The Windsor Wedding, and a look back at Richard III and the fall of the House of York

I have lost any interest I once may have had in the present British Royal Family; in fact, I think Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles are actively devoted to the destruction of what is left of Britain, so I am opposed to the Windsor lineage and think Britain would do well to replace them. I have, accordingly, paid no attention to the wedding. But a friend who takes great interest in the Royals tells me she was up at 5 a.m. this morning and saw the whole thing, and that it was splendid—Christian and traditional and done in the finest manner all the way. No female priests were seen.

No matter how decadent the British are in substance, they still have the ability to put on a great ritual, and that says something.

Laura Wood writes approvingly and at more length about the Royal Wedding, here.

By the way, this is, as far as I can remember, the first time that a British king or a prince in line for the throne has married a commoner since Edward IV of the House of York married Elizabeth Woodville in the late 15th century, with rather large and negative consequences. After Edward’s death at age 40 in 1483, the marriage was declared non-existent by the parliament because of a previous betrothal Edward had made with another woman. The effect was to remove Edward and Elizabeth’s two sons, then aged 12 and 9 (the older being King Edward V) from the succession and to allow Richard of York, the younger brother of Edward, to be made King Richard III. The boys, held in the Tower of London, which was then a Royal Castle, subsequently disappeared and were presumed murdered.

From Richard’s point of view, as told in Paul Murray Kendall’s Richard the Third (1955), an account of the entire period of the Wars of the Roses and one of the most interesting books I have ever read, Richard had no choice but to push the boys aside. The reason was that after the death of Edward, the Woodville family began reaching for power over the state and were intending to kill Richard in order to attain it. In my view, whether Richard was responsible for the subsequent murder of the boys, once he had successfully deposed his nephew, is an open question. There are reasoned arguments on both sides of the issue. In any case, the disappearance of the boys predictably outraged England (a strong reason that Richard, an intelligent man, would not have had them killed) and led to the uprising against Richard led by Henry Tudor. Henry’s forces defeated and killed Richard at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, the second and last time since the Conquest that an English king was killed in battle, bringing to an end the 331 year long reign of the Plantagenet line and inaugurating the Tudor despotism.

Henry Tudor, later Henry VII, had a distant sideways descent from Edward III, the long-lived king of the 14th century, but no basis in lineage for his claim to the monarchy. His claim was openly based on the brutal fact that having killed Richard III he was now sitting on the throne of England. The Tudor line was thus, from its very inception, based on pure power, not on any traditional notion of legitimacy. The reign of pure power was expanded by Henry VII’s son Henry VIII, the first true modern style despot in Western history.

One of the marks of Henry VIII’s despotic type of government was the pamphlet about Richard III he had written by Sir Thomas More, which portrayed Richard as a monstrous hunchback and drooling assassin. Through Shakespeare’s play, More’s horribly false picture of Richard forever established the world’s image of him. In reality, Richard was a normal,—and, as we can see from the only living portrait of him—thoughtful, introspective, and comely man. The style of government by unrelenting character assassination of political opponents, begun by Henry VIII, is still a distinguishing feature of modern politics and particularly of the modern left.

One of the lessons of the story being, if the easy-going Edward IV had not married into the grasping Woodville family, whose reach for power required Richard, in simple self-defense, to depose and imprison his nephew, the disastrous fall of the Yorkist monarchy, and, one could argue, of medieval England itself, would not have occurred.

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Ron L. writes:

I certainly hope His and Her Royal Highness, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, tidings of joy and plenty on the occurrence of their wedding. However what is the point of following the Royal Wedding? The German imports sit pretty as the UK loses its sovereignty and heritage. They smiled as Labour purposely imported aliens for political reasons and to end unity and common culture in the UK. The titular head of the Church of England sits on her powdered behind as the Church becomes a gay multicultural dead zone.

Prince Charles regularly bows to Islam. His ex-wife died with her Muslim lover. The British Monarchy has been a sham for over a century, and they stopped having any merit in the 1950s.

LA replies:

Ron’s last points go too far. But I am in complete agreement that the current Royal Family is on board with the destruction of England by Diversity.

LA writes:

I initially wrote that Richard III was the only Engish king who was killed on the field of battle. That was not correct, and I’ve changed it. Richard I also died in battle, while beseiging a castle in France. Also, I was speaking of kings since the Conquest, not of the Anglo-Saxon kings.

We all know Shakespeare’s picture of a villainous Richard desperately crying, “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.” In reality, in the middle of the battle of Bosworth Field, which up to that point had been evenly divided, an ally of Henry Tudor’s suddenly arrived on the scene with a new force of men on horseback. Richard, on horseback, seeing that the tide was shifting against him, in a last gasp effort rode with a group of his men against the newcomers, who surrounded him, overpowered him, and killed him. No king of England had ever died such a death.

LA writes:

Here is the portrait of Richard that appears in the frontispiece of Kendall’s book, which many people now believe is the most genuine portrait. In it, Richard is sensitive, thoughtful, and troubled. It was this sympathetic and engaging portrait which launched the modern re-evaluation of Richard, starting with Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time.


However, another writer, Frederic Hepburn, argues that the “nice” portrait was made a hundred years after Richard’s death.

Meanwhile, Pamela Tudor-Craig says that the most genuine portrait, probably made during Richard’s life, is the one in the Society of Antiquaries:


Tudor-Craig writes:

Only one panel painting of Richard III could have been taken from the life, perhaps in the last few months of his reign, and that is the round-topped portrait in the Society of Antiquaries. With its pair, of Edward IV, it can be traced back to the Paston/Knyvett families of Norfolk, who were of consequence in Richard’s reign, but could have had no reason to acquire images of the Yorkist kings in Tudor days. The delicary of the observation, the exact description of appropriate jewellery and costume, the sensitive face and long delicate fingers, speak of no trace of vilification. Propaganda was to enter the topic of Richard III’s physique as soon as his body was dragged from Bosworth field.

