Wednesday, 22 January 2014

What was Buckingham thinking? Crown Snatching 101

When looking at why King Richard III had such a turbulent two year reign; keeping the peace in the land wasn't exactly a walk in the park. One of the most pivotal rebellions during his reign was Buckingham’s Rebellion in the fall of 1483. Oh Henry Stafford, pulled a Lord Stanley but two years earlier. The rebellion was not just one incident but a series of events, that even included an attempt on Richards life. The rebellion, ultimately failed, and heads were lost. More damaging to Richard’s psyche was that this was a man whom he trusted, and was at one point of time in the inner circle of loyal supporters of his brother Edward IV. More than likely this installed a sense of distrust in Richard and the men whom he most trusted as well.

The intent behind the conspiracy was to depose Richard III and restore Edward V, Edward IV's son to the throne. In the midst's of events, word got out that the princes were gone from the tower. Interestingly, it was Buckingham who proposed getting Henry Tudor to come out of exile and claim the throne and to marry Elizabeth of York. Part of his plan was to have Henry invade England via Wales.  Henry Tudor didn't make it to the shores of England this time. Weather made him turn back and return to Brittany. Buckingham’s Welsh forces were defeated by Richard. Buckingham fled and attempted to seek sanctuary and arrange passage to Brittany. He was caught on a bounty put out by the King and tried for treason. He was beheaded on November 2, 1483 in Salisbury. Richards most trusted and also well treated right hand man, obviously had proven himself untrustworthy. How many people left at court could he trust? “Trust no one” hops into my mind, it probably did in Richards too.
King Richard III (Aneurin Barnard) "The White Queen"

The more and more I delve into these last two years and the ones leading up to Richard’s death, the more the whole ordeal seems to be like one big sub plot going on behind the scenes. Richard is the puppet, and his men in court are pulling his strings, and orchestrating events to make him look as bad as they can, and crown snatching becoming their main objective, making their move into power, as seamless as possible. This theory is quiet evident when one looks at the information that scholars have discovered about the disappearance of the princes.

Noted, it is scholarly hypothesized that Buckingham was a prime suspect in the disappearances of the princes.  It is theorized that he too was trying to make claim to the throne that Richard was sitting on. Debating that he too had similar legitimate ancestry of the Beaufort line, and a claim to the throne which was yet stronger than Henry Tudors. This now adds a third person to the “Game of Thrones,”  but in 1483 style. The move (Act of disappearing princes.) was thought by some, as a way to blame and dispose Richard and then Buckingham and Henry would be left as rivals. This of course did not come to light, as Buckingham was caught and executed. 

Also interestingly, in 1980 a manuscript was discovered in the College of Arms, that cites the princes were murdered "be the vise" of the Duke of Buckingham. But there is some argument over whether "vise" means "advice" or "devise," and, if the former, in what sense. ( This claim alone makes it look like Richard was set up. Taking into consideration as well, the timing that all of this happened, it was right after Richard claimed the crown, and right before the rebellion took place. Was this in fact a warning to Richard that there were others that had been closer to Edward IV, and in his inner circle, that wanted the throne perhaps more than Richard? Time can only tell, and unfortunately for Richard, it did.

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