Richard IIIRichard ReconWell, the announcement confirming the finding of the bones of Richard III certainly seems to be creating a buzz in the corner of the blogsphere in which ol’ Robbo habitually lurks.  I have known about this biznay for some months now, but I suppose today puts the O-fficial stamp of authenticity on the thing.

Personally, I’m glad his remains have been rediscovered.  And I hope that they will be reinterred with fitting dignity.

Of course, the news reignites the long-standing debate about what sort of person and monarch Richard really was.  Predictably, there are those who cling to Shakespeare’s near-caracature of him as the “not in the giving vein” epitome of naked villainy.  Just as predictably, there are those who insist he was a great man outrageously libeled for political purposes.

Ol’ Robbo, upon reflection, tends to take a middle view of things.  On the one hand, Shakespeare had every reason to turn Richard into the monster with whom we are most familiar today:  During the reign of Elizabeth I, only a complete maniac would pen anything that would even remotely call into question the Tudors’ usurpation of his throne.  On the other hand, one must consider the old adage about smoke and fire.  Richard was the last of the medieval monarchs, standing on the very threshold of the Renaissance.  Politicks wasn’t exactly beanbag in those days.  Or, to quote W.S. Gilbert’s Pirate King, “Many a king on a first class throne/if he wants to call his crown his own/Must manage somehow to get through/more dirty work than ever I’ll do!”

(Don’t, by the way, misunderstand me.  I happen to think that the High Medieval Period was a Very Good Thing and has been greatly maligned by the modernskiis.  William Manchester’s A World Lit Only By Fire is absolute rubbish.)

One thing I seriously do hope is that the press nickname for Richard of “the Carpark King”, bestowed due to the location of his grave, quickly fades away.  Whatever you may think of the man personally, the Crown deserves more respect than that.

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