Talk:Richard III of England

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Accession against usurpation[edit]

I think 'accession' is the wrong word. With the slightly problematic exception of Baldwin, all historians use 'usurped' - Horrox, Ross, Pollard, Hicks in particular. The other point is of course that however you look at it Richard wasn't next in line, and clearly didn't even believe that himself given the different justifications he came up with for seizing power. So it was a usurpation whatever his motives and however he set about it. This is of course also true of Henry IV, Edward IV and Henry VII, so it wasn't exactly uncommon. Have also somewhat altered the wording in the lead, which seemed to miss several key facts (e.g. the arrest of Rivers and Grey, the fact that only Richard and his allies declared the Princes illegitimate, not a properly constituted court) which definitely presented a pro-Ricardian slant to events I do not think is justified.The Irish Question (talk) 18:32, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

  • I changed the wording back to Accession per WP:NEUTRAL Not only Baldwin, but other eminent historians like Paul Murray Kendall, MBE John Ashdown-Hill, Josephine Wilkinson, etc. hold a more positive view of Richard's motivations and legitimization to accept the offer of the throne that was placed by the three Estates of the realm on 25 June 1483. Plus, the adds to the lead without all the details of the circumstances of the arrest of Lord Rivers, etc. is again against WP:NEUTRAL and will be accordingly removed. Isananni (talk) 18:49, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

Isannani, I am afraid that 'Accession' itself is not a neutral term. This is for two reasons. First, it implies that Richard became king legally, which he clearly did not. Even he clearly did not believe it given the number of increasingly bizarre excuses he found, including accusing his own mother of adultery. Secondly, whatever you may think it goes against the views of professional scholars - all three you name being either experts in other fields or amateurs. Paul Murray Kendall was not an historian but a professor of literature (and a very good one) John Ashdown-Hill is a genealogist and whatever the merits of his popular work has never held a university post (which is hardly surprising given on page 16 of his biography he appears to suggest Edward V connived at his own deposition) Josephine Wilkinson I know little of so can't comment but does not on a quick search to hold an academic post. Against that we have to set the following:

  • A. L. Rowse, former Sub-Warden at All-Souls and a Research Fellow at The Huntington Library, in Bosworth Field and the Wars of the Roses (1966) chapter 10: 'Richard's usurpation of the throne'.
  • Michael Hicks, Emeritus Professor of Medieval University at the University of Winchester, in Richard III (2000) chapter 3, 'Richard III's usurpation of the throne.'
  • A. J. Pollard, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at the University of Teesside, The Wars of the Roses (2000) 'an act of usurpation' (p. 85)
  • Pollard again, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower (1991) p. 139 'the throne he had usurped.'
  • Christine Carpenter, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Cambridge, The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England (2008) p. 209 'Hastings' death was a precondition for a usurpation against a family he had served loyally all his life.'
  • Dr Rosemary Horrox, Fellow of Medieval History at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, in the ODNB (free to anyone with a UK library card) 'These reservations derived from Richard's inability to deliver the continuity and stability that he had promised—the tacit justification of his usurpation' (there is a whole section called 'the usurpation of the throne').
  • If you want those who work a little outside the field, or who may be considered not fully professional, Trevor Royle, author on military history, The Wars of the Roses: England's first Civil War (a strange title - do Stephen and Matilda not count?) (2010) p. 388 somewhat anachronistically refers to Richard's accession as a 'coup' (which it should be noted is also the phrase used by the late Charles Ross, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Bristol, in his biography of Edward IV). Or cf Anthony Cheetham, former chairman of Quercus Publishing, who wrote a biography of Richard in 1972 and called chapter 4 'The Usurper.'
  • Even if we go to primary sources, although for Wikipedia that's not technically relevant, Domenic Mancini called his entire work 'the usurpation of Richard III.'

I think that makes the academic consensus (and I would remind you that is what Wikipedia is here to summarise) pretty clear. On that basis it should be called a usurpation.

  • As for your comments on Stony Stratford, are you suggesting that Richard did not meet the party, arrest the escort and take Edward V to London himself? Because that is the only way it could have been non-neutral. Incidentally your claim that Parliament ratified the illegitimacy allegations is wrong. They did pass Titulus Regius ex post facto, but Parliament was not in session at the time, and it was an assembly of commoners and Londoners that proclaimed Richard king.

