Richard III King of England 1483 -1485
As an avid reader of historical fiction with a particular fondness for books set during the War of the Roses, it is with great interest that I view the news issued today that the finding of bones during an archaeological dig in a car park in Leicester in 2012 , are "beyond reasonable doubt" those of King Richard III, the last Plantagenet King who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
Although the skeletal evidence suggests that the king had a curvature deformity of the spine , this is a long way from the maligned portrait depicted by William Shakespeare in his play, Richard III,
" Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York,
And all the clouds that loured upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments,
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamped, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them,—
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun"
King Richard III. Act i. Sc. 1.