Richard III was two Richards on from the Lionhearted one, who ruled over three hundred years before. This Richard, the Third, died on this day, 529 years ago in 1485. He only held the throne for two years, but his death was the marker for a slew of other “lasts”:
- He was the last Richard to take the throne (so far).
- He was the last of the House of York to hold the throne.
- His death ended the bitter and bloody civil war between the houses of York and Lancaster, known with the quite beautiful name of The War of the Roses.
- He died in the Battle of Bosworth, the last battle of The War of the Roses.
- He was the last English king to die in battle.
- He was the last English king to be killed on home soil. The first of only two to die in England during battle was Harold, at the battle of Hasting, in 1066, four hundred and twenty years previously.
- He was the last of the Plantagenet line to hold the throne.
- With Richard’s death, the “middle ages” came to an end.
That’s a lot of endings for one death to signify. Perhaps the saddest testament to Richard’s reign was that he was buried without ceremony (he was the defeated enemy, after all) and his remains were lost to history, until only last year when radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis confirmed that bones found under a city council car park in Leicester were his.
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