Row over Richard III twisting verdict of history

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From: Nigel Underwood, Leicester.

MUCH of the discussion about the reburial of Richard III seems to rest on the premise that we are in a position where we can or should re-write history.

Richard III was defeated at Bosworth and buried in Leicester. We now know this to be fact. Why do some people think we have the right to alter the implications of these events?

Underpinning many of the arguments for reburial in York or even Westminster are arguments along the lines of ‘it’s what Richard wanted’. I find this argument carries little weight – Richard stopped being able to get ‘what he wanted’ when he was defeated at Bosworth. It was at this point that his own powers of self-determination ended and the forces of history/fate took over.

Richard was brutally thrust from power and had the burial of the defeated because he was! England then went on to be ruled by the victor at Bosworth, Henry VII; the powerful Tudor dynasty was installed and the course of history had been set.

Unfortunate for Richard yes, but an occupational hazard of being a monarch at that time. This was the late medieval period with values very different from the 21st century and Richard was sadly one of history’s losers.

The fact is that Leicester can now provide a perfectly fitting and lasting testimony to these historical events. He can be buried in our lovely cathedral just metres away from his original resting place with a specially created visitor’s centre telling his story. In the circumstances, and in the light of the unfortunate but unalterable course of history, could he have asked for more?

Unfortunately I think the real motivation for moving Richard rests on simple snobbery and greed. I fear that for many people Leicester is simply seen as not good enough to be the resting place of a king.