Richard III

Richard III reigned for only two years, one of the shortest reigns in the history of the monarchy. Few monarchs have been accused of so much, however: at various times and by various people, Richard has been accused of usurping the throne; murdering the real king and the king's brother (his young nephews, known as the Princes in the Tower); murdering Henry VI and his son Edward; murdering a guard; forcing his wife Anne into marriage with him; murdering her; and some more minor charges. He has also been accused of being ugly, a hunchback, whose outer appearance conveniently mirrors the darkness of his soul.

With a very few exceptions here and there, these claims were not disputed until the nineteenth century. Those interested in Richard now fall roughly into two camps: the traditionalists, those who largely believe the above claims (or at least that Richard murdered the Princes in the Tower), and who are largely historians, and the revisionists or Ricardians, who dispute those claims hotly, and are largely amateur historians. The historians tend to rely on the textual evidence; the revisionists point out that these sources are not always in agreement and, further, that most of them were written after Richard's death, in the reign of his political enemy, Henry VII.

The Sources—Reliable or Not?
The Fate of the Princes in the Tower
The Case Against Richard III
The Case Against Henry VII
The Case Against the Duke of Buckingham

Home | Next