Richard III, RIchard Crookback, the figure behind the nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty” was buried after the Battle of Bosworth Field…” a horse, a horse” and all that. Actually, Dickie was yelling for a steed so that he could clear out when the battle turned out not to be going his way. Richard III is best known through Shakespeare’s play of the same name, and he is painted as a supreme villain, rat, murderer, and all around bad guy. For many, many years the whereabouts of the king’s corpse was unknown. But he seems to have surfaced, sort of. A skeleton was discovered near the field, just dumped into a grave and lacking any ornaments or signs of royalty. So, it looked like some ordinary guy. It did, until somebody noticed the odd cure in the spine. Hmmmmmm! Could it be? No way, mate. But the circumstances were so suggestive that it was impossible to dismiss the possibility. Expert opinion now accepts that the skeleton is that of Richard III.
For a long time, people have doubted that Richard was as bad as Shakespeare made him out to be. The playwright, after all, was working in the era of the Tudor monarchs, who just happened to be the group that got rid of Richard and took the throne for themselves. And Shakespeare wanted to be in good with the rulers, so it was wise to portray him as cruel, ambitious, scheming louse and unwise to mention some of the other things about him. There even is, or at least was, an Anti-defamation of Richard III Society , devoted to re-habing the king’s image and place in history. A great deal depends on who’s writing the history and why.