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King Richard III discovery unearths CBC history buffs

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Philippa Langley, originator of the 'Looking for Richard III' project, looks at the facial reconstruction of Richard III, unveiled to the media at the Society of Antiquaries, London, Tuesday Feb. 5, 2013. (Gareth Fuller/Associated Press)

The discovery of the long lost British monarch found under a parking lot in Leicester, U.K. has stimulated the imaginations of CBCNews.ca readers - many of who have revealed themselves to be history buffs.

King Richard III was identified yesterday through modern DNA testing with the help of a Canadian carpenter - a 17th great-grand-nephew of the king's older sister.

Not only have scientists excavated and identified his bones, but they have also given the modern world a first glimpse of his face in a life-sized plastic model.

'It's always worth keeping in mind that histories are written by the victors and/or survivors.'

-- Ianmdll
Few rulers have had their reputations decline as much after death as Richard III. He ruled England between 1483 and 1485, during the decades-long tussle over the throne known as the Wars of the Roses, which pitted York and Lancaster against one another.

The monarch's fans in the Richard III Society would like to have the reputation of a reviled monarch re-evaluated. It seems like some members of the CBC community agree with the misrepresentation of the long lost king.

  • "It is always worth keeping in mind that histories are written by the victors and/or survivors," said Ianmdll.

  • "History has much cruelty in it. In this case, they weren't satisfied with just killing Richard the third and defeating his army, they also took off all his clothes, put his corpse on a horse, stabbed him in the buttock, disrespectfully buried him, and worst of all tarnished the historical record of him," said Statesman.

  • "That's really interesting - I've been to Leicester, it's funny how almost all of England's kings and queens have lavish tombs in London, but poor old Richard III just gets a lousy flooring slab in this tiny cathedral!

    He probably deserves more than that. I doubt he was actually an awful king - just got a bad rep thanks to Tudor propaganda," said Groundbreaker.

Bad press

Some blame the famous British bard, Shakespeare, for the bad press.

  • "It's a well documented fact that the Bard Shakespeare held little respect for monarchy. All you have to do is look at the Scottish play, Richard III, Hamlet and King Lear," said Soundingboard.

  • "Shakespeare's Richard III was highest-order anti-Plantagenet, pro-Tudor propaganda," said Kootenay Coyote.

  • "Love this stuff. And Richard III, I've always been a Yorkist, so long live the White Rose! And get over the humpbacked evil manipulator portrait, although I love Shakespeare's play, he was trying to please the Tudors by making King Richard III the devil incarnate," said Trajan.

Many commenters focused on aligning historical facts surrounding the gruesome death of the king and new facts surrounding to the gravesite and scars on the monarch's bones.

  • "My fervent hope is that all information that surfaces about Richard III will be accurate, not revised history that suits today's monarchy...truth is so much more interesting than fiction!" said LoriCameron.

  • "I wish they had described those battle injuries.

    The skull looks fine apart from a missing tooth or two. Yet, historical descriptions have it that the "blows were so violent that the king's helmet was driven into his skull" (Thomas Penn cited in Wikipedia) while he was on his horse which became bogged down in the mire. Further, descriptions have his skull being split open against a bridge archway.

    So there may be lots of good historical revelations derived from this find," said Chancery.

Misunderstood monarch

A few lamented the loss of the king, his bravery, and the takeover of the Tudor family after the War of the Roses.

  • "He was probably one of the most misunderstood historical figures of the time, thanks in a large part to fictional representations long after his death. I think there is some truth in that he lived wickedly, but he also brought in many reforms - including providing the poor with legal representation in court, the bail system, as well as translating all laws into the language of the commoners (before that, laws in England were written in French). These ideas were considered extremely liberal for the time.

    He was also the last English King to die on the battlefield. He made an attempt to face Henry Tudor head-on in order to hasten the battle and spare the carnage, but he was surrounded and killed along the way. If only modern leaders had that kind of courage," said Hajduk.

  • "Does this mean that the Canadian man has a legitimate claim to the throne? After all it was stolen from his ancestors and in today's society we apologise for everything," said Working Slave.

One commenter was moved enough by the discovery to write a poem in the voice of the king.

  • "Plots have they dug, samples taken,
    By DNA, laboratories and teams,
    To find my bones under this pad parking
    Civics and Audis the one against the other:
    And ancient Triumphs bit with rust
    Upon my crowned head, scorning and sacreligious,
    This day should Queen Betty be closely be mew'd up,
    By an abstract, which says that 'Canada' Of Edward's heirs the proof shall provide," said irishart.

And, finding a king in a parking lot tickled a few funny bones.

  • "Now are the winter tires of our discontent," said McKenzieBrother.

  • "Fascinating how even though he was reviled by the Tudors who dethroned him, his bones have seen the light of day again and tell this story.

    Does give new meaning to long term parking though?" said Carl LaFong

  • "Next up: Jimmy Hoffa. Hopefully, it won't take anyone 500 years," said Highly Refined Pirate.

  • "Did they find his horse?" said mungywhite.

  • "Apparently he now owes £3,564,000 in parking fees," said JoolsBUK.

  • "New slogan for that parking lot: Parking fit for a king," said The Beak.

Are you intrigued by the discovery? What do you think of King Richard III and his legacy?




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