10 King Richard III facts which you might not have known are revealed by the author David Baldwin…
2022 marks the 10 year anniversary since the remains of King Richard III of England were found beneath a car park in Leicester.
In 2012 the remains of Richard III were discovered under a car park in Leicester. A lengthy battle happened between the city of York and the city of Leicester over who had the right to bury the remains. In May 2014 the High Court ruled that Richard III’s body should be reinterred in Leicester.
Author of biography Richard III, David Baldwin, shares some of the secrets his research has unearthed.
1. He had many, many siblings
Richard was his parents’ 11th child, and their fourth son to reach adulthood. No one would have supposed that he would ever become king.
2. He fled to Europe…twice
Richard was twice forced to seek safety in Europe. The first time was in 1461 after his father was killed at the Battle of Wakefield, and the second in 1470 after Warwick the Kingmaker had deposed his brother King Edward IV.
3. He was very little
It has been suggested that Richard’s scoliosis would have reduced his height to below 5 feet – he would have cut a diminutive figure beside his 6ft 4in-tall brother Edward IV.
4. He once held power in Wales
Richard was given extensive responsibilities in Wales in 1469 and the beginning of 1470. It was only after, (and as a result of), Warwick the Kingmaker’s rebellion, that his authority was transferred to Yorkshire and the north of England.
5. He was related to his wife
Richard’s wife, Anne Neville, was his first cousin once removed. Her father, Warwick the Kingmaker, who he helped defeat at the Battle of Barnet, was his first cousin.
6. He claimed his nephews were illegitimate
Richard based his claim to be the rightful king on the allegation that his brother Edward IV’s marriage was invalid. The implication was that all Edward’s children, including the ‘Princes in the Tower’, were illegitimate and could not succeed to the throne.
7. He lost both his wife and son
Richard was bereaved of both his wife and only legitimate son, Edward, during the two years he reigned as king. He was hoping to marry a Portuguese princess at the time of his death.
8. His greatest rival was also family
Richard and his great rival Henry Tudor (King Henry VII) are both descended from John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. Richard is their great-grandson, and Henry their great-great grandson.
9. His reign was the shortest since the Battle of Hastings
Richard’s reign of two years and two months was the shortest of all the crowned, post-Conquest rulers of England.
10. He is the only English king to be killed in battle since 1066
Richard is the only English king to be killed in battle since Harold at Hastings in 1066. He suffered no fewer than nine separate head wounds, two of which would have proved fatal.
Read David Baldwin’s biography of the notorious king for more Richard III facts. Richard III, is published by Amberley for £8.99.