Posts Tagged ‘Richard III’

Where To Plant-a-genet–act II

Posted in General on May 24th, 2014 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

In a case suitable for wigs, a British court ruled that the body of Richard III belongs to Leicester.

So Richard is stuck in Leicester. At least he no longer in a parking lot. But why should he be housed in an Anglican Church? The man was a Roman Catholic; and given his reputations with nephews, it is improbable that he would have liked a church founded by a great-nephew.

At least let Leicester’s various denominations compete for Richard’s membership. That is the Free Market way! For instance, speaking for the Leicester Hebrew Congregation, I can assure you that Yiddish sounds almost like Middle English. If you don’t believe me, sing “Canterbury Tales” to the soundtrack of “Fiddler on the Roof.” (Maybe not the Prioress’ Tale.) As for Richard himself, a slouching curmudgeon with annoying relatives, he will fit right into any Jewish congregation.

But Richard should also consider other options. Leicester does have a mosque; he could be “this Sunni of York.” The Shree Hindu Mandir would offer Richard the chance of reincarnation–but”House of Cards” and every MBA program already does. Perhaps Richard would just like to enjoy his celebrity. Unfortunately, Leicester does not have a Church of Scientology.

As for act I:

http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2013/02/16/where-to-plant-a-genet/

Where To Plant-a-genet?

Posted in General on February 16th, 2013 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Who wants the body of Richard III?  In death as in life, there would be more of a demand for Charles II.  His skeleton may yet have some aphrodisiac powers, and some Chinese billionaires might bid for that “enhancement.”  Poor scoliotic Richard is no one’s idea of a dietary supplement.  So, without such marketing allure, the site of Richard’s grave is largely a matter of etiquette.

The obvious answer might also be the most tactless one:  Westminster Abbey.  The Plantagenet family already occupies a number of sepulchres there; given that precedence–and the fact that he no longer takes up much room–Richard could be stuffed in some nook.  If Richard has to posthumously become an Anglican, it is only a formality.  He probably already is a Mormon.  No, the problem for Westminster Abbey would be the likely disapproval of its most prominent parishioner.

Although Mrs. Mountbatten seems an affable soul, she might not appreciate being reminded that she is from the bastard branch of the Lancasters.   Her ancestor Henry VII was certainly mindful of his dubious pedigree; to justify his seizure of the English throne, the new king’s first act was to vilify the late Yorkist king.  In a bill presented to Parliament, Richard was condemned for tyranny and usurpation.  The legislation also set the beginning of Henry’s reign to the day prior to the battle of Bosworth Field.  Through that remarkable casuistry, Richard became the rebel and Henry the rightful sovereign.   Parliament, either intimidated or with a delightful sense of irony, passed the bill.  The vilification of Richard became a Tudor tradition.  If you were an ambitious young bureaucrat (Thomas More) or a writer looking for patronage (a Mr. Shakespeare) just concoct some new monstrosities about Richard, and you will be handsomely rewarded.  So Richard became the diabolical hunchback.

Obviously, such a fiend would never belong in hallowed ground; and certainly not the most fashionable hallowed ground in Britain.  The idea of Richard in Westminster Abbey would be more than a burial; it would be his rehabilitation.  I can’t quite see the Queen admitting “We Tudors were such liars.”  No, Westminster Abbey is unavailable.

So where will Richard be interred?  Since the body was found in Leicester, the city has a legal claim and has announced its intention to bury him there.  But there is some sentiment and an email petition to have “this sun of York” buried in that city; however York seems reluctant to acquire the corpse, the media and the tourists.  (The town is already cashing it on “Downton Abbey”.)

And I can think of one place in London that would be an appropriate and appreciative site for Richard.  Give him an attractive urn and a good seat at the National Theater.

 

 

 

But How Will This Effect ‘Downton Abbey’?

Posted in General on February 4th, 2013 by Eugene Finerman – 4 Comments

Experts find remains of England’s King Richard III

AP

Mon Feb 4,

He was king of England, but for centuries he lay without shroud or coffin in an unknown grave, and his name became a byword for villainy.

But on Monday, scientists announced they had rescued the remains of Richard III from anonymity — and the monarch’s fans hope a revival of his reputation will soon follow.

In a dramatically orchestrated news conference, a team of archaeologists, geneticists, genealogists and other scientists from the University of Leicester announced that tests had proved what they had scarcely dared to hope — a scarred and broken skeleton unearthed under a drab municipal parking lot was that of the 15th-century king, the last English monarch to die in battle.

Lead archaeologist Richard Butler said that a battery of tests proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that the remains were the king’s.

Buckingham Palace:  When informed of the identification of Richard III, Prince Harry said, “Huh?”

