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Richard III for Dummies Part 2 as in Oh Heck! It’s The War of the Roses

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m on a quest to learn more about King Richard III.

I hope it will help with the collective reading of Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour.

Just to clarify, the reading starts on the 23rd of September, with the discussion of chapters 1+5 a week later!

I know some of you, like me, will start earlier, just in case life and other nonsense get in the way!

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t really know anything about RIII, but what I do learn, I will share in a cycle of posts titled:

Richard III for Dummies.

I see it as a collection of random RIII facts that I found interesting.

I won’t be going into great details, just the bare essentials necessary to understand the book chosen for our collective reading.

It’s time to tackle The War of the Roses!

It was a terribly destructive, long-lasting civil war in England between two  families with rival claims to the throne.

The war takes its name from the two Roses that symbolized the two sides meaning, the houses of Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose), among the English aristocracy.

Those English and their gardening…

I’m not going to go into detail, but let’s just say both sides had a legitimate claim to the throne.

The clip is extremely interesting, definitely more than my writing 😉

Just look at  it as a very long boxing match.

The war itself occurred in three phases:

The first phase was the longest and bloodiest, and resulted in a York victory.

The second phase involved a rebellion within the York family which provided an opportunity  for the Lancaster’s to reassert their claim.

They briefly succeeded, but the crown soon fell back into the hands of the Yorks.

The third phase occurred following the death of the Yorkish King Edward IV,  and was fought between Richard III and Henry Tudor a distant cousin on the Lancaster side.

 It’s not an easy war to follow in terms of alliances, or military progress.

There are so many twists, treachery, changing sides and battles, so I shall focus on the elements that appear in The Sunne in Splendour.

By the way, I started reading the book yesterday and I couldn’t put it down.

I thought the vocabulary wasn’t bad at all, and with the help of my trusted Kindle 3 dictionary, I didn’t come across any phrases that would prove to be challenging.

Here’s are the key elements of what I’ve read.

Please be warned, there may be spoilers if you haven’t started the book yet!

We meet Richard (nicknamed Dickon, because that’s such an adorable name for a young boy…) on the eve of the attack on Ludlow village and its Castle, a major base in The War of the Roses.

In the first chapter we are introduced to some members of Richard’s family:

Ma Mere meaning Richard’s mother, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, wife to  Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York.

Richard’s brother Edward (Ned), 4th Duke of York, 7th Earl of March, 5th Earl of Cambridge and 9th Earl of Ulster.

He goes on to become Edward IV.

Edmund, Earl of Rutland, second surviving son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York.

George, only a few years older than Richard,  1st Duke of Clarence, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Earl of Warwick.

I think it’s best to keep an eye out on George, as he’ll be playing a very important role later on.

The Queen Margaret of Anjou continues to raise support for the King Henry VI among noblemen,whilst the Yorkist command under the Duke of York is finding anti-royal support despite the severe punishment for raising arms against the King.

The Yorkist force based at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire need to link up with the main Yorkist army at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire.

As Salisbury marches south-west through the Midlands the Queen orders Lord Audley to raise a force to intercept them.

This results in a bloody battle, but also signified that the Queen is set on war.

Fearing that an attack on Ludlow is imminent, all the male members of the York House escape, leaving behind Cecily and her two youngest sons George and Richard.

The assumption is that no harm will come to them, as the code of conduct forbids involving women and children in fights.

Ah, but will it?

You’ll have to start reading the book to find out 🙂

I found the character of Margaret of Anjou fascinating, but then I would!

I found this clip very interesting clip:


About Agzy The Ripper

Sew, Rip, Repeat... and love each moment of it! Join me as I embark on a myriad of sewing and crafting shenanigans.

19 responses »

  1. Perfect! Just what I needed; help to keep those boys n girls apart!

    • Thanks Fanny! I’ll also make it clear that the 23rd Sept. is when we officially start reading, meaning we discuss a week later. Many people will start early, so I’ll just be posting about the historical aspect in hope that it will help 🙂

      • Babe you’re so fabulous! Do you think in time RIII will have a separate tab on your site? I’m just wondering in terms of linking possibilities 🙂 I’m adding each post to the RA institute on FB

        • Thanks Fanny, if it weren’t for the reading, I wouldn’t have decided to take a walk on the wild side 🙂 I’m really enjoying the book, so automatically I feel I want to know more about the period. I hope others feel the same!

  2. Great post Agzy ! I couldn’t put my Kindle down too. A dreadful and captivating story full of twists and turns !
    Kindle dictionary is useful but I had to do internet research for some expressions like “oyer and terminer” (spelled terminar in the novel) and didn’t know that expression was French.

    • They do use the odd Old English word or phrase, but I’m from the school of thought of: If you don’t know what a word means, guess it from the context 😉
      It really is a gripping tale!

      • You are like me Agzy. I guess the words from the context but always want to know the exact meaning and return to dictionary, the Internet etc….

        • I think it depends on what I read. If it’s for pleasure, I prefer not to break my consentration and just look it up on Kindle. If it’s an academic text for college, there’s always google involved 😉

  3. Very gool… reading and learning!!! 🙂

  4. Very good, Agzy! But wait…Ned was Edward’s nickname, not Edmund’s, wasn’t it?

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  6. Thank you for that very interesting clip about Margaret of Anjou! It was really gripping! I haven’t got round to restart the book again as I’ve been ill with a cold, but I’ll start soon-ish! 🙂

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  8. Richard III for Dummies, what a great idea, thank you for being the least lazy of us all 🙂


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