Countdown: 33 days to go to King Richard III’s reinterment.
Conversation flagging at a cocktail party? Tense moment at the family dinner table? Run into someone at the office water cooler? Hoping to impress your true love with a tasty bit of trivia? Try one of these interesting facts about King Richard III — part of an on-going series — to start the conversation or return it to a more even keel. (You’re most welcome.)
- The future King Richard was born the same year as Joanna, Princess of Portugal, who was considered a consort for Richard after the death of his queen, Anne; Spanish king Ferdinand II of Aragon; the artist Leonardo da Vinci; and the friar and preacher Savonarola.
- The future King Richard III fled to Burgundy twice. The first time after Warwick was defeated at the Second Battle of St Albans in 1461 and then in 1470 after Warwick rebelled and Richard went with Edward VI into exile for seven months before they mounted an invasion and defeated Warwick at the Battle of Barnet. (The Search for Richard III: The King’s Grave)
- King Richard III was the first known king of England to take his coronation oath in English.
- King Richard III was the last king of England to die in battle. The other post-Norman Conquest kings to die in battle were William I in 1087 (died in France from injuries received from his saddle pommel when he fell off a horse at the Siege of Mantes) and Richard I in 1199 (died during a siege of the French castle of Châlus-Charbrol by an arrow that entered his shoulder).
- King Richard III’s skeleton shows at least eight wounds, all to his head, and two post-mortem wounds to his body.
- The mayor of York’s serjeant of the mace wrote on 23 August 1485, “that King Richard, late mercifully reigning upon us, was through great treason of the duke of Norfolk and many others that turned against him, with many other lords and nobles of this north parts, was piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city.”
- Like King Richard III, his sister Margaret of York, who married Charles the Bold of Burgundy, was buried in a Greyfriars church in Mechelen and her grave also was subsequently lost. (Bones were discovered there in 2003 and tested to see if they had the same DNA as Margaret’s — and Richard’s — sister’s modern-day descendant. There was no match, but John Ashdown-Hill, who found the living descendant then had Richard’s mt-DNA profile.)
- US President Abraham Lincoln could recite the prologue of Shakespeare’s Richard III from memory.