"And therefore since I cannot prove a lover,
I entertain in these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain." (William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act I, Scene I)
On 22 August 1485, the penultimate battle in the Wars of the Roses was fought with the might of the Lancastrian army ranged against the Yorkists. . . Bosworth Field saw the two great dynasties of the day clash on the battlefield: the reigning House of York, led by Richard III, against the rising House of Tudor, led by Henry Tudor, soon to become Henry VII.
Having stayed the night in the 'White Boar Inn' later to be re-named the 'Blue Boar Inn' so as not to be associated with the 'White Boar' Richard's emblem, Richard set off for Bosworth. (There is now a pub called 'King Richard III', close to the original location of the 'White/Blue Boar Inn').
Richard rode out to Bosworth Field, just outside Sutton Cheney, towards Market Bosworth, riding out over 'Bow Bridge'. The Bridge now shows two plaques, one explaining the legend claiming that Richard struck his spur against a stone, where a 'wise-woman' foretold of his defeat in battle, the other claiming that Richard's remains are buried nearby.
Richard III was 32 years of age when he died in Battle at Bosworth Field, the last British Monarch to die in Battle, his body was brought back to Leicester and publicly displayed, then interred by the Grey Friars, a local order of Franciscan monks. A few years later, a tomb was erected within the Grey Friars’ church. Meanwhile the victor of Bosworth, Henry Tudor, was crowned King Henry VII – then in 1538 his son, Henry VIII, split from Rome. Across the land monasteries were demolished and dissolved, and the Grey Friars were no exception. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the land in the ‘Grey Friars’ area of the city was built on and the precise location of the original church lost underneath houses (which was to eventually become a Leicester City Council Car Park). This car park was famously excavated by the University of Leicester in 2013, and it was then that the remains were found, and Richard III became known as the 'King in the Car Park'.
These remains have been subjected to rigorous and intense scientific scrutiny and analysis to confirm that they are indeed the remains of the notorious King. The fact that Richard suffered from Scoliosis, a degenerative curvature of the spine has assisted in the identification process.
Richard became King in 1483 and was King for two years before he met his death in 1485. Describing Richard, Simon SCHAMA explains, "...whom we have been conditioned to think of as either the incarceration of godless villain or (by impassioned devotees) as a northern hero vilely defamed by Tudor propaganda." (Simon SCHAMA, A History of Britain: At the edge of the World? p268). He is a undoubtedly a notorious king; perhaps best known through the propaganda of William Shakespeare which saw Richard III as the protagonist in the murder of the 'Princes in the Tower' where Princes Edward (aged 12) and Richard (aged 9) (sons of Kind Edward IV) were lodged in the Tower of London upon their arrival in London, (but this was the traditional residence of monarchs prior to their coronation), and were never seen again. It is unclear what actually happened to the boys. It is generally now generally assumed that they were murdered, and murdered at Richard's instruction. Although some believe that one, or both, princes were not murdered; some believe that one or both managed to escape. It is also William Shakespeare's text which famously sees Richard III cry out the famous lines: "My horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse" (Act 5, Scene 4). Simon SCHAMA see Richard III as, "much more interesting but also much more sinister than either of those stereotypes allow. . .". (Simon SCHAMA,A History of Britain: At the edge of the World? p268).
There was a statue of Richard in Castle Gardens; this statue has now been moved, and relocated to 'Cathedral Square' near to the new (King Richard III) KRIII Exhibition Centre. This centre was opened on 26.07.14 telling the full story of the 'King in the Car Park'. It was now been agreed, after a court ruling, that Richard's remain will remain in Leicester.
The Battlefield is just outside of Market Bosworth, has an excellent Visitor Centre, holds re-enactments and is a splendid place to go for a doggy walk.
Oh, and Benedict is going to be taking on the role next year.