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My Kingdom For A Car Park

February 5th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor
Just hours ago, conclusive evidence confirms the remains of King Richard III which were unearthed in September 2012 under (of all places) a car park.  I can’t help but think of the lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s song “they paved paradise, put up a parking lot” and welcome the news with a giddy mix of emotions. Just last winter Michael and I had the good fortune to attend a play at the BAM Harvey Theater in Brooklyn to watch Kevin Spacey’s riveting performance of the ill fated king. If the real King Richard was anything as charismatic as Mr. Spacey, this gooseflesh feeling spans 500 years.
But now that his remains have been identified, there is still the lingering mystery on whether or not Richard was actually the villain that disposed of the two young princes, twelve year old Edward and nine year old Richard. The older brother destined for the throne stood in the way of Plantagenet’s Richard, and was shortly declared illegitimate owing to the invalid marriage of his parents, thereby eliminating the young boy as king. As Lord Protector, Richard had the two boys confined to the Tower where they were often seen playing among the battlements. Then one day they simply disappeared. Richard, though never formally accused, never opened an investigation into the matter of his nephews.  It wasn’t until 1674 that the skeletons of two children were found under the staircase during renovations. They were determined to be that of the two princes and reburied in Westminster Abbey.
Richard is generally believed to be the culprit as reputed by Shakespeare. Yet others insist he was a victim of propaganda and is portrayed as a kindly king with a “greatness of soul”. There’s even a Richard III Society founded in 1924 dedicated to the improvement of his reputation. But it seems they’ve much work to do. After five centuries, poor Richard is still demonized.
Nevertheless, the remains of Richard III will be reburied next year in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral just a stone’s throw from where his bones were found. No doubt, under much pomp and circumstance as befitting an English monarch. I, for one, would like to give Richard the benefit of the doubt and tip my hat to the goodly king. After all, I am American and you wouldn’t have me curtsey, would you?
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3 Responses to “My Kingdom For A Car Park”

  1. Michael Tabor Says:

    Picture of the skeleton in the NYT … Richard III was indeed profoundly disfiigured. This is a nice little blog Magdalena, and I’m certainly glad that historians will perhaps now get the historical record straight and redress this unjustly maligned figure.

  2. magdalena Says:

    Check out BBC.com for a look at how they reconstructed his face based on images of his skull. There are no known portraits of Richard done during his lifetime so any paintings we have of him are mere representations based on what we do know of him. Yet the finished sculpture of his head looks surprisingly similar to that of the existing portraits of him. However, it was constructed using only scientific information remaining unbiased to any rendition previously made of his image.

  3. Sandy Says:

    That’s a brilliant answer to an ineetrsting question

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