Interesting Facts about King Richard III — Part Three

Countdown: 21 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.)

  • King Richard III is the second-great-nephew by marriage of the 14th-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer.
  • Margaret of York, King Richard III’s older sister, married Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, in 1468. The celebration was dubbed “the marriage of the century” and has been re-enacted every five years as the Pageant of the Golden Tree since 1958.
  • The future King Richard III had at least two bastard children, both believed to be born before he married Anne Neville; John of Gloucester, so named because he was born when Richard was duke, and Katherine Plantagenet, who married William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. A third person, Richard Plantagenet, also claimed to be Richard’s son, but his story seems spurious.
  • Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor, carried the train of Anne, King Richard III’s queen, at his coronation.
  • The only known contemporary likeness of King Richard III is from the Rous Roll. All other surviving portraits were made after his death.
  • “The Catte, the Ratte and Lovell our dogge rulyth all Englande under a hogge” refers to King Richard III’s trusted advisors William Catesby, Richard Ratcliffe, and Francis Viscount Lovell, who had a family heraldic symbol of a dog-like animal, while King Richard III’s  emblem is the white boar. William Collingbourne attached this poem to St. Paul’s Cathedral in July 1484 and was later hanged, drawn, and quartered for his support of Tudor.
  • King Richard III slew William Brandon, Tudor’s standard-bearer, just before he was killed himself at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Brandon’s son married Henry VIII’s favourite sister, Mary, and their granddaughter was Lady Jane Grey, the Nine-Day Queen.
  • Only one copy of King Richard III’s Titulus Regius survived Henry VII’s reign. The copy was transcribed by a monastic chronicler into the Croyland Chronicle.
  • The ITV television special, The Trial of Richard III, had King Richard III tried for the murders of the Princes in the Tower, before a retired Lord Chancellor; the jury acquitted him on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
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