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King Henry VII is crowned – 30th October 1485

Posted By on October 30, 2018

On this day in history, 30th October 1485, the founder of the Tudor dynasty, Henry Tudor, was crowned King Henry VII at Westminster Abbey. Henry had come to the throne after his forces defeated those of King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22nd August 1485.

Raphael Holinshed, the Tudor chronicler, recorded Henry’s coronation:

“[…] with great pomp he rowed unto Westminster, and there the thirtieth day of October he was with all ceremonies accustomed, anointed, and crowned king, by the whole assent as well of the commons as of the nobility, and called Henry the seventh of that name: which was in the year of the world 5452, and after the birth of our Lord 1485, in the forty and sixth year of Frederick the third then emperor of Almaine, Maximilian his son being newly elected king of the Romans, in the second year of Charles the eight then king of France, and in the five and twentieth of king James then ruling the realm of Scotland.”

Here is my 60-second history video on King Henry VII:

16 thoughts on “King Henry VII is crowned – 30th October 1485”

  1. Michael Wright says:

    What an unlikely King. Virtually no claim to the English throne but he did have a couple of things Richard did not: Swiss pikemen using new tactics with an old weapon and the undecided Stanley’s at the last minute choosing to back the ‘usurper’ and changing English history forever. I wonder who would be the monarch today had Richard III won Bosworth and would there still have been a civil war at some point? Single events can have such a huge effect on the unfolding of history.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Well we know one thing, Richard would not have been challenged again as his victory would have been seen as Divine. He would have married Joanna of Portugal and given England good laws.

      Well, hopefully, but of course there are those pesky ex Princes lurking around and who may or may not have gained support as adults. In that case Richard would have to deal with such a challenge and the inevitable outcome may not be pleasant for his nephews, executed perhaps. However, given such a victory at Bosworth, a distinct lack of support and an arrangement for their protection is more likely. Both scenarios have been imagined in various alternative history novels. The most recent one has Richard marry Mary of Guelders the widowed Queen of James iii and envisions a unity with England and Scotland as one Kingdom, 100 years before it happened. Richard successfully invaded Scotland in 1482 and had a good relationship with the Northern Kingdom. Such an alliance is not without reason. However, this is what we know: soon after the death of Queen Anne in March 1485 Ambassadors were sent to Portugal to enquire about the sister of the King, Joan or Joanna, a lady of about 30,_but also promised to holy orders. She agreed to accept Richard if he lived through the challenge of Henry Tudor, having had a vision to the contrary. Most popular theories have this marriage take place afterwards and a continuation of the House of York because of this. Ironically Joanna was even more a true descendant of the older House of Lancaster so this too would have been a unity of both Houses. Another candidate for Richard’s hand was the younger Isabella of Castile, sister to Katherine of Aragon. She too was a descendent to the House of Lancaster. Her mother had been a proposed bride for Richard as a young Duke of Gloucester before she chose Ferdinand of Aragon and United the Kingdom of Spain.

      There are all kinds of proposed scenarios as to how history might pan out but in reality it is difficult to look beyond something which might be because it has already been put in motion. Some people believe there would be no break from Rome, no destruction of the monasteries because they were born from the desires of one man, Henry Viii who needed a son and heir. As Henry would not exist none of this would occur. There is also the question of the Reformation, which might still have happened, but certainly not as it did and England would still be a Catholic country. The Book trade would certainly have taken off as Richard made laws to encourage the printing of books and people to come to England and set up as book sellers and printers. There would not have been the same abuses of Magna Carta as Henry Viii made and more laws would have favoured the ordinary people. Beyond this, we can only roam with imagination and write a novel or three.

      Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond and even then illegally calling himself this title as it was removed from his family and given to the Herbert family who served Edward iv and Richard iii, was indeed a most unlikely King. He had a third of the numbers of Richard and his royal armies. He did have Welsh and Swiss pikemen, but he also had some experience from the other side as well. In the Earl of Oxford he had a veteran. Henry couldn’t rely on Sir William or Lord Thomas Stanley with their professional redcoats but he was lucky in that they were given an opportunity by Richard himself. This part of the Battle is hotly debated but the reasons behind Richard iii charging straight at Henry Tudor are still unknown. Two theories tend to prevail. One is that his own veteran commander, John Howard, Duke of Norfolk had been killed leading his vanguard and that meant that without a commanding officer, his men began to lose heart. Richard knew this and intended to rally the troops behind him and end it by example. The other, more plausible theory says that Richard, aware his vanguard for some reason was hard pressed, saw Henry, himself in a,pickle and gathered his elite troops and charged Henry intending to kill him and end the Battle. He charged and took out two standard bearers, killing William Brandon, father of Charles Brandon, and knocking off his horse, the giant, Sir John Cheney. His own standard bearer, Percival had his legs cut off and died. Richard was within striking distance of Henry who used his pikemen to push him back. Gathering for a second charge, at some point Richard was unhorsed and fought on foot. Seeing a golden opportunity, Sir William Stanley, whealed around and charged behind Richard, clattering into his men and a crush followed. In the chaos Richard and most of his elite men were killed, Richard was easily identified by his crown, welded to his helmet. A Welshman called Rhys ap Thomas was said to have struck the blow from the war hammer which killed him. Northumberland may not have taken part but he didn’t because he was hindered by the landscape, not because he chose not to fight for his King. Henry, the unlikely nobody found himself with Richard’s crown on his head.

      Now, finally King by virtue of his trial in battle, Henry Vii was formally crowned in a typically grand ceremony, although his predecessor and son did it with even greater pomp. He had to be crowned alone as he couldn’t yet marry Elizabeth of York, who was still in legal limbo. He had to show he was here on his own merits, not because of his future wife and stake his own authority. He also could not call Parliament without being crowned. He needed Parliament to confirm his legitimacy to be King and to legalise his claim that anyone who fought against him at Bosworth was a traitor. Henry had post dated his reign to the day before. Now this is not quite as sinister as it first appears. Henry gave anyone involved time to come and accept him or face the consequences. I can’t recall the exact number of people attained but it was quite small and very few faced anything more than imprisonment. This included Thomas Howard, the new Duke of Norfolk, who had been injured and captured at Bosworth and whose father had died fighting for King Richard. He was demoted to Earl of Surrey and put in the Tower, were he remained until Henry needed him a few years later, handed over some property and went on to serve both Tudor Kings.

      Henry’s first Parliament also reversed the Titular Regis which confirmed the claim to the Crown of Richard iii and the illegitimate status of the former Princes, Edward and Richard and their sisters. As his promised wife was legally illegitimate, and, therefore could not inherit the crown, Henry as things stood could not marry her either. Thus Elizabeth was made legitimate again and now as a Royal Princess she was the Plantagenet heiress, assuming her brothers were dead. Henry would be making them legitimate as well by this Act and he had a problem which required them to remain dead. This is why he is unlikely to have searched for them or said anything about their fate or known. If they turned up alive, Henry Tudor would be in a right pickle. However, he had promised to marry Elizabeth, he had a slender claim via his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort and he pushed on to have the Pope give them permission for their wedding, which took place on 18th January 1486. Henry didn’t have an easy time over the next fifteen years as rivals and York Princes came out of the woodwork, but he did build a Dynasty and passed the crown peacefully on to his formidable son, Henry Viii for the first time in almost a century.

  2. Christine says:

    Henry V11 certainly was a most unlikely King and when he was in his cradle, his chances of wearing Englands crown must have appeared very remote, through a series of events he happened to be crowned her King on a late October day in 1485, over five hundred years ago, his son and successor Henry V111 was also a very unlikely King in that he severed Englands link with Rome and married his long time mistress, father and son yet very unlike in appearance and character, Henry V11 is known as the victor of Bosworth and the founder of the Tudor dynasty yet he did not participate much in the famous battle, his men were at the forefront and the battle could easily have gone the other way due to the renegade Stanley who happened to be Henry’s stepfather, Richard was a fearless warrior unlike his opponent and is the last English King in Englands long and bloody history, the last of the Plantaganet’s who had ruled successfully since Henry 11, and whose name was derived from the plant that Henrys father Geoffrey of Anjou wore in his hat, the name that died on the battlefield one hot August day and left place for a new dynasty The Tudors, Henry V11 became the founder of this new dynasty which was brilliant yet short lived, no doubt he expected it to endure as long as or maybe longer than the Plantaganet’s yet it was not to be, it died with his granddaughter one hundred and eighteen years later, when the crown passed peacefully into the very capable hands of James V1th of Scotland who became the first Stuart King of England, the Tudors were flawed with one thing they were not great breeders, Henry V111 well aware of rival claimants to his father’s throne was determined a son should succeed him and secure the Tudors rather shaky hold on the crown, his relentless quest for a son became a blight on his reign and his name is spoken of today as that of a wife swopping tyrant, it could well have been one of the reasons why his daughter Elizabeth 1st never married thus condemning this brilliant new dynasty to an untimely demise, she is said to have been rather parsimonious a trait she inherited from her grandfather and unlike her famous father, never grew corpulent she was lean and straight backed, something else she may have inherited from this most unlikely King, Henry V11 did not care for the power of dress he preferred sober looking clothes and did not deck himself in glittering gems unlike his son, he had a shrewd brain and carefully amassed a huge fortune most of which Henry V111 was to fritter away, after years of strife when he died England was peaceful and prosperous and as Bq mentions the crown passed peacefully to his eager young son, that really I believe was his greatest legacy, the violent age of the Plantaganet’s the 100 years war, the warring house’s of Lancaster and York was at an end, the crown so bitterly fought after for so long was now able to pass from father to son without bloodshed.

