A Monday Blog Game Offering From DeAnn Smith:
“A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
William Shakespeare scripted Richard III’s last moments for slapstick humor as he unsuccessfully charged toward Henry Tudor and his crown rolled into a bush. Audiences are to knowingly laugh at the failures of Richard, who is one of history and literature’s greatest villains. Most know Richard for the disappearance (and likely death) of his two young nephews on his watch.
But this battle of usurpers at a field near Bosworth was deadly serious. Few were laughing in August 1485 as the Yorks and Lancasters met in pitched battle with the throne and England’s future at stake.
Virtually all of England’s monarchs found their final resting places to be a grand cathedral in England or France. A majority were buried at Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle, but no glorious monument was built for Richard.
Instead, his bloodied and battered body was taken to the nearby town of Leicester where legend said the Grey Friars quietly buried him in the choir of the their church.
Some ardent supporters of Richard worked tirelessly to organize an archaeological dig to find his remains, and that apparently occurred in September. The final announcement is expected in a matter of days, but all indications are that the dig turned up the bones of their man.
This is where the “Someday We’ll Laugh about This” aspect enters. As a result of “progress,” the church disappeared and a car park covered the body of the crookback king. (Or as we Americans know it: a parking lot). This, of course, has prompted the inevitable jokes with one of my favorites being a voice was heard from the grave saying, “A hearse, a hearse. My kingdom for a hearse!”
At least Richard died fighting valiantly in battle unlike his older brother, George, who was executed by the family golden boy, King Edward IV. George died for being truly a bad, bad younger brother. Thanks to his mother’s intercessions, George was allowed a private death inside the Tower of London to spare him public humiliation.
Back then, you could lose a tongue for a joke that offended the king, but modern audiences can laugh at the deaths of the York brothers.
George, a reputed heavy drinker, was drowned in a butt of malmsey a.k.a wine. If that doesn’t make him the butt of jokes, I don’t know what does.