Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this sun of York. William Shakespeare, King Richard III
The Last Plantagenet
Richard III was crowned on July 6, 1483. He was the last of the Plantagenet’s, England’s rulers since 1154. He was also the last British king to die on a battlefield.
Portrayed as a monster in Shakespeare’s play, King Richard III, Richard is believed to have been responsible for the murders of Henry VI, Henry’s son Edward, his brother Clarence and his nephews Edward and Richard.
When Richard’s brother, Edward IV, died, Richard positioned himself to seize the throne from Edward V. The marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville was ruled bigamous, therefore rendering Edward V illegitimate and ineligible to wear the crown. After Edward and his brother, Richard of York, were imprisoned in the Tower of London Richard became king.
Months after his coronation, Richard’s assistant, Henry Stafford, attempted to install Henry Tudor to the throne. Stafford’s attempt was crushed, but Henry’s troops attacked Richard’s on August 22, 1485, at the Battle of Boswoth Field. During this, the last battle of the War of Roses, Richard was killed. After his death, England returned to a period of stability and relative normalcy.
At Richard’s death, Shakespeare’s Earl of Richmond (later King Henry VII) said:
“God and your arms be praised, victorious friends, The day is ours, the bloody dog is dead.”