  3. Michael Wright says:

    Something I’ve always found intriguing is Richards apparent sudden grab for the throne. From everything I’ve read Richard had a very good working relationship with his brother King Edward. I know that after Edwards death he claimed along with others Edward’s offspring to be illegitimate due to the fact that he married Elizabeth Woodville even though he had a pre-contract with someone else. But another claim that I have read is in a book called ‘The King’s Grave’ by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones. And this is a quote directly from the book: ‘One repeated the slur that Edward IV had in fact been illegitimate, a rumor first spread by Warwick and Clarence in 1469 but now according to Dominic Mancini sensationally confirmed by Richard own mother Cecily, Duchess of York who had flown into a frenzy claiming that Edward was conceived out of an adulterous Affair and that Richard Duke of York was not his real father’. (pg 124). I’ve never seen this written or even heard about it anywhere else. What are your thoughts on this. Has anybody heard or read anything else about this accusation? If true that certainly would make Richard a much stronger claimant.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      The man to ask on this was the late expert John Ashdown Hill but from vague memory Richard didn’t make such a direct claim but it was cited by Mancini who didn’t speak English but was reporting from so called eye witness reports. The main problem with Mancini is the translation by Armstrong, not the original documents. It is handy as a contemporary account of a very crucial period in the Summer of 1483. Not as much as an eye witness account as it first appears it nonetheless gives a view from the capital that more distant sources cannot give. There is a lot of discussion as to whether Richard used his brother’s potential illegitimacy or not, if he did so with Cecily Neville’s consent or even encouragement or if she even cared. His relationship with his mother remained respectful, on good terms and she supported his actions 100% as the next lawful heir to the throne.

      One thing Mancini and others agree on, though, which Philippa and Jones state is that George, Duke of Clarence and the Earl of Warwick both questioned Edward iv’s legitimacy, that George questioned it during the 1470s and it is hinted at in his attainder as is the charge that he attacked the children of Edward and EW. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because Henry Viii and Cromwell made it treason to question the legitimacy of his marriage to Anne Boleyn and their children. EW might with hindsight be seen as a more successful version of AB, although Edward had not been married to a crowned Queen for 24 years.

      The Edward and EW situation is one which most historians now accept but it was not universal at the time. Although the ascension of Richard iii was perfectly lawful and he didn’t grab the throne, although it was by the invitation of the three Estates of the Realm, about 200 plus members of Parliament and the Church and nobles, although he followed every legal rule to take the crown peacefully, there were some quarters who didn’t accept King Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury being set aside, quite naturally. The news came as a shock that Edward iv had been previously contracted to another woman while married to Elizabeth Woodville, the mother of his children. It wasn’t an unpopular event Richard coming to the throne and to be honest, later claims he was unpopular are nonsense. Was he? Who took the opinion poll? Of course Tudor and sources forcibly rewritten talk about him in negative terms, even though earlier ones do not. He certainly was popular enough with the crowds up and down the land during his progress and EW was the one who was unpopular in London. Ironically her brother Anthony, who was executed by Richard as High Constable of England while Lord Protector for his role in preventing his legal rights as such, was a very popular man. He was a very accomplished man, a very pious man and he had been on good terms with Richard. Richard was not acting out of fear or spite, but this incident is another one hotly debated. Richard had an investigation when he received the news that his brothers sons were possibly illegitimate, then they were lawfully declared so by Dr Ralph Shea and despite the claim last week on Inside the Tower of London, Richard was not crowned by himself on 26th June 1483. Richard took six days from the sermon at Saint Paul’s Cathedral to accept that he was the next lawful heir and to accept the crown. Whether it was cleverly done or not, if the boys are illegitimate, they are not entitled to inherit anything, let alone the crown, but can be granted titles. From 26th June they are not Princes but the myth persists which. began in the Victorian age of the Princes in the Tower. The legend of two little boys huddled together in fear with fair hair is nonsense. We have Thomas More to blame for that incorrect image and Victorian paintings. Mancini tells us that Edward, hardly a little boy at thirteen, well over five foot, was ill, that he was depressed, that he prayed and thought he was dead and he had medical attention. This is an after event much later in the Summer, but it doesn’t mean he was being mistreated or dying or killed. You have a doctor every day because you are ill, depressed or a hypochondriac. There was plague in the City in July 1483 and the Royal Palace of the Tower was not immune to it. Edward showed signs of inherited bone disease and other members of his family died before they were fifteen. He could have died of anything or been moved North or abroad, he wasn’t necessarily killed.

