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: