And so this morning we woke up to the news that Richard III has probably been found under a Leicester City Council car park. He’s been parked there since about 1485 and no one had a clue. What was he doing there? Trying to reverse park over a Lancastrian, presumably. The skeleton had a “near death trauma” (That’ll be The Battle of Bosworth then) as well as signs of spinal curvature. His hump! Cry the English schoolchildren. His hump! This immediately makes us think of Laurence Olivier’s hump-backed performance of Dick III in the film imaginatively titled “Richard III” and which was based on the man whose got himself dead and buried under a Midlands car park. But Richard III was not actually a hunchback (cue intake of breath from agog pupils at the back of the History class). Instead he had the rather unexciting scoliosis. Whilst not being half as evil-sexy as the hunchback, scoliosis does make one shoulder higher than the other, and this is consistent with the remains found yesterday. Mind you, no one cares if you’ve one shoulder higher than the other when your eight feet in cement under a Ford Fiesta. Richard III would be alarmed to discover he is now trending on Twitter.
Philippa Langley, the leader of The Richard III Society has said “This has always been about finding out about the real man, not the Tudor myth”. Richard III was of course, the last of the Plantagenets, made very dead indeed by Henry VII, who thereby ushered in the Tudor era, and spent a lot of time spreading muck about Richard III. We have had issue with Henry VII here on The Bluebird pages before. We shall not speak of him more, because I still haven’t forgiven him for what he did to my computer (see https://thelondonbluebird.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/henry-vii-destroyed-my-computer/).
Next week, we hope to find Henry IV buried under Morrison’s in Lowestoft, and after that it’s only a matter of time before we find the Princess Anastasia of Russia under a Eddie Stobart’s garage in Brockwell. Apparently, when Richard III was buried in Leicester the graveyard was in a garden belonging to the Greyfriars monks. If the England of the Georgian era seems so distant and impossible to conjure up in our poor modern minds, the England of the 15th century is an even more distant, grey, and slightly unappealing land, with its smell of Black Death, its warring royalties and it’s relentless turgid hygeine issues.
Bit odd, however that the man who Shakespeare tells us was heard hollering “A horse! My kingdom for a horse” is found in a centre of another mode of human transportation that took over from the horse – the car. “My kingdom for a Vauxhall Astra!” is presumably what a modern day warring king would holler on the battlefield. Richard III was “unhorsed” and then killed by Richmond, which wasn’t very nice when you think about it. The University of Leicester have tweeted that the remains of the person, who of course, may not be Richard III but someone from the same generation, perhaps Jeremy Beadle, have assured us that the remains found will be treated “…in full accordance with the University of Leicester’s ethical policy for dealing with human remains.”
Henry VII didn’t have ethical policies for dealing with humans alive or dead. This whole focus on Richard III will anger him greatly. And I am pleased for this as I STILL haven’t forgiven him for breaking my computer.
The Yorkist Warrior’s tale continues. The Leicester City Mayor is not concerned with Dead Plantaganets, and is instead concerned about the city’s traffic infrastructure, saying thank you to the “social workers who had to do without their car park and will have to do without it for a time longer”. He is resolved to be entirely unexcited about the affair. This is the man that gave the English language rhyming slang for “turd” and which gave Josephine Tey a good idea for a book. Apparently he led the country for two years as a King or something like that, but basically, he is LAURENCE OLIVIER. And sometimes he’s Kevin Spacey. I saw him once be Robert Lindsay. Try to be a bit thrilled, dear. Over at Reuters, they won’t be receiving an English essay prize for their critical commentary that Leicester could possibly be the resting place of “the monarch depicted by Shakespeare as an evil, deformed, child-murdering monster.”
A 55 year old Canadian furniture maker from Highgate called Michael Ibsen, descendant of the evil, deformed, child-murdering monster, is on hand to provide some of his fruitiest DNA as his mother is a 16th generation descendant of Anne of York, Richard III’s sister. Meanwhile, The Daily Snail has gone quite peculiar, and that’s not like them, is it? They’re demanding that should the sad sack of bones prove to be Richard III then he should have a proper kingly burial, as befits “the last truly ENGLISH King”. This is presumably a dig at Henry VII who was half-Welsh and therefore, according to The Daily Snail, an scumline immigrant. It is made more bizarre by the fact that most of the Plantagenets were French. The younger journalists of The Daily Snail have been no doubt scratching their heads tying to receive rusty slabs of History A Level syllabuses. Writers usually called upon to write about Nigella Lawson’s weight loss / weight gain / delete according to month and whether or not Kerry Katona is certifiable are now having to concern themselves with the intricate love life of Edward IV and attempts to challenge the royal succession in the Christmas of 1483. In other words, they are actually having to write some journalism and they haven’t had to do that before. If one thing – only one thing – emerges from the University of Leicester’s Archeological dig at their city centre to give satisfaction, it will be not that the tumbling mass of bones will be Richard III, or his wife, or his dog, but that it has meant that journalists who are able to write about crap that doesn’t mean anything and continue to contribute to the lowering of journalistic standards in Britain which began to cascade violently about thirty years ago, only to land in a heap of bovine and retarded incompetency today, have actually had to do some decent work. I bet they can’t wait to get back to doing an article on whether or not we care that Heidi Klum is or isn’t sleeping with her bodyguard.
Bet you Henry VII slept with his bodyguard. You see? I just can’t let it go re ComputerGate. Like the archeologists in the car park, I won’t let it lie. Poor old Dickie III, eh? Didn’t really stand much of a chance, did he, after Shakespeare did a right character assassination on him. And now the Leicester City Mayor and the tabloid press are doing their best. This is a man who already died by being “poleaxed to the head”, so he doesn’t exactly need Simon Heffer et al spreading peculiar nonsenses about him. He’s got enough problems. And that’s before Leicester fine him for being in a local authority car park for 530 years without paying for his ticket. However, we ought not to get overexcited. It might not be him. It’s only a hunch.
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