      Richard and his wife Anne were jointly crowned with pomp, cheering, merriment and great ceremony on 6th July 1483 and everything appeared fine. He was far from a tyrant, he forgave a number of traitors, much to his ruin as Lord Stanley was among them and his laws were good. Henry Tudor was also far from the bleak dark figure of Thomas Penn’s Winter King and he is a far more interesting character that people believe. He wasn’t as much as a skint flint either as his palace of Richmond and his Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey attest to much elaboration. However, he wasn’t secure for several years so he needed a good story. His glory and union of crowns were only the beginning of a long run of Tudor mythology and symbolism.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        Thank you for the additional info on Mancini. I agree with you regarding Richard’s lack of involvement in the deaths of the princes. It is just so frustrating that by all accounts he never said a word about them and their disappearance remains a mystery. A DNA on the remains found in the tower in the 17th century may answer that question but I know that Elizabeth will not allow that. I agree with her decision. Disturbing the remains for the sake of curiosity is not a good reason.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Elizabeth won’t, no, this is true, but her grandchildren may. The Riii Society have run many research sites into this and now the Lost Princes Project is searching archives everywhere for clues to what really happened to them, so you never know. If any significant information is found, then I hope a full scientific examination of the mysterious bones in the Urn in the Abbey is demanded and granted. If a license is granted, then we can get some answers. I don’t believe the bones are anything to do with two Princes, but I could be wrong. DNA can’t tell us everything either.

          We now have two female lines related to the boys from the Woodville line.
          We have the bones of Edward iv and Elizabeth Woodville and the DNA results from Richard iii.
          Tests on the hair samples from Princess Mary, sister of Henry Viii, niece of the children of Edward iv show inconclusive results although a more recent test has not yet given final results.
          More testing of hair from Edward iv contaminated.
          DNA tests on the female living relationship promising.

          So what can DNA actually tell us?

          If we get good enough results to use to compare

          If the bones in the Urn, the human ones that is are male/female
          If they are related to each other.
          Pathology.
          If they are related to the relevant members of Richard iii’s family. If they are indeed his nephews.

          Bone samples will tell us more information, such as age and carbon testing approximately age at death and era of death. We can see any evidence of disease and any evidence of violence, but as the story in More has them smoothed, that is highly unlikely. There may be evidence of other nature to help and we can see how healthy they were, their diet and status. We can see where they grew up and spent much of their childhood.

          We may or may not be able to establish how the children in the Urn died and if they did meet a bad end it won’t say who either. This is not a twenty first century investigation. We are not going to find Richard’s DNA and a murder weapon. I know, I am being sarcastic but you would be surprised what was reported in the media when the female line was identified by JAH last year. I think one headline actually claimed that DNA had already proved Richard killed the boys.

