Here in NZ, the spectacle only garnered a few moments of tv curiosity time, but it was Billy Big Time there. However not everyone appreciated the pomp and ceremony.
Michael Thornton, writing in Britain's Daily Mail, watched with …mounting stupefaction, the grotesque televised travesty involving the remains of one of the most evil, detestable tyrants ever to walk this earth.
|Richard III: R3, to his friends.|
2½ years after his bones were unearthed under a Leicester car park, and at the outrageous cost of more than £2.5 million, Richard was prepared for reburial with a 21-gun salute, medieval re-enactors in shiny armour and plumed helmets, children in paper crowns, onlookers tossing white Yorkist roses.
An aura of heroism has been conferred on R3 for being the last English king to die in battle. But he was only in battle because his usurpation of the throne - and his abduction/murder of his nephew Edward V - had provoked a popular rising/invasion led by Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond.
R3 need not have died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. If he'd retreated, the throne he'd stolen would've been lost, and his future would have been as an exiled fugitive. He died attempting to hack his way through to Henry Tudor, knowing that if he killed him, then the throne was his.
Was this heroism? No. Like everything else he did, it reveals the mind of a murderous pragmatist.
In this light, much of what took place last Sunday raised serious doubt about the sanity of some of the key figures involved.
At a service in Leicester Cathedral, held on the basis that Richard was a pre-Reformation Catholic (though one who, for most of his life, was in anything but a state of grace) the Archbishop of Westminster preposterously eulogised that "in his two years as King, he reshaped vital aspects of the legal system, developing presumption of innocence and the practice of granting bail."
Did Cardinal Nichols read any of R3's bloody history? Where was the throne-robber's "presumption of innocence" when he had his late brother Edward IV's loyal friend, William Lord Hastings, beheaded without trial? Where was the judicial process when the young Edward V's maternal uncle, Earl Rivers, his half-brother Lord Grey, his chamberlain Sir Thomas Vaughan and his cousin Richard Haute were all killed on R3's orders?
Dr Phil Stone, chairman of the Richard III Society: "Richard was a man of integrity who cared for his subjects." Seems he cared for them so much that he slaughtered 27 (that we know about) in cold blood, and probably hundreds more…and this does not include those who died in battles fought on his behalf.
Among his victims was the rival Lancastrian monarch in the Wars of the Roses, the saintly mentally-ill Henry VI - whom Richard (then Duke of Gloucester) stabbed to death in his prison cell in the Tower in order to make his brother, Edward IV, the undisputed occupant of the throne.
This took place shortly after R3 also brutally murdered Henry's son and heir, Edward Prince of Wales, then married his widow. But the worst of this mass-murderer's atrocities was the slaughter of his nephews, aged 13 and 11 - the rightful King Edward V and Richard, Duke of York. Apologists have invented many conspiracy theories to absolve him of blame. But the fact remains that after arranging for his brother's sons to be declared illegitimate, R3 seized the throne and, one month after his coronation, the pair disappeared from the Tower of London and were never seen again.
Should a serial killer such as Richard III be honoured with 21-gun salutes and triumphal parades?
After this glorification of criminality, may we now expect celebrations of Adolf Hitler? There is also the Russian despot Vladimir Putin, recently described in a court of law as a murderer and common criminal. How about a statue of the aging dictator Robert Mugabe, large enough for people to throw rotten eggs at?
If we can turn a child-killer into a national hero for children to cheer and admire, then just about anything seems possible.
Indeed! Well said, Mr.Thornton. Read his full article: [LINK]