anjou, whose badge, the broom plant – planta genista in Latin – is the origin of…

8 min.
richard grabs the throne

It was all change in the second half of the 15th century: a change of ruling houses, of dynasties. But when was the crucial turning point? Not so long ago, the date generally agreed upon was 1485, when Henry VII won the crown at the Battle of Bosworth and the Tudor dynasty began. This was seen as the point when the modern history of England began, as the struggle between Yorkist and Lancastrian factions in the Wars of the Roses came to an end. More recently, however, historians have noted the similarities between the rule of the Yorkists (the dynasty that controlled the country from the accession of Edward IV in 1461 to the death of Richard III in 1485) and that of Henry VII (reigned 1485–1509). It has become clear…

3 min.
britain in the late 15th century

England in 1450 was a much-governed country. Kings could raise large sums for war by taxation, took responsibility for law and peacekeeping, and were becoming involved in economic and moral regulation. There was a sizeable and expert central bureaucracy but most government was done by local amateurs, usually gentry, the local nobility playing a large part in coordinating their activities. One effect of the extended period of crisis was to reduce the regional authority of the nobles, putting kings more directly in command of governance in the shires. This is no longer seen as the replacement of a corrupt system of government, loosely referred to as ‘bastard feudalism’, by something more ‘modern’. Instead it is now understood that both direct and indirect rule had strengths and weaknesses. The European-wide economic depression, caused…

9 min.
king of morals or incestuous hypocrite?

When Richard III acceded to the throne in 1483, he was married to Anne Neville. Through that union, Richard had been able to resurrect her inheritance and to secure the giant Neville estate – making him lord of the north, the greatest nobleman of his day and powerful enough, in due course, to seize the throne. It seems that Richard and Anne wed in 1472, when he was 19 and she was 15. She was already a widow, having lost her first husband, Edward of Lancaster, her father, Richard Neville (called Warwick ‘the Kingmaker’), and her father-in-law the previous year. Nominally she was a dowager princess, but without property or expectations. To marry a royal duke was the most advantageous match possible for her – it was a most prudent match.…