          There is a big possibility that any investigation will reveal the children not to be whom Charles ii declared them to be in 1678 because these bones were found ten feet down at a level that many believe to be Iron Age or Roman. What about all the animal bones? How did they get there? Are the chicken,pigs, sheep, birds, geese, fish and goodness knows what else from the Royal kitchen and this a dumping ground? Is this an Iron Age sacrifice? Are they connected to the human remains or not? We don’t know because the bones didn’t remain in suture and were dug up and thrown on the rubbish dump. Are the animal bones from the rubbish? Are there bones missing? Well, yes, several actually. Do they belong to more than two individuals? This is a question the original study may have gotten wrong. The two skull remains of the Duke of Clarence and his wife, examined in 2015, turned out to belong to at least three individuals. This would raise alarming questions about who they are. Even the tale by Thomas More has them reburied away from the base of the stairs in the White Tower. Now the entire tale spun by More is to be regarded with caution, but this seems to be an odd element and one which gifts Richard iii with compassionate concerns for the dead as he has a priest remove them and bury them in a more appropriate place with care. It has been speculated that this could have been the Chapel Royal in the White Tower but again we will never know as permission won’t be given to dig up the Chapel, most probably the sanctuary, let alone to look at the bones in the Urn. Personally, I think the present royal family are twitchy and worried that modern forensics will reveal the truth, that the poor children in that Urn are not Edward v and his brother, Richard of York. We don’t know what will be found but it will be the most important investigation of modern times and that makes it worthwhile. However, the one question that we won’t know is who killed them if that was indeed their fate. It’s just as possible that they lived and were smuggled abroad for their own safety as them being killed when as illegitimate, they were no threat. Richard would not kill two illegitimate heirs while leaving several legitimate ones alive. It’s a mystery which doesn’t make a lot of sense either way.

  4. Michael Wright says:

    Thank you BQ. I didn’t know a lot of that. Let’s say the bones in the urn are studied and they are not the princes. 1). Who are they. 2). It doesn’t change the succession. 3). The princes would still have a memorial. Fascinating to contemplate.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Thanks. I would recommend John Ashdown Hill’s last book, published just before his death, earlier this year: The Mythology of the Princes in the Tower. There are a couple of really good chapters on the DNA and future and the original investigation. It’s an easy and well referenced read, with all of the details laid out. It is fascinating stuff, especially as so many questions are unanswered, but then that is how history evolves. In one of the many old Kingdoms of Africa from the sixteenth century, they recently found the name of a King nobody had heard off before firstly from correspondence and lists in England and Portugal who he traded with, and then by finding his tomb. Nobody knew who this guy was, not even his own people, but he has turned out to be a great builder, a Christian King, a great scholar and his territory vast. The History now has to be written. It’s amazing what we still have to discover.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        That is so interesting about the African King! I just don’t understand people who find history boring. Thanks for the book recommendation. Are soon as I post this I will look for it.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          You are welcome.

  5. Michael Wright says:

    Something I hadn’t given much thought to in this discussion is Henry’s biggest achievement. Not that getting the throne wasn’t big but he ended the Wars of the Roses which had cost so many lives. No mean feat. Good on you Henry.

  6. John Boulter says:

    Henry had as much right as Richard did. Some even go as far as saying he had his brother Henry VI killed, did his other brother in a brandy or wine barrel. And there is very little doubt that the two Princes were killed I his orders. One in fact was not a Prince but the lawfully King. Which Richard stepped in and became the regent for him. Then went to work, say the marriage between Henry and his wife the Queen illegal . So in fact he had no right to be King, and should have been out back in the car park.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      John, thanks for your comments.

      Firstly, Henry vi was not the brother of Richard iii. He was in fact his much older second cousin.

      Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond did not have as much right to the throne as Richard iii, he was the great grandson of the illegitimate son of John of Gaunt, whose marriage to the mother, Katherine le Rote after the demise of his legitimate first and second wives, later ended with their being made legitimate. There is still controversy over if the Beaufort family were barred from the throne or not.

      Richard iii was the legitimate, youngest surviving son of Richard, Duke of York, a legitimate, grandson of Edward, Duke of York and great grandnephew of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, sons of Edward iii. Margaret Beaufort is the only tangible link to the Royal House of Henry as his mother. This doesn’t really matter as he took the crown by right of conquest, just as William the Bastard did in 1066, after the death in battle of the last direct son from the ruling house, who was legally legitimate.

      There were other nephews, in the son of his late, executed, not murdered brother, George, Duke of Clarence, imprisoned by Henry Vii and later executed by him in 1499 and the sons of Richard’s sister, Elizabeth, John de la Pole and his brothers, all of them with a better claim than Henry Tudor. Clarence was not murdered by Richard iii as Duke of Gloucester, that rubbish is from Shakespeare who was an entertainer, not a historian. He was actually tried by Edward iv and later privately executed on his orders within the Tower of London on 18th February 1478. We don’t actually know the method used but one method suggested in some chronicles who did not witness events, but are reasonable to believe so, is drowning in wine. It can’t be confirmed as there are no marks on his alleged remains in Tewkesbury, save a much healed head wound from well before death. Richard had nothing to do with it.