Prince Philip, however, did have a better idea of Richard.  “Oh, bloody Hell.  Cement, you say. I’d rather be under a polo field.  He really was more Froggie, you know.  Plant-a-genet… What a French way to say ‘Straw.’  Cement, so improper.  Sounds almost American, although they would have had him in a car boot.  I suppose that there now will be some ceremony.  One of us will have to attend, but I am certainly not going to Leicester.  Waving, nodding, speeches.  Richard’s not missing much.  Royalty’s just not what it used to be.  Of course, he had his share of bad press.  Mind you, I can think of a few princes I wish I had strangled.”

Washington D.C.:  Denouncing the death of Richard III as another failure of the Obama administration, House Republicans demanded hearings and possible impeachment.  Speaker John Boehner indignantly asked,  “Why did this administration wait 500 years to tell the American people, and why would you trying tell them in iambic pentameter?  And why would you begin this collection of policy failures with ‘Now is the winter of our discontent…’  This is not the time to discuss global warming.

 

The Karl Roves of Tudor England

Posted in General, On This Day on August 22nd, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – 1 Comment

August 22, 1485:  Henry VII Becomes King; Machiavelli and MBAs Get a Role Model

Today is the anniversary of the battle of Bosworth Field. In tribute to the fallen and vilified Richard III, please hunch your shoulder.

History indeed is written by the victors, and the usurping Tudors had some extraordinary flacks in their service. The first “official” biography of Richard III was written in 1518 by an ambitious lawyer named Thomas More. More’s history could have been a Wes Craven screenplay; Richard is depicted as a physical monster. In this portrait, a hunchback may be Richard’s most attractive feature. More grafts upon Richard a withered arm and a limp; furthermore, More’s caricature was born with a full–and threatening– set of teeth. The real Richard had none of these disabilities and distortions, and actually was more attractive than Henry VII–who looked like a constipated actuary.

In 1592 a young playwright named Shakespeare was eager to ingratiate himself to the public and rich patrons, so he wrote a gushingly Pro-Tudor dramatization of the War of the Roses. The four plays, the Henry VI trilogy and Richard III, are a slapdash concoction of convoluted history and overripe melodrama. In “Henry VI, part III”, Richard is depicted as gleefully waging war when, in fact, he was only three years old.  However inaccurate the plays, the audience loved them.  (Indeed, Richard III is still popular–and today is considered much funnier than Shakespeare’s intentional comedies.) Shakespeare would have been gratified–if amazed–to know that his melodrama has become the common perception of King Richard.

Of course, Richard has his defenders. A number of historians and novelists have attempted heroic exonerations of the vilified king; but it remains an uneven match: their facts against St. More’s reputation and Shakespeare’s talent.   You may number me among the vicarious Yorkists. Let’s deal with the most notorious charge against Richard: the killing of the Little Princes.

I think that Richard is innocent of killing his nephews. They certainly were an inconvenience to him (don’t we all have nephews like that!) but he could have found better ways to remove them than an unexplained disappearance. He could even have blamed the Lancastrian/Tudor partisans for the princes’ deaths. In fact, he should have if they really were dead. However, their disposal was not urgent or even necessary. Parliament had already declared them illegitimate; and there was little political support for them. Their mother’s family, the Woodvilles, was hated by the old nobility.

However Henry VII would have had to kill them. His claims to royal lineage were tenuous and illegitimate. (The Lancastrians had proved obligingly sterile, allowing Tudor–a half-second cousin, once removed, from Wales–to represent the dynasty.) Any Yorkist prince or princess was a threat to him. Other than the Yorkist princess he coerced into marriage, Henry had his in-laws executed, imprisoned or cloistered.

Perhaps Richard had already done him the favor of killing the Princes. But Henry’s behavior was suspicious and incriminating.

It is interesting to note that when Henry VII ascended to the throne, he had Parliament issue a list of Richard’s crimes. The murder of the Princes was not cited, a rather surprising omission. Since Henry married their sister, you think that he have noticed their absence when they didn’t respond to the wedding invitations.

Didn’t anyone notice that the Princes were missing? Perhaps the Queen Mother did. For some reason, she was suddenly imprisoned in 1487 for being a supporter of Richard III. Would she really have supported the man who had murdered her sons? That may have been Henry’s reason for imprisoning her.

In fact, it wasn’t until 1495 and the attempted coup by Perkins Warbeck, a charlatan claiming to be one of the Little Princes, that Henry finally announced the deaths of his brothers-in-law. He also ordered the execution of Richard’s henchman Sir James Tyrrell. The one incongruity with that revelation was that Tyrrell had been a favorite of Henry’s and had enjoyed promotions under the Tudors.

Furthermore, although Henry seemed to know the details of the murders, he didn’t make any effort to exhume the bodies and give them a Christian burial. That gesture of decency didn’t occur until the reign of Charles II.

I am inclined to one theory that would explain Richard’s silence and Henry’s reticence. The crime might have been committed by the Duke of Buckingham, a proclaimed Yorkist partisan and a covert Tudor conspirator. The Duke was in charge of the Tower and had the opportunity to kill the princes. He could have committed the crime and then assured both sides he had done it as a favor to them. He may have been expecting rewards from both sides. However, Richard seemed anything but grateful. The King rebuffed his old ally, driving the Duke to rebellion. The Duke lost the battle and his head. However Richard may have felt too incriminated by his past association to announce the murder of the Princes.

