Monday, May 26, 2014

War of the Roses Redux: The Ending

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain. ~ William Shakespeare, Richard III

In November, I reported that the body of Richard III was being fought over in British courts. In case you haven't been paying attention, the body of everyone's favorite villainous monarch was found in a Leicester, England, car park. The skeleton showed obvious signs of scoliosis (Richard's hunchback) and severe trauma to the head from daggers and/or swords (Richard got whacked in battle at Bosworth Field). But the clincher was DNA testing of samples from the skeleton and from Richard's nearest living relative. Put it all together and you had as much of a sure thing as archaeology and biology can give in terms of an identification.

Since Richard III had been a king and all, it was decided that bygones should be bygones, and he should get a proper burial. That's when it got strange because the bones of a king who had been despised and overthrown violently were now desired by not one but two communities. One was Leicester, where he was found, and the other was York, represented by the Plantagenet Alliance. You can read the earlier piece to get the details.

To make a long story short, the issue has been decided in the favor of Leicester, who will build him a lovely little burial place in Leicester Cathedral where the tourists can come to see him, because this whole thing seemed to come down to that.

The Plantagenet Alliance insisted that Richard would have wanted to be planted on the old homestead in York. Well, maybe, but I suspect, as a king, he probably would have planned on being buried in Westminster Abbey, where other monarchs got interred.

It just didn't work out that way.