King Richard III, the last king of the House of York and the Plantaganet dynasty, ruled England from 1452 to 1485. Perhaps better known from his portrayal as a dark and twisted tyrant in Shakespeare’s eponymous play, Richard’s reputation is controversial, yet many contemporary sources praise his character and rule. The death of Richard III also marked the end of Middle Ages England.
Here are 10 facts about the often misunderstood monarch.
Richard Plantagenet and Cecily Neville were Richard’s parents. He was born in Fotheringhay Castle on 2 October 1452.
As the 12th of 13 children, Richard was part of a big family.
Some of Richard’s childhood years were spent at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire where he underwent training to become a knight.
Richard got married at the age of 20 to a lady by the name of Anne Neville.
Richard and Anne funded Kings College and Queens College at Cambridge University.
Richard was loyal to his older brother King Edward IV and ran the north of England up until his brother’s death in 1483, when Richard became Lord Protector.
Londoners petitioned to have Richard assume the throne and he was crowned in Westminster Cathedral in 1483.
8. Final Battle
Richard’s army in the Battle of Bosworth was said to be around 8,000 strong, pitted against 5,000 of Henry Tudor’s men.
Richard was strong in battle and managed to unhorse a jousting champion in his final conflict. He was later surrounded by men of Sir William Stanley who were said to have beaten him so hard his helmet entered his skull, leading to his death.
The Plantagenet dynasty ruled England for two hundred years since Henry II in 1154 and Richard was the last of this blood line, although the current Duke of Beaufort is perhaps a direct descendent via a suggested illegitimate relationship centuries ago.