Of course, this is just speculation.

Ironically, while I defend Richard’s innocence, I must admit that Henry VII was one of England’s greatest kings and the founder of a brilliant dynasty.

The Karl Roves of Tudor England

Posted in General, On This Day on August 22nd, 2007 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Today is the anniversary of the battle of Bosworth Field. In tribute to the fallen and vilified Richard III, please hunch your shoulder.

History indeed is written by the victors, and the usurping Tudors had some extraordinary flacks in their service. The first “official” biography of Richard III was written in 1518 by an ambitious lawyer named Thomas More. More’s history could have been a Wes Craven screenplay; Richard is depicted as a physical monster. In this portrait, a hunchback may be Richard’s most attractive feature. More grafts upon Richard a withered arm and a limp; furthermore, More’s caricature was born with a full–and threatening– set of teeth. The real Richard had none of these disabilities and distortions, and actually was more attractive than Henry VII–who looked like a constipated actuary.

In 1592 a young playwright named Shakespeare was eager to ingratiate himself to the public and rich patrons, so he wrote a gushingly Pro-Tudor dramatization of the War of the Roses. The four plays, the Henry VI trilogy and Richard III, are a slapdash concoction of convoluted history and overripe melodrama. In “Henry VI, part III”, Richard is depicted as gleefully waging war when, in fact, he was only three years old.  However inaccurate the plays, the audience loved them.  (Indeed, Richard III is still popular–and today is considered much funnier than Shakespeare’s intentional comedies.) Shakespeare would have been gratified–if amazed–to know that his melodrama has become the common perception of King Richard.

Of course, Richard has his defenders. A number of historians and novelists have attempted heroic exonerations of the vilified king; but it remains an uneven match: their facts against St. More’s reputation and Shakespeare’s talent.   You may number me among the vicarious Yorkists. Let’s deal with the most notorious charge against Richard: the killing of the Little Princes.

I think that Richard is innocent of killing his nephews. They certainly were an inconvenience to him (don’t we all have nephews like that!) but he could have found better ways to remove them than an unexplained disappearance. He could even have blamed the Lancastrian/Tudor partisans for the princes’ deaths. In fact, he should have if they really were dead. However, their disposal was not urgent or even necessary. Parliament had already declared them illegitimate; and there was little political support for them. Their mother’s family, the Woodvilles, was hated by the old nobility.

However Henry VII would have had to kill them. His claims to royal lineage were tenuous and illegitimate. (The Lancastrians had proved obligingly sterile, allowing Tudor–a half-second cousin, once removed, from Wales–to represent the dynasty.) Any Yorkist prince or princess was a threat to him. Other than the Yorkist princess he coerced into marriage, Henry had his in-laws executed, imprisoned or cloistered.

Perhaps Richard had already done him the favor of killing the Princes. But Henry’s behavior was suspicious and incriminating.

It is interesting to note that when Henry VII ascended to the throne, he had Parliament issue a list of Richard’s crimes. The murder of the Princes was not cited, a rather surprising omission. Since Henry married their sister, you think that he have noticed their absence when they didn’t respond to the wedding invitations.

Didn’t anyone notice that the Princes were missing? Perhaps the Queen Mother did. For some reason, she was suddenly imprisoned in 1487 for being a supporter of Richard III. Would she really have supported the man who had murdered her sons? That may have been Henry’s reason for imprisoning her.

In fact, it wasn’t until 1495 and the attempted coup by Perkins Warbeck, a charlatan claiming to be one of the Little Princes, that Henry finally announced the deaths of his brothers-in-law. He also ordered the execution of Richard’s henchman Sir James Tyrrell. The one incongruity with that revelation was that Tyrrell had been a favorite of Henry’s and had enjoyed promotions under the Tudors.

Furthermore, although Henry seemed to know the details of the murders, he didn’t make any effort to exhume the bodies and give them a Christian burial. That gesture of decency didn’t occur until the reign of Charles II.

I am inclined to one theory that would explain Richard’s silence and Henry’s reticence. The crime might have been committed by the Duke of Buckingham, a proclaimed Yorkist partisan and a covert Tudor conspirator. The Duke was in charge of the Tower and had the opportunity to kill the princes. He could have committed the crime and then assured both sides he had done it as a favor to them. He may have been expecting rewards from both sides. However, Richard seemed anything but grateful. The King rebuffed his old ally, driving the Duke to rebellion. The Duke lost the battle and his head. However Richard may have felt too incriminated by his past association to announce the murder of the Princes.

Of course, this is just speculation.

Ironically, while I defend Richard’s innocence, I must admit that Henry VII was one of England’s greatest kings and the founder of a brilliant dynasty.