10 Most Peculiar Things I Have Heard Since the Leicester Dig

As anyone who is reading this blog knows, last week, following an archaeological dig at Leicester, a skeleton was unearthed that may well prove to be that of Richard III. Needless to say, this has led to a flurry of online discussion about Richard and, of course, the age-old question of whether he was responsible for the deaths of his nephews.

This has generated some thoughtful commentary, but it has also generated some magnificently peculiar (or just stupid) statements, ten of which I have thoughtfully preserved below. Read ’em and cringe.

  1. Richard III was a martyr.
  2. Henry VII had only a rudimentary command of English.
  3. The bones found in the Tower and identified as those of the princes were actually those of chimps.
  4. One of the sets of bones found in the Tower was that of a commoner with rickets. (How could they tell that the unclothed bones belonged to a commoner, you might ask? Presumably, he had a “C” carved into his skull.)
  5. The skeleton found at Leicester shows signs of scoliosis; therefore, it cannot be Richard because the Tudors said that Richard had deformities, and anything the Tudors said about Richard was wrong.
  6. Richard did not execute women or bishops; therefore, he could not have killed the princes. (Henry VII did not execute women or bishops either, but he of course is fingered as a prime suspect.)
  7. Edward IV’s sons were not kept prisoners in the Tower because the Tower of London was not a “true prison” until Tudor times. (Among others, this would surprise Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, Roger Mortimer and his uncle, Eleanor de Clare,  Charles, Duke of Orleans, Edmund Beaufort, first Duke of Somerset, Edmund Beaufort, third Duke of Somerset, Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, and Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, all of whom were imprisoned there well before anyone started humming “Greensleeves.”)
  8. Titulus Regius was Henry VII’s document overturning the Act of Succession.
  9. The Leicester’s skeleton’s feet may have been chopped off because the grave was not the right length.
  10. Richard III was the last English king.

36 thoughts on “10 Most Peculiar Things I Have Heard Since the Leicester Dig”

  1. OMG! It was kind of you to sift through all the commentary to bring us these samplings for our amusement! (Also, since Henry VIII did kill both women and bishops, does it mean that he killed the princes?)

  2. Funny! You just never know what people are going to say! THanks and hope you are well. I have only one more chemo to go. After that, lunch?

    1. Thanks! Gaye! My own favorite is the “Henry VII barely knew English” one. I kept looking at that comment and hoping I’d misunderstood it.

  3. I absolutely love this. That’s hysterical. The “last English king” gets me…but my all time favorite that I’ve heard is that “Margaret Beaufort did it” with the implication that she didn’t just have them killed but that SHE actually did it.

  4. Hehehe…even as a Ricardian I find these incredibly “diverting” (as Lizzy Bennet says). The one about Henry VII barely knowing English is a hoot.

      1. Probably because some foolhardy soul thought that a chimp-baiting would be a good idea. The resultant fiasco resulted in both chimp and human bones being buried under the stairs in the dead of night and solemn oath sworn that nobody should speak of it ever again, hence the total lack of documentary evidence. However, Anne Boleyn’s dislike of monkeys is means it is possible, even probable, that she witnessed an event of this sort.

        (In all seriousness, I do think this find is fascinating and wish they would also allow a re-analysis of the bones found under the stairs).

          1. I do understand why they don’t generally permit that sort of thing — they’re probably besieged by requests from everyone ranging to legit scientists to people who think that Henry Neville was the real author of Shakespeare and that he hid the manuscripts in Queen Elizabeth’s tomb. But I think that “establishing whether this is a former King of England or not” would merit an exception to the ban. (Not to mention what a fictional bonanza it would be if they turned out NOT to be the princes!)

        1. Just some more imported kings on the English throne. First the Norman Plantagenets, then the Welsh Tudors, the Scottish Stuarts, the Dutchman William of Orange, and finally the German Welfen and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Has there ever been an English king since Alfred the Great? *tongue.in-cheek*

          1. Susan, I’m reading your blog all the time, I’m just a lazy commenter and it’s not a period I know enough about to make intelligent comments anyway. 😉

  5. Once again, a great blog! It goes to show how crazy some people get over this. I have to agree with Esther. Henry VIII probably did it, since he killed women and bishops! Come to think of it, he probably killed Henry VII too because he got tired of trying to understand his rudimentary English. I think I’ll be laughing for a few days over this list!

  6. Love the top 10 – and I think number 7 is my fav as well LOL! although the chimps take some beating. I read yesterday that the DNA the bones will be matched to – a descendant of Richard’s sister, Anne, may not prove conclusive.

    Apparently, the current Queen will not allow the bones of the ‘little princes’ to be disturbed again, but I would love research to be carried out on them! That’s far more interesting than finding the bones of Richard III. I get the feeling that if they do prove to be Richard, there will be a demand, from Ricardians, for him to be buried in Westminster Abbey.

    I never ‘get’ the defence of Richard III. His brothers were ruthless, (however fond of Clarence I am), and had blood on their hands, so why should Richard be any different? They were men of their time. The murder of children is abhorent to us, and at the time of Richard, but he would have been foolish to leave them alive. I wouldn’t expect him to do anything other than kill them. On my last visit to the Richard III museum, I wrote 3 pages on that very subject.

    1. I do hope this renews a demand for testing of the Tower bones–and I quite agree with you about Richard!

  7. I think it’s about time -no pun intended – Tey’s novel was re-branded from ‘crime fiction’ to ‘fiction about crime’. with the additional heading ‘How not to investigate a crime’ .If a real-life Inspector Grant conducted an investigation the way the fictional one does the Commissioner would be booting him all the way to the Thames before kicking him into it.

    I wonder if Agatha took time out to read it.

  8. Richard III was a Martyr?? Who thought that up?? A Saint Maybe…St. Richard the patron saint of lost boys..

    1. Hah! It’s from a petition by the Richard III Foundation: “Andy Smith, the Foundation’s UK Public Relations Director, added: ‘York was Richard’s city. It is where he belongs, and it is only right that this great Lord of the North should return home to Yorkshire after more than five hundred years’ enforced absence. The Richard III Foundation urges the people of Yorkshire to join with us in calling for Richard, our hero and martyr, to be brought home to the city that he loved, and where he is still loved to this day.'”

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