Sunday, 24 February 2013

Royal History

My top play of 2013 was The Globe's version of Richard III, I wasn't expecting this to be the case but it blew me away on both viewings.

I've also been following the story of the hunt for the real Richard III in Leicester with great interest since the story broke. The press conference earlier this month when the archaeologists announced that it really was his skeleton that had been found under a Leicester car park was the most gripping piece of broadcasting I've seen for a long time.

The subsequent programmes about the history surrounding the end of the Wars of the Roses has influenced my reading just lately.

I know that Shakespeare was a Tudor writer and so his version of events was always going to paint Richard and the Yorkists in a poor light but however engaging the play is I did wonder how accurate the play actually is.

The dig to find Richard III was funded in part by the Richard III society and the television programmes afterwards focused on this, and their quest to prove that he really was a nice guy and that none of the bad things we think about him are true at all. In someways their views and opinions are as extreme as Shakespeare's claims.

As ever I am pretty certain that the truth lies somewhere in the middle but I do wish I had a lot more time to look into this, however as every fiction comes to the rescue...

I've just finished reading Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time. The basic plot can be summarised thus: whilst bed-bound a detective decides to investigate the life and times of Richard III...

As I haven't done any of the research myself I don't know how accurate the story is but the case put forward in this book was compelling and I was totally gripped by the book. I'm probably very late to the party with this book as it was published in the 1950s but I do highly recommend it.

I've also just had an email telling me that Sharon Penman's Sunne in Splendour has just arrived at the library for me so I've another epic version of the tale to look forward too.

While it may seem strange that a Norfolkbookworm is so fascinated by a history that doesn't have a lot of links to Norfolk there is another side to the story.  I'm originally from Kent and we often took walks or cycle rides to Eastwell Lake. There is a ruined church to explore their and one of the tombs is for a Richard Plantagenet, according to legend he was an illegitimate son of Richard III.  Watch this space - it could be the next 'big dig' as more about the Wars of the Roses history is discovered!

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