I can see from your history that you have a significant emotional investment in this page, but I am afraid you are simply wrong here and presenting a very distorted view of Richard's reign in consequence. I have students to teach and they were finding this page is presenting confusing, which is why I made slight adjustments in the first place to tone it down. I could have gone a lot further as the whole thing reads like a propaganda exercise from the Richard III society, but for the moment I am contenting myself with getting rid of blatant lies. I have put it back the way it was and I would advise you if you cannot deal with facts and scholarship, to stay away from this page.The Irish Question (talk) 17:59, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

    • @The Irish Question: My point on the necessity to respect the guidelines of WP:NEUTRAL is perfectly supported by the mention of scholars that are equally relevant in the study of the historical figure of Richard III as the ones you mention. Starting from the late 16th century/early 17th century we have George Buck, William Camden, Francis Bacon, Horace Walpole, Clements Markham, as well as the already mentioned Paul Murray Kendall, MBE John Ashdown-Hill, Josephine Wilkinson, etc. If you cannot think out of your tiny box and do not follow the WIKI rules, maybe you are the one who should stay away from this page. Isananni (talk) 18:34, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
      • Furthermore, this article does not exactly come out of nothing and nowhere. All sections are the product of endless discussions on the talk page, as you may be able to appreciate if you have a look at the archived topics, and especially the wording of the different sections is the result of the consensus eventually reached amongst the erstwhile editors, that I am unfortunately not able to boast I was part of. The wording "Accession" instead of "Usurpation" in particular has been carefully selected to respect WP:NEUTRAL. Isananni (talk) 18:34, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Seeking consensus here, and offering a third opinion: It seems clear enough to me that there are legitimate historians to support the term accession. User:The Irish Question seems to be acting as though the word accession implies some WP:FRINGE theory, which is not the case. Reviewing the definitions, one can hardly find a more WP:NEUTRAL term for taking a throne than accession. That's the middle ground here. At one extreme, legitimacy would be implied by succession; at the opposite extreme, the absence of legitimacy would be implied by usurpation. In response to this incipient edit war (which I hope can be avoided), I support using the term accession. Lwarrenwiki (talk) 18:56, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I find myself in agreement with User:Lwarrenwiki on this matter, per their definitions. There is no reason that usage of this word should somehow prohibit mention / discussion of the fact that his accession has been / can be considered a userpation, but it need not be primary (I note, for instance, that Hicks (WotR (2012) uses the terms almost interchangeably). Current policy is, of course that consensus of sources outweighs the Cherrypicking of the same. Cheers, — fortunavelut luna 19:09, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Thank you Lwarrenwiki and Fortuna. As an addendum to what The Irish Question accuses me of, may I just point out that when I removed the Stony Stradford entries from the lead, I did so specifying the episode was fully covered with aboundant citations in the Accession section (see history of the article for reference) which I did not amend further than restoring the Accession vs Usurpation wording. We had a discussion on this talk page that the lead was already too long, any editor may appreciate the related discussion in the archived topics section. Isananni (talk) 19:15, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
    • Wholly agree with Lwarrenwiki. As a section heading "Accession" is not inaccurate and is much to be preferred. But I think The Irish Question should be allowed to elaborate slightly on the large number of historians who describe it as "usurpation". Martinevans123 (talk) 19:19, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
      • That is in the "Reputation" section Martinevans123. Again, should anyone wish to add further mentions of differing views on the perception of Richard III's actions, it should encompass both sides to keep the article neutral. Isananni (talk) 19:34, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
        • Yes, I guess that's all covered there, in some detail. I searched for the word "usurp" and couldn't find it. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:43, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
        • You will not find the word "saint" either, whatever The Irish Question thinks, LOL Isananni (talk) 19:45, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - If it was up to me, I'd just look for some alternative paragraph heading that meets the neutrality requirement from both points of view - "Richard becomes King" or something like that.Deb (talk) 21:50, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Hi Deb, no objections to your recent changes. Isananni (talk) 11:40, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - According to the Cambridge dictionary here, to ascend the throne means "to become queen or king". I not sure what the problem with the word ascend is because it seems perfectly neutral to me. That is, ascending the throne can be legal or illegal. "Usurp", on the the other hand, always has negative connotations. I say to leave it as "ascend". Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 17:02, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
    • The problem word wasn't "ascend", Bill, it was "accede" (as in "accession"). Deb (talk) 16:56, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
      • I'd certainly give your correction my assent. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:01, 14 October 2017 (UTC)<//small>
It should read "Ascension to the throne", true. — fortunavelut luna(Currently not receiving (most) pings, sorry) 17:19, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
I think you probably mean "ascent". I've undone it so you can fix it yourself. :-) Deb (talk) 15:12, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

Sorry, I know that Isannani is obsessive on this subject and that people like quiet lives but this is simply wrong. I have pointed out that reputable scholarship characterises the accession of Richard as a usurpation - that is to say, he illegally took the throne from the rightful king. There is pretty well no dispute about that now. Wikipedia exists to summarise scholarship and therefore removing the mention that the throne was usurped is itself a violation of neutrality. It is very telling that in order to find any sort of doubt Isananni has to go back to the eighteenth century or work with the likes of Ashdown-Hill, an intriguing but very minor figure. Of course Richard wasn't in any way unusual in being a usurper - every adult male king in the fifteenth century other than Henry V was a usurper of one sort or another. What made Richard slightly unusual was that he took the throne from a child, and not from an adult by war, which is why I think he is so much more controversial. I would add that the mischaracterisations of me and my motives by Isannani are unpleasant but seem mostly to be because he(?) feels unable to argue convincingly against the point I was making. This seems to explain the poor quality of this article, which reads in places more or less like an advert for the Richard III society. I teach on this subject and the poor quality of this article is a real issue. That's why I was trying to get rid of some of its worse features. Would it be better if I rewrote the whole thing from guts up based on scholarship to correct all these mistakes? It would take a while as at the moment between family matters and teaching plus my current research 24 hours just aren't enough, but I don't mind doing it if it would help. Until or unless agreement is reached on this I have tagged the article - non-neutral and factually inaccurate. This also serves as a warning to my students (and others, of course). I have to say Isananni might also benefit from a short break to calm down.The Irish Question (talk) 19:52, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

  • The level of personal attack against my person as well as of preposterous possessiveness on the article when all other editors agree on the present shape of the article is abismal. Isananni (talk) 20:06, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

I think before anyone responds to that point they should look at this exchange. However, if @Isananni cannot work with others over scholarship on this topic - and clearly s/he cannot - without getting so abusive there seems little more to be said. However, again it does raise the issue of whether the whole article needs a guts up rewrite.The Irish Question (talk) 20:18, 18 October 2017 (UTC) One thought does occur, however. While 'accession' is a doubtful word - it implies legality, which goes against current scholarship on the subject - could we not just rename the section 'King of England'? That is entirely neutral in the sense that nobody disputes that he became King.The Irish Question (talk) 20:22, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

  • I think you'd probably be well advised to keep your guts intact. I'd agree, though, that there's "little more to be said". Martinevans123 (talk) 20:23, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Fact 1) Neutral point of view is one of the founding policies of the article, please check the headline of this talk page
  • Fact 2) Irish Question has repeatedly violated
  • Fact 3) Irish Question has gone to the length of stalking me on my talk page as a means of side threat to intimidate me and avoid confrontation on this article talk page where all other editors contributing to this discussion have disagreed with him but I am the only one under personal attack. I wish I could say my modest contribution to this article were worthy of such obsession with my person, but I would welcome anyone dissuading this user from ever addressing me personally again. Isananni (talk) 20:43, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

Would everyone just stop, please, and pause for breath? We've been here before (lots of times). Why get into an argument about semantics when alternative phrases can be used to achieve a compromise? Deb (talk) 09:05, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

I have no objection to TIQ's suggestion to "just rename the section 'King of England'". I agree that it's wholly neutral and not disputable. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:31, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
I do not think TIQ's main goal is to simply rename the section "King of England", which in itself is just as neutral as Deb's Progress to the throne, or the present Ascent to the throne.However, as long as WP:NEUTRAL is respected, and we agree Usurpation is NOT neutral and should only be mentioned in the Reputation section with mention of the scholars supporting this view alongside the scholars supporting the opposite view in equal and balanced measure, I have no objections, but I do expect support against the harassment I was made subject to. Isananni (talk) 09:41, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that did not look pleasant. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:47, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

Maybe everyone here needs to calm down and listen to what Shakespeare's Queen Margaret - the widow of the (murdered?) Lancastrian King Henry VI , the grandson of the (usurper?) King Henry IV - called them all: "You wrangling gang of pirates!" There's scientific neutral objectivity for you. O Murr (talk) 18:41, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

Well, pretty much:
"Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
"In sharing that which you have pill'd from me!" --Richard III, Act I, Scene 3. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:13, 13 May 2018 (UTC)


It is said Richard was made a Knight of the Order of Bath - but according to the linked page that order was 'founded by George I on 18 May 1725.' What is the correct link? Jackiespeel (talk) 10:46, 27 February 2018 (UTC)

Could the text be clarified slightly for others likely to be equally puzzled? Jackiespeel (talk) 11:17, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
I've piped a link to the most relevant section of the Order of the Bath article. Don't know is this is sufficient. Haploidavey (talk) 11:20, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
Probably will solve the problem - and, if there are other such queries add something along the lines of '(since 1725 the...)' for clarity. Jackiespeel (talk) 12:15, 27 February 2018 (UTC)


Between 1272 and 1603, Richard III seems to be the only English monarch to be married at the time of accession. Is this worth a mention? Robin S. Taylor (talk) 16:43, 5 July 2018 (UTC)

I don't think so. I do not see the point in that claim. Also, some might bring up Jane. Surtsicna (talk) 17:29, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @Robin S. Taylor: If you have a reliable source that says so, then go ahead and add the information, please. Someone might have; a book of Royal marriages, perhaps, but that's not really my bag I'm afraid. —SerialNumber54129 paranoia /cheap sh*t room 17:30, 5 July 2018 (UTC)

Claim to French throne[edit]

  1. There is no assertion within the article that Richard was a claimaint or pretender to the French throne, so this category prima facie fails WP:CATV.
  2. English claims to the French throne#Rulers of Calais (which I checked carefully before making the edit here) reads: "Following an episode of insanity on the part of Henry VI of England in 1453 and the subsequent outbreak of the Wars of the Roses (1455–87), the English were no longer in any position to pursue their claim to the French throne and lost all their land on the continent, except for Calais." This is the period of Richard III. This section is wholly unsourced.
  • The same problem exists in Edward V of England. Edward IV of England is not a member of this category at all. Henry VII of England, well, "Henry had been under the financial and physical protection of the French throne or its vassals for most of his life, prior to his ascending the throne of England." - doesn't seem to be the kind of way they'd treat a pretender. Henry VIII of England, same situation. I found all claims to the French throne were renounced in the Treaty of Brétigny.
  • This source (dunno its reliability, I won't question it for sake of argument) says from "Castillon in 1453" until 1802 the claim was "increasingly academic" and "theoretical" (but nonetheless real). So if it is a real claim, why isn't it documented in any of these articles? 2600:8800:1880:91E:5604:A6FF:FE38:4B26 (talk) 22:56, 5 July 2018 (UTC)

Poor argument. We have article Style of the British sovereign, which specifies that thr titles of Richard III were: "Rex Angliae et Franciae et Dominus Hiberniae (King of England and of France and Lord of Ireland)." And the claim to France ends in 1800/1801. Dimadick (talk) 09:04, 6 July 2018 (UTC)


Now despite lack of discussion, the maintenance template requesting a source for Richard's religious affiliation has been deleted, twice. This article is in categories which require compliance with WP:EGRS and WP:V. 2600:8800:1880:91E:5604:A6FF:FE38:4B26 (talk) 23:27, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
I don't know who removed it, but I would think it's because they didn't understand why Richard III's religious affiliation would be questioned in the first place and likely thought the request was made in error. All English monarchs pre-Reformation were Catholic back to the Conquest and before. Richard III was christened according to Catholic rites, attended Mass regularly, owned his own Book of Hours which he personally wrote prayers in, set up at least one chantry chapel for Masses to be celebrated for the dead of both sides of the Battle of Towton in 1461, got dispensation from the Pope for his marriage, had his own son christened... Are you questioning whether he was a Catholic or are you asking for sources to prove his Catholic acts? If so, are you asking that we provide such sources for each English monarch all the way back to the Conquest? Or for every monarch in medieval Europe? No sarcasm - it's an honest question because it would set a precedent. ~History Lunatic — Preceding unsigned comment added by History Lunatic (talkcontribs) 23:20, 29 August 2018 (UTC)

A suggestion[edit]

Re Section: Discovery of Remains. Just a suggestion. It reads "Forensic pathologist, Dr Stuart Hamilton stated that this injury would have left the King's brain visible ...," with another later reference to "the King," ande later calling him "Richard."
As the paragraph is still building evidence for this wretch being Richard, shouldn't it still read "the man" or "the skeleton" at this point, so as not to jump to the conclusion and derail the argument? (The ideal phrase would be "the subject," but that word is somehow antithetical to a ruler (as it turns out) and would thus be a distraction.) I'm not arguing for spoiler-avoidance, but rather for a logical progression of ideas. WHPratt (talk) 14:55, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

I think that would be a reasonable amendment. Deb (talk) 18:33, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
Agree. Have gone ahead and made a change there, thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:38, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, this is good, but there are a couple more references to a "king" and a couple of mentions of "Richard" in the paragraph. I don't think that, in this section, the identity should be assumed until the point where the authority declares that it's probably His Ex-Majesty. After that, call him by name all you want. I'm not arguing for drama or mystery (everyone reading this knows who it is), just the citing of the facts before the conclusion. Thanks for your patience! WHPratt (talk) 12:25, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
I have no objections if you wish to make the changes you suggest. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:32, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll do that. WHPratt (talk) 13:30, 12 October 2018 (UTC)