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View Diary: Why We Should Care About Richard III (315 comments)

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  •  Richard was an able administrator (5+ / 0-)

    and during his older brother Edward IV's  life was loyal to him. But there really isn't any excuse for having his nephew, the rightful heir to the throne, declared a bastard and disinherited, except as a pretext to declare himself king. Assuming he had a reason to distrust Queen Elizabeth Woodville's family -- and they were unpopular at the time -- there was no question of the legitimacy of her marriage (as opposed to questions about the wisdom of the King's choice) until after Edward's death.  Interestingly, Richard made overtures to Elizabeth Woodville in the hopes of securing the hand in marriage of his niece, Princess Elizabeth of York in order to strengthen his claim to the throne.  She was, after all, now the leading York heir. Leaving aside the ick factor of proposing to marry one's niece, Richard's attempts to woo Princess Elizabeth make his claim that her parents' marriage was illegitimate a wee bit hypocritical.

    Once Richard had removed the young King and his brother from his mother's custody (Princess Elizabeth, future wife of Henry VII, remained with the Queen in sanctuary) he could have exercised his powers as Protector and Regent until the King reached his majority.  The Woodvilles had been neutralized.  Apparently that wasn't good enough for Richard.  He wanted to be the King, not just the power behind the throne.

    And yes, Richard had a motive to kill the Princes in the Tower (actually, the King and the Prince in the Tower) even after he'd secured his throne.  England had been racked by dynastic struggles -- the War of the Roses -- for over a century, since Richard II (York) was deposed and succeeded by his cousin Henry IV (Lancaster).  Alive, the Princes could have generated continued opposition to the legitimacy of Richard's reign, become the focal points of rebellion.  Henry VII, Henry VIII and even Elizabeth I remained alert to the dangers posed by real and pretended Plantagenet descendants for many decades after their deaths.

    As noted above, after the death of Richard, the York heir with the strongest claim to the throne was Edward IV's oldest daughter Elizabeth.  Although Henry VII made her his queen, he did not claim his throne through her, relying instead of the right of conquest. Nonetheless, through her, the Tudors had more York blood than legitimate Lancaster blood, as Henry VII's dynastic claim was a bit thin.

    •  Or it could be that the Bishop of Bath and Wells (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      714day, LSophia, CA wildwoman, Wee Mama

      was telling the truth. After all, it would not be the only time Edward was married in secret. And it may not be the only time Stillington said so, in that some think the reason he was imprisoned in 1478 was that he told Clarence that Edward was pre-contracted to Eleanor Talbot.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 02:37:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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