Art & History

What is the Big Deal About Finding Richard III?

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As skeleton found under a car park in Leicester has been identified as that of King Richard III, who ruled England from 1483 to 1485. Richard has been pictured as a tyrant king. There’s a story that Richard killed his own nephews, the legendary ‘princes in the tower’ in order to usurp the throne.

Nearly a century after Richard’s death, Shakespeare describes Richard as a ‘bottled spider’, a hunchback. Since Shakespeare’s time writers and artists through history have imagined Richard as a terrifying figure, whose physical disabilities are signs of his cruel inner nature.

Some historians argue that Shakespeare must have been writing propaganda to please his queen, Elizabeth I, whose grandfather Henry VII defeated Richard in battle. These historians argue that Richard’s ‘hunchback’ is an insult made up by Shakespeare, but until now, we haven’t been able to know what the truth is.

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