So the search for King Richard III is over. Unfortunately, I am not jumping up and down like a proper Richardian, however, I have been a waiting for the results with plenty of anticipation, which I posted about before The whole ordeal has brought history to life for me and countless others. My fascintation with King Richard III and the mystery surrounding the Princes in the Tower started in 2010 when I read The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. Yes, I am one of those suckers for romantic historical fiction. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I got started with my historical fiction obsession (mostly British history mind you) when I was twelve and came across Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer at my local library. She had a whole set on the Tudor princesses, and that sent me on a journey that has lasted for nine years. I could not thank Meyer more for the fire she put in me at a young age to appreciate history. Ever since Meyer’s books I continued researching Tudor England and all of King Henry VIII’s wives. Eventually I broadened my knowledge back to the House of Plantagenet and up to the current House of Windsor. And of course American history as well, but my niche seems to be British history and I happily knew all the answers to the Beefeater’s questions at the Tower of London. It was magical.
Anywho! The point of this post is to share with you (to those who so desire this information) what books I have found interesting involving the stories and histories around Richard III. The affirmation that his body has been found has created quite a buzz and hopefully has spurred some interest in the subject. Some books that I have come across are fiction-based and others non-fiction. And of course if you have any other suggestions, let me know. I eat this stuff up!
Princes in the Tower Alison Weir (non-fiction) Seen to be a valid argument for the fate of the princes, although it is now incorrect in assuming that Richard III’s body was thrown into the Soar river. Still in awe over the discovery!
Richard III and the Princes in the Tower by A J Pollard. I cited this non-fiction source in my research paper on the fate of the princes. He makes a good point that even if Richard III was personally innocent– because he was their guardian he was responsible for their livelihood. Sound point.
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory as afore-mentioned. Her story is based around the view of Elizabeth Woodville, the princes mother.
A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith — one of my all time favorite historical fiction authors.
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tay. Unfortunately, I have not read this one. BUT, I am citing it because members of The Richard III Society seem to hold it in high regard. I’ll get to it eventually.
These recent events have also re-raised the question of the fate of the Princes in the Tower. Many sources, including Shakespeare (although I, along with many just see his story as just that- a story- rather than actual fact), hold Richard III accountable for the death of his brother’s (King Edward IV) sons who were twelve and nine (or ten) when being put in the Tower of London by their uncle. However, it is unlikely anything will come of this because the Westminster Abbey officials refuse to release the suspected bones for DNA and Carbon Dating tests, more about that here, in the Guardian
At the end of the day, I think the find was definitely momentous for many. However, does this really change anything? The only thing we now know is the way the last Plantagenet king died (horrifically for sure) and his physical characteristics. In my mind, we are no more closer to knowing his true character other than the obviously difficult to interpret sources during his life and the more than likely propagandistic sources after his death. While it is still incredibly fascinating what science can do, I still find myself asking the same questions as before.
But, hopefully, Richard can finally RIP.
5 thoughts on “Historic findings, but what does it mean?”
I’m reading Josephine’s Tey’s “The Daughter of Time” right now! It’s a very quick read, and I’ll probably finish it tonight or tomorrow morning. I’m really enjoying it. My knowledge of British history is weak (I only took one class in college), but my limited knowledge of the history hasn’t reduced my enjoyment of the Tey’s book. It’s a product of its time, though, and so some of her language is jarring to my modern ears. That’s my only complaint so far. I’ll probably write about it on my blog in a few days.
Well since I haven’t read it I will definitely check out your review! I’ve always been curious about it.
Now that I think about it, I actually took two British history courses in college. It’s amazing that I completely forgot about one! I’m getting old!
Haha no worries. I am jealous that you got to take them though. My university doesn’t offer and British history courses, just British literature. I’m impressed you remember though, I can barely remember what I’m taking half the time when people ask me. Oops! 🙂
Interestingly enough, the lectures of (or at least similar lectures to) the course I had forgotten about are available online (http://oyc.yale.edu/history/hist-251). It was Professor Wrightson’s “Early Modern England” (Tudors and Stuarts). These lectures were recorded in 2009, but I took the class in the Spring of 2001. It was small seminar back then. It was a good course (now that I’ve triggered my memory). I may listen to the lectures just for fun!
I never took any British literature classes. I wish I had.