      There is actually considerable doubt over the fate of the former King Edward V and Prince Richard of Shrewsbury. Most contemporary evidence report only rumours, many are French and therefore not reliable, others contradict these and yet others accused the Duke of Buckingham. Most only agree on the disappearance of the so called Princes after September 1483. There is yet others who reported them as surviving and going abroad. There is no conclusive proof either way, and even Professor Pollard who believes Richard killed them and was totally justified in doing so, admits there is no conclusive proof. The sources that most of the story comes from are our good friend Sir Thomas More who even says there is doubt and was writing to please his patron, Henry Viii and whose original version was destroyed and of course the villain maker, William Shakespeare. If there is evidence you have, please send it to the Lost Princes Project, who are looking for any new evidence which might cast light on the real fate of Edward and Richard.

      Richard was the eldest surviving brother of Edward iv and was made Protector by his will for his eldest son. Richard was not even advised of his brothers death by his widow, Elizabeth Woodville who tried to hide it from him. It was Lord Hastings acting for the Council who wrote to Richard in York. The first two actions of Richard were to send condolences to EW and take public oaths of allegiance to Edward V. He then arranged to meet the new King and his escort on the road from Wales and to escort him into London. On the way things went wrong, especially with the arrival of Buckingham, who also had a claim to the throne. The exact series of events is unclear and needs careful piecing together from a variety of sources. However, at some point Richard learned of events in London were EW was causing trouble and wanted Edward rushing to his coronation. She was also causing trouble by raising the capital against Richard. Richard at some point smelled a rat and Anthony Lord Rivers the Queens brother was detained. Elizabeth, taking the treasury with her and sending her brother to take the fleet, which later returned to support Richard, swept herself, daughters and younger son into her favourite place, sanctuary in the Bishops Palace near Westminster Abbey. She also demanded the Royal Seal from Archbishop Rotherham. Richard took legal custody of his oldest nephew and also more oaths of allegiance. He entered London and the King was housed near Westminster for six days. Here he received the Lord Mayor, the Council, the Lords and citizens and public allegiances. The Council confirmed Richard as Lord Protector of England, de facto King. We don’t have Recency in England, we have Lord Protector with considerable powers. As was the custom Edward moved to the Royal Palace in the Tower of London to wait for his coronation and was fitted with robes. Normal government went on in his name.

      Things changed in mid June. At a famous Council meeting at the Tower, William, Lord Hastings who came armed was arrested for high treason and before the Court of the High Steward he was condemned and legally, if somewhat swiftly executed. Why? Again, the evidence is not entirely clear, but it is commonly held that Richard believed he had plotted with the Woodville faction and that his life was in immediate danger. Some sources are more fanciful than others but even Mancini states simply that a cry of treason was heard, that an armed affray broke out, that Hastings was arrested and executed, that Lord Thomas Stanley was hurt and arrested, but only imprisoned, along with John Morton, also later released. Other evidence says that evidence was read to the Council by Buckingham and that the population were content that nothing untoward had happened. Hastings was fairly popular but self seeking, one of the wealthiest men in England and had a large private army. Nobody thought Richard had acted illegally or had done the wrong thing. Read the sources, they all agree. Richard later became aware of information that the sons of his late brother were not legitimate because he had been married to someone else. This was given to him by Bishop Shillington who had a good character. He had in fact married Edward to Lady Eleanor Talbot and Richard did have an investigation. The information was confirmed as correct and it was now declared by Dr Ralph Shea that both boys were illegitimate and no longer had a right to the Crown. This was stunning but it is now accepted by most historians. Edward’s marriage had been questioned back in the 1470s by George, Duke of Clarence and by the Earl of Warwick and Shillington was imprisoned by Edward iv in 1478 to keep him quiet. He was also imprisoned by Henry Tudor. Edward’s marriage wasn’t legitimate, so his kids were not legitimate. That made Richard, Duke of Gloucester the next heir to the throne, perfectly legally. He took another six days to accept it. His younger nephew was moved to be with his brother and both of them moved to the Garden Tower were they were seen playing together for weeks afterwards.

      Richard was legally offered the crown by the three Estates of the Realm on 26th June 1483 by over 200 clergy, lords, barons, so on, all members of the Council and Parliament and all of the sources agree on this, so how was it illegal. This was how things were done. He couldn’t call a full Parliament until he was crowned. He was popularly accepted as King and his coronation was far more lavish and well attended than that of Henry Vii on 6th July 1483.

      Finally, I will answer the elephant in the room, Henry vi. Firstly, we don’t even know how he died. We don’t actually know when he died either. Traditionally his death is given as May 21st 1471, but the sources don’t actually agree with this date or each other. A ceremony to celebrate his life happens on this date and traditional thinking, good for the tourists says he was killed in the chapel at prayer. Rubbish! The sources don’t give any clear indication of this. Some claim he was murdered, but don’t know how or by whom, some he died of melancholy, some of mysterious circumstances, others he was killed. There is also the story that when his body was put on display, blood came from his skull. No contemporary eye witness confirmed this story. But let’s say he was killed between 21st May and 29th May 1471, well it was on the orders of King Edward iv, not Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Edward wanted him out of the way because his Dynasty had ended on the Battlefield and he couldn’t take the chance of losing his crown again. It might sound savage but that was how it was during these dynastic wars. The order can only come from Edward, not his brother. But did the eighteen year old Richard of Gloucester carry out this assassination of a once anointed King? Did Edward himself commit the act? Well, again we don’t actually know for certain because the sources are not as clear as Shakespeare claimed them to be. It is totally unclear as to whether all three brothers went to the Tower and carried out the alleged murder, if Edward sent his more reliable younger brother with sealed orders or if Edward himself was directly responsible. If Richard was responsible, then he acted on his brother’s command and Edward is just as responsible. It was Richard, however, who as King had Henry vi moved from the Abbey he was buried in to his present much grander resting place, in the Royal Chapel at Saint George in Windsor Castle.

      As to whether Richard should have been given a more Kingly burial, yes, of course he should. Your statement shows you are ignorant of how he was buried to begin with. Richard was buried in the middle of the holy choir, the most sacred space inside the Priory of the Greyfriars and he would have had a proper burial as nobody was denied one on holy ground unless they committed suicide or some crimes, proven, unrepentant crimes. Richard was a hero King, bravely killed in battle, who died in grace and who was popular in Leicester. The friars most probably provided a shroud or a habit and prayers and Mass for the dead would automatically have been sung. It’s nonsense that no ceremony was said. He wasn’t flung in the grave, he was properly aligned, although his head was placed high as it was cut in haste. This was a place of honour. Within ten years a splendid tomb was placed over him. His body survived the Reformation and monasteries being destroyed, the tomb raids of the English Civil Wars and rumours of being flung into the River. The place is a carpark because the stupid Victorians built on everything as Councils do now. Once his body was discovered by us Ricardians who are meant to be nuts and know nothing, sorry, being sarcastic, and together with academic study, it had to be reburied properly. As a King and a Christian soul his remains could not just be put back under the car park. The normal practice is to rebury in holy ground as close to the original spot as possible. Unfortunately, everyone wanted him put in different places because he was a former King and a group of 14 people with dubious claims of relationship, wanted him buried in York. A Court finally saw sense and understanding of the law and he had a proper send off in Leicester and I for one am proud to have been to his new tomb and his original tomb.

      Richard may be seen by some people as a Usurper, but so what? Henry Vii is definitely a Usurper! So was Henry iv and if you want to go by the same definition, Edward iv, who saw himself as more legitimate because of his father’s superior claim. The House of Lancaster and House of York saw each other as Usurping the Crown. So what? Does that make them poor Kings. Does that make them illegitimate or unlawful? Again, it depends who you support. Henry Tudor won his crown on the Battlefield so regardless of his legitimate claim or not that was a legal way to gain a crown. He married a woman who helped to make him more acceptable, he married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward iv and Elizabeth Woodville after he had his own Parliament make her legitimate again. His coronation without her said I have a claim for myself and enabled his own confirmation via Parliament. The production of a son within eight months of their marriage gave the new Dynasty security and legitimacy. Henry would not go unchallenged, though. He faced opposition and Princes galore. He is not given the praise he actually deserves as a decent King and he had to tough it out for over a decade, but his Dynasty was secured, at least until his granddaughter made it extinct. Even then it continued in the Stuarts, the House of Hanover and the House of Windsor.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        That was beautiful BQ.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Thanks, Michael, very kind of you.

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