Descriptions of Richard’s appearance made during his reign indicate a very lean man, perhaps small—at least in contrast to his 6’3” brother, Edward—but rather naturally they breathe nothing of deformity. Archibald Whitelaw, Archdeacon of Lothian, made a speech praising Richard in 1484: “Never had so much spirit or greater virtue reined in so small a body.” …

In view of its dissemination so soon after Richard’s death, and the principle that propaganda is better at exaggeration than invention, the observation of uneven shoulders is probably based on fact. The rest is Tudor legend.

In our present state of knowledge, therefore, the round-topped portrait of Richard III in the Society of Antiquaries appears to be the most authentic likeness of him, as it is, with the sketches in the Rous Yorkist Roll and the Beauchamp Pageant, the only representation made with no intention to slander the King.

Whether the sensitive portrait in the Kendall book or the somewhat harsher portrait in the Society of Antiquaries is the most genuine, both of them show Richard as a normal and thoughtful man, not the monster of Shakespeare’s play.

My larger point is this: what the Tudors did to Richard III, turning him into a subhuman monster in order to legitimize their own reign, is what liberalism is doing to white America and Western man. And after non-liberal whites have completely lost their power and have no ability to defend themselves, the distortions will become much greater.

Anita K. writes from Canada:

The talk about Richard reminds me of a book I read a long time ago, which remains worthwhile: the detective story The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey.

Tey wrote a number of detective stories, and more serious stuff too.

The “Daugher of Time” is Truth. In it she establishes the essential goodness of Richard III, and shows how those who come after (…. the “sainted More”) can twist history to their liking, and that one needn’t take everything that’s written down as gospel. It’s an entertaining read, which she builds around the temporary invalidity of her detective hero.

When I first read it, I was reminded of a saying of my maternal grandfather’s: “le papier est fort docile” (we were French-speaking)—meaning that paper is quite docile—it will accept whatever is written on it, true or false.

Not only that, but I was quite put out by the fact that when I was in high school in Vancouver, we were fed the Shakespeare crookback version, and it was only through reading Tey’s book that I learned that Richard III had long been exonerated….

LA replies:

He has not been exonerated. That is not correct. It is still entirely possible that he had his nephews killed. We don’t know the truth. There are various theories, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. In my view, it is more likely that the Duke of Buckingham had them killed, without Richard’s knowledge. But that is one view, not established fact.

Richard has been largely exonerated of the host of other murders and villanies that were attributed to him. But who murdered the boy king and his brother in the Tower is an open question.

Anita K. replies:
Well, Mr. Auster, Miss Tey was not the only one, and she gave some good evidence, one of the items being the people saying:

“this day was our good King Richard piteously slain and murdered…. ” and so on.

Plus, there is this, on another site than the wiki on R. III:

“He was plotted against and betrayed, killed in battle, stripped, mutilated, flung over a horse and sent through the battlefield where his troops lay dying. Long after his death he was blamed for the murder of his own nephews, who may have outlived him, and of his brother George, whose execution he protested.

He was Richard III of England, the most slandered king in history.

For centuries his name has stood for murder of the foulest kind. Yet there is no proof whatsoever of his guilt, and, when the rumor and biased testimony of those who benefited from his ruin are stripped away, no motive for murder remains. But how difficult it is to see the truth with any clarity, when for five hundred years nearly every text on the subject was taken from the tainted evidence of Sir Thomas More.”

Cui bono, Mr. Auster? As the above says: no motive. I stand with my exonerated, a view gained from various sources ever since I read the Tey book.

LA replies:

You’re ignoring the fact that Richard had his nephews, one of whom was King Edward V, imprisoned in a Royal Castle, then he had the Parliament on a rather strained basis declare them illegitimate and strip them of the right of succession to the throne; and then, some time later, still being held in the Tower of London, they were murdered. To say that Richard had no motive whatsoever for murdering them, and that there was no evidence whatsoever for his murdering them (he had deposed and imprisoned them, and he had become King in their stead, and they were still in prison and in his power), is a weak argument.

The Tey book is good, a good introduction to the subject, but it gets a bit emotional in its approach and is far from the last word on the subject. Kendall’s book, while also leaning toward Richard’s innocence but not exonerating him, presents a far more careful and balanced examination of the issue.

May 5

William A. writes:

As a Ricardian of long standing, I was delighted to see your recent post about the last Plantagenet King. There’s one additional comment I would like to make.

Richard was an experienced and capable military commander, whose courage on the battlefield was well known, and of course evident at Bosworth.

However, his actions following Henry Tudor’s landing in England appear to have lacked strategic sense, to say the least.

One would have thought that Richard would have taken the arsenal from London to York, where he was so loved that even after his death, the men of York unhorsed and summarily hanged the traitor Henry Percy.

I think that following the death of his son and heir and of his wife, Anne Neville, Richard was clinically depressed and not thinking at all clearly. He hurried to meet Henry Tudor’s forces, and then when Percy’s treason was apparent during the battle, rushed in to his death, no longer valuing his life or understanding his importance to England.

The Tudor tyranny which ensued was redeemed by the success of Elizabeth I, without which we’d have a very different view of how things turned out.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments about the last legitimate King of England.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 29, 2011 04:28 PM | Send

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