This Monday, the University Of Leicester are to announce whether the bones found in a Leicester car park in September belong to England’s last King to die in battle. According to many historians, the outlook is good. There are many distinguishing features on the corpse that tally with what we already know about King Richard III.
However, other discoveries on the corpse, if it does prove to be Richard III, would mean that a lot of what we thought to be true about King Richard could actually be false.
During his life, he was actually well respected, as a military General and as a man of high moral-standing. It was only once rumours began circulating about just how he came to the throne that people began to question him.
Richard III is now widely regarded to have killed (or rather ordered the killing) of the two boy princes in the tower, King Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke Of York. Edward V was on the throne after the death of his father Edward IV, as he was under 18, he was assigned under the protection of his uncle King Richard III. However, according to the history books, he aspired much higher than regent, he wanted to be King.
The story then goes that he ordered someone else to murder the two boy Princes so that he could claim the crown to be King. He then had the two boys proclaimed as illegitimate and then, his reign as King began.
One of the most fascinating features of this corpse is its hunched back. One of Shakespeare’s plays, Richard III, portrays Richard with a hunched back – this was common belief until not too long ago when historians say they believed that Richard was indeed, not a hunchback. This could again be proven wrong, only this time with conclusive evidence. The corpse that has been found bears scoliosis of the spin, or more commonly, spine curvature. Should this corpse belong to England’s King Richard, this would once again change what we know about the last Plantagenet King.
So we’re standing by for Monday’s announcement. If it does prove to be Richard III’s corpse, this really could change everything we know about the man many believe to be the King who usurped the crown.
If you are going to release statements, please make sure you have your facts right. The corpse does not show signs of a hunchback at all. It has scoliosis (curvature), this is correct. But it does not have a hunchback. This has beern made quite clear by the University of Leicester reports.
Scoliosis is curvature of the spine. This would make someone walk with a hunch back!
I was born with a moderate to severe case of Scoliosis. The lower part of my spine has a rather pronounced S curve noticeable on X-rays. I and most suffers do not have a hunchback. I do have one hip that tends to set higher than the other when standing so it makes standing at parade rest, so to speak, for long periods of time difficult. I doesn’t effect walking, running, or horseback riding. All things that King Richard as a military leader would have had to excelled. As I never attempted sword fighting or jousting I can not speak to that, but tennis, softball and similar sports have never been a problem.
I tend to support the theory that the “hunchback” was revisionist propaganda by a later regime to soften people’s attitudes and to blacken the reputation of the losing party. No one really knows what happened to the Princes in the Tower, or if Richard had any hand in their death. In fact, their unexplained disappearance made things very difficulty throughout his reign and was used as a rallying cry for his distractors. He may have had them killed, someone close to him may have done away with them thinking they were doing him a “favor”, the opposing party may have done it to blacken his reputation, or the boys may have simply died while in the care of the Tower and someone panicked as stupid as that sounds. Many fasinating theories abound around this mystery.
Further to my previous comment. The medical term for hunchback is Kyphosis. Very different affliction to Scoliosis. Many people have Scoliosis without it being obvious in their appearance (depending on degree of severity). It is about time the long held myths which have plagued Richard’s memory are reviewed.
Scoliosis might have left Richard III with one shoulder noticeably higher than the other, same with his hips. This easily could have been exagerated into hunchback by any detractors. Since Elizabeth I was the granddaughter of the dead princes’ sister (Elizabeth of York) and the man who defeated Richard III and took his throne (Henry VII), Shakespeare’s spin would have been anti-Richard. The victors get to write the history of the defeated.
The day has come and indeed it is he, Richard III. Now the discussion begins as to where his remains should be reinterred.
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