King Richard III (1452-1485)

King Richard III was a Yorkist and was represented by the White rose, he was the last of the Plantagenet's.

King Richard III
King Richard III

Richard (Duke of Gloucester) was the younger brother of King Edward IV. As a child he was sent by his father (Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York) to be brought up by the most powerful nobleman in England, Richard Neville (Earl of Warwick). It was during his education at the Earl's castle in Wenslydale that Richard not only received instruction in the arts and sciences but also in chivalry, weaponry and warfare. Richard married Anne Neville which gave him great power in the North but as a result made him enemies with the Woodvilles, who were allies with his brother, King Edward IV.

1483 Edward IV died, Richard's young nephew, Edward V, should have been proclaimed King although he was only 12. Richard didn't trust Edward's relatives, especially Elizabeth Woodville whom he feared was conspiring against him, and so, just before Edward's coronation, Richard usurped the throne and made himself protector in the young Edward's place. Richard then took Edward and his younger brother, also called Richard, to the royal apartments at the Tower of London. They were never seen or heard of again and in the summer of 1483 Richard declared himself Richard III, rightful King of England.

Richard had alliance and support from the people in the North of England but the southerners distrusted him, especially after the disappearance of the two princes. This resentment was becoming dangerous for him due to the warring factions between the Houses of York and Lancaster but was to be made even greater when, in 1485, Henry Tudor returned from exile in France. Henry was a direct descendant of John of Gaunt, one of Edward III's younger sons and so had a strong claim to the throne. Richard supported his claim by arguing that Henry's grandfather, Owen Tudor, was not of high birth and therefore should not produce a line of kings and so Henry had no real right to rule.

22nd August 1485 Richard met the outnumbered forces of Henry Tudor at the in a field just out of Market Bosworth, this would be known as the Battle of Bosworth. During the battle Richard led a cavalry charge deep into the enemy ranks in an attempt to end the battle quickly by striking at Henry Tudor. Richard fought bravely and ably during this manoeuvre, unhorsing Sir John Cheyne, a well-known jousting champion, killing Henry's standard bearer (Sir William Brandon) and coming within a sword's length of Henry Tudor before being surrounded by Sir William Stanley's men.

Richard was struck down and killed in this conflict, making him the last English king to die in battle as well as the only one to have been killed on home soil. Richard's naked body was then exposed on the back of a horse on the battlefield and on the journey all the way to Leicester, before being buried at Greyfriars Church in Leicester.

The House of York
The House of York

The Discovery of Richards remains

24th August 2012 The University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, in association with Philippa Langley from the Richard III Society, announced that they had joined forces to begin a search for the remains of King Richard.

Experts set out to locate the lost site of the former Greyfriars Church which was demolished during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, and to discover whether his remains were still interred there. By comparing fixed points between maps in a historical sequence, the search located the Church of the Grey Friars, where Richard's body had been hastily buried without pomp in 1485. Its foundations identifiable beneath a modern-day city centre car park.

5th September 2012 the excavators announced that they had identified Greyfriars church, two days later that they had found a human skeleton.

12th September it was announced that the skeleton discovered during the search might be that of Richard III.

4th February 2013, the University of Leicester confirmed that the skeleton was beyond reasonable doubt that of King Richard III.

There were numerous wounds on the body, and a part of the skull had been sliced off with a bladed weapon which was most likely to be a halberd, this would have caused rapid death. The team concluded that it is unlikely that the king was wearing a helmet in his last moments.

The Mayor of Leicester announced that the King's skeleton would be re-interred at Leicester Cathedral in early 2015.

The Discovery of Richards remains 2012
The Discovery of Richards remains 2012

The re-interment of Richard III

The route King Richard III final journey
The route - King Richard III final journey

King Richard III's cortege is to happen on Sunday 22nd March 2015, the route of the funeral procession will be starting at the University of Leicester at noon and will travel to the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre via Fenn Lane Farm (site close to where the King was killed), Dadlington Church and Sutton Cheney Church.

The Bishop of Leicester will lead a short service at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre at 2pm. The cortege will then travel to Leicester Cathedral for 5:45pm via Market Bosworth, Newbold Verdon, Desford and Bow Bridge in Leicester at 4pm.

The coffin will remain in Leicester Cathedral for three days to give the public a chance to pay their respects.

Thursday 26th March 2015 The remains of the King will be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral, with an invited congregation and in the presence of the Reverend Justin Welby the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Friday 27th March 2015 King Richard III’s tomb will be revealed to the world’s media.