The dilemma of the North and South and nostalgia for the Middle Ages .. Why the British obsession with the lost King Richard III?
In August 1485, the English King Richard III met the forces of Henry Tudor in the Battle of Bosworth in central England, Richard rode a fast and strong white horse, and led the cavalry and an army larger than his opponent’s forces, but he was betrayed during the battle by some of his commanders and then fell off his horse He was killed, becoming the last English king to die on a battlefield.
He succeeded the murdered King, Theodore Richard, called King Henry VII, and married Richard III’s niece. Historic sources say that Richard’s naked body was taken to Leicester on a horse, while ancient sources indicated that he was displayed in a church and buried there, but the place remained unknown. Where historians claim that his body was thrown into a river.
The biography of Richard III inspired many literary works, and he appeared as the hero of a tragic historical novel by the most famous English playwright, William Shakespeare, in addition to appearing in other plays before Shakespeare’s work. 1535-1607) is the first historical play written in England.
Richard III also appeared in a play whose author is unknown, The True Tragedy of Richard III (1590), but he acquired the appearance of a poorly formed, tyrannical man of courage and ambition, and it is believed that this anonymous play influenced the simultaneous work of Shakespeare (died 1616) with her.
In these many plays, as well as in modern English novels such as Valerie Anand’s “Crown of Roses” and “The Daughter of Time” (1951) by Josephine T and others, the plot revolves around whether the murdered king was involved in the murders of other princes or not. no.
The drama and comedy “The Lost King” (2022) sheds light – once again – on the controversial figure of the king, and appeared as an attempt to convince the audience of the struggle of a woman named Philippa Langley to find the tomb and remains of the 15th century king, which was eventually discovered under a parking lot. in Leicester in 2012.
The king’s remains were reburied seven years ago in Leicester Cathedral in a coffin designed by one of his descendants, which helped identify the remains through DNA testing.
and spread Site The Conversation An article by Tim Thornton, Professor of History and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, asks: “Why does a king who died more than half a millennium ago continue to attract such attention? Why is the story of the very ordinary woman trying to recover his remains so fascinated by the resistance of so many traditional academic norms?
The Middle Ages and the “lords of the tower”
The writer explains that to understand this, we need to know some of the history of the late Middle Ages, and more about modern Britain; Richard III sat on the throne for only two years, but his reign was controversial and is still present in the public consciousness for one main reason: he seized the crown from his young nephew Edward V, who was denounced as an illegitimate son shortly after his arrival. To the throne in 1483, Edward and his brother Richard – they came to be known as the “Princes of the Tower” – disappeared shortly thereafter.
The writer – who has written a newly published book on the lost king – points out that Richard’s conviction or innocence of the fate of the princes, which is arguably the largest missing persons case in British history, is particularly important in dealing with the biography of the “lost king”.
The writer considered that the first person to determine responsibility for the disappearance (or death) of the two princes was the prominent lawyer, philosopher, politician and Roman Catholic saint Sir Thomas More, as Moore’s novel – written about 30 years after Richard’s death – has been treated with varying degrees of skepticism over the past 150 years. .
Richard’s defenders denounced Moore’s account as “Tudor propaganda” (after Henry Tudor’s victory over Richard’s army in the battle in which Richard was killed), and that it came years after the event to discredit the slain king, while others focused on political philosophy in the work of Richard. Moore as a metaphorical warning of tyranny and its dangers.
Moore (1478-1535) was a political leader, author, and clergyman best known for his opposition to King Henry VIII’s divorce of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, which led to him being accused of high treason and then imprisoned and beheaded in the Tower of London, where he wrote “Dialogue of Comfort Against Adversity”.
The writer shows that in the same context; The new film is about a passion for the past and a defense of those who have been cruelly abused by the kingdom’s official historical record. There are those who believe that the king – who died bravely fighting for his cause against Henry Tudor during the Wars of the Roses – was falsely accused of murdering young princes.
The Wars of the Roses is a civil war that lasted 3 decades (1455-1485) in the United Kingdom between families competing for the royal throne, and took its name from a play by Shakespeare, where the red rose was the emblem of the House of Lancaster (including the victorious Tudor) and the white rose was the coat of arms of the House of York (including Richard III). the murdered).
Literature and evidence
The writer says that his research reinforces the importance of Moore’s account of Richard’s guilt, which was later circulated vigorously by William Shakespeare a century after the king’s death, noting that the focus should be on the links and continuity between Moore’s world and England in 1483 of which he writes; His research shows that Moore was not only writing great literature and political philosophy, but was writing about real people.
The writer notes that Moore’s history provides precise circumstantial details of the focal point of the kingdom’s succession crisis in 1483; It was also remarkable – and also pivotal – that there were so many individuals who were still alive at the time of Moore’s writing, the survivors and their immediate families, so it deserves to be treated more seriously as history rather than as propaganda or fiction or theory.
According to the writer, the new film revisits the contemporary tension between amateurs and enthusiasts on the one hand and professional expertise on the other, as the film presents an attractive message that ordinary members of the audience can confuse academic experts, upset tradition, and achieve breakthroughs and discoveries, as did the film’s heroine who discovered The remains of the lost king.
In addition to Richard III being an extraordinary king, who might be accused of murder and tyranny, he is also one of the few kings to have an audience dedicated to enhancing his reputation; The Richard III Society (named after him) has more than 3,200 members and 30 groups in the United Kingdom, as well as chapters in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States.
The writer asks why there is such a determination to absolve Richard III of his alleged misdeeds, answering that there are some explanations in the fact that Richard’s death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 marked the end of the Wars of the Roses – when power changed – and is often considered an occasion to celebrate the transition of Main between medieval and modern.
Therefore, Richard represents the last era of the Middle Ages, which began to seem – since the late 18th century – legendary and has a growing admiration and nostalgia, such as the lavishness on the novels of the Scottish Sir Walter Scott (died 1832), or the fascination with the arts of the architect William Morris (died 1896), and others. From architects to musicians of past centuries.
According to the author, Richard III’s time in northern England before he acceded to the throne, and his celebration of his association with the North when he became king, made him for some the champion of the North against the South, an increasingly prominent topic in contemporary debate throughout the 20th century, and even today in the United Kingdom It is therefore not surprising that many of the contributions to the study of Richard’s life and reign may also address topics within and outside the traditional confines of medieval history.
A prime example of this, as the writer mentioned, is Elizabeth Mackintosh’s famous 1951 novel The Daughter of Time (written as Josephine Tay), which tells the story of a police inspector who works through a series of historical “clues” to clear Richard of being the prime suspect in The disappearance of princes.
Also in the 1950s came Laurence Olivier’s still famous cinematic version of Shakespeare’s “Richard III”, which he wrote in the preface that it is a legend, which strongly means that the play’s condemnation of Richard should not be treated as an honest portrayal of the real king, Those behind the film did not come from traditional (official) historical institutions.
The writer concludes his article by emphasizing that one of the essential features of this phenomenon is that the “truth” is likely to be reached by seeking action outside the traditional symptoms, perhaps by an ordinary man or woman in the street, as we saw in the movie “The Lost King”, and then Even with archival research, archeology and forensic science open up more avenues for understanding Richard III and his era, and until then the “Lost King” will remain the most controversial monarch in British history.