I have always been fascinated by Richard and growing up in Leicester felt a particular affinity with him. Shakespeare’s description of him never sat comfortably with me and so eventually, I joined the Richard III Society. I wonder why some of us have such a passion for history and sometimes feel personally involved with the lives of those whom we cannot ever really know. For me historical figures, no matter what their status at birth, are simply people with the same foibles and flaws that we possess today. That is one thing Shakespeare got right, people don’t change though their circumstances and environments do.
Was Richard an evil murderer, intent on killing those who stood in his way of the throne? Not, judging by the evidence. In fact, up until his brother, King Edward IV died, he was an extremely loyal, fair, hard working and brave brother. What could have made him change character so completely? It’s a question I have no answer to. I am sure, however, that over the next few years there will be many historians who will revisit the story of Richard III and hopefully some of them may come closer to a realistic conclusion.
I am, of course, delighted he will be finally laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral.