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The Man from Dudley

Apart from a perverse desire to pin a Brummie accent on Richard III, I wouldn't call myself a devotee. He's fascinating in many ways. It has always struck me as incongruous that the king who believed in progressive concepts like Blind Justice and Presumption of Innocence, the man who had the law translated into English so that all his subjects could understand it, would be so daft as to have the kiddie princes killed. He must have known it was a destroyer of reputation and a beacon for all his enemies. He would have produced the boys to deny the rumours if he could. He couldn't and neither could he trust an investigation, or he would have ordered one. No, escaped or dead, he knew they were gone.

My suspicion is that this king, seemingly set to be an exemplar, fell into temptation. He personally was far away; perhaps he ordered someone else who ordered someone else...perhaps Richard was a ruler capable of developing the society around him in fair, excellent, extraordinary ways, an almost enlightened man subject to one great weakness: the common ruthlessness of medieval kings. It seems a strange juxtaposition of characteristics, and not entirely convincing. I don't quite like it.

It becomes more difficult to imagine when looking at the soft features of the facial reconstruction, hearing English as he might have spoken it. He has no look of villainy about him, which is probably why Henry VII had to paint him up so badly - the Tudor was hardly boyband material. Will did say, 'One may smile and smile and be a villain,' but then Will said a lot of things. Even the most gifted can be touched by propaganda. Happened to Will, happened to the man from Dudley.

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