|Posted on April 28, 2013 at 2:15 AM|
There are some things it is necessary to take time out for, and this was one of them.
April 25, 2013
Dana L. Huntley, Editor, British Heritage
Leesburg, Virginia 20176-6500
Dear Mr. Huntley,
I have been a subscriber to British Heritage for many years and have long looked forward to a comprