Richard III: A Villain or a Victim of a Successful Propaganda?

On Monday, scientists from the University of Leicester are to finally reveal the results of DNA that will tell us whether the bones discovered in a Leicester car park last year belong to Richard III. But while we are waiting for the results, perhaps we could have another look at the King and reassess his reign and personality.

And indeed, what do we know about the last Plantagenet Monarch? And what of we know is accurate or just a plain character assassination? Was he a monster depicted in Shakespeare’s famous play? Did he kill his young nephews and usurp the Throne? Why did he lose the Battle of Bosworth Field and how did he die? Unfortunately, none of those questions could actually be answered conclusively but I will try to draw as unbiased a portrait as possible.

Richard III and his wife, Anne Neville

Richard III and his wife, Anne Neville

Richard was born as the eighth and youngest child of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville both of whom had strong claims to the Throne of England. From an early age, Richard was a staunch supporter of his brother’s quest to claim the Crown. After Edward finally ascended to the English Throne (for the first time) in 1461, Richard was named the Duke of Gloucester.

Of all their siblings, it is indisputable Edward IV had the most trust in his youngest sibling, and the latter never disappointed him; throughout Edward’s reign, he was a loyal, caring and dedicated brother. Perhaps even more importantly, he proved to be an able commander; Richard played crucial roles in the battles of Tewkesbury and Barnet that resulted in Edward reclaiming the Throne from Henry VI.

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Day in History – January 18: 800 Years Since The Death of Queen Tamar of Georgia

Queen Tamar and King George III of Georgia

Queen Tamar and King George III of Georgia

One of the greatest and most beloved Monarchs in Georgian history died on January 18, 1213.  Her reign saw the Golden Age of Georgia when the Kingdom prospered and became the foremost power in the Caucasus, successfully repelling many foreign attacks. Tamar’s titles during her lifetime were “By the will of God, King of the Abkhazians, Kartvelians, Arranians, Kakhetians and Armenians, King of Kings and Queen of Queens of all the East and West, Glory of the World and Faith, Champion of the Messiah”.

Tamar was born in 1160 to George III and his wife, Queen Burdukhan (daughter of the King Khuddan of Alania). The couple had only two daughters, Tamar and Rusudan (who married Manuel Komnenos and whose sons founded the Empire of Trebizond). Tamar’s name is of Hebrew origin; the House of Bagrationi claimed direct descent from the biblical King David and Hebrew names were often used. (more…)

Day in History – January 18: King Naresuan of Siam defeats Crown Prince Minchit Sra of Burma in a personal battle

Naresuan the Great

Naresuan the Great

On 18 January 1591, King Naresuan the Great killed Prince Minchit Sra of Burma in a single elephant combat, marking the end of Burmese invasion. The battle is one of the epic moments in Thai military history and the day is now commemorated as Royal Thai Armed Forces Day.

Naresuan was born as Prince Naret on 25 April 1555, the son of King Maha Thammarachathirat and Queen Wisutkasat (herself daughter of a prominent noble, Maha Chakkrapat and Queen Sri Suriyothai). Growing up, the Prince was very close to his younger brother and elder sister. The three royal children had very different personalities, however; Naret was nicknamed The Black Prince for his strict character and devotion to discipline, Ekathotsarot (the younger brother) was known as The White Prince for his kind and considerate character, while Suphankanlaya (their elder sister) is remembered as the Golden Princess for her fair character and adherence to chivalric honour. The warm relationship between the three of them would be maintained for the rest of their lives; Naret and Ekathotsarot especially were not only brothers but friends and allies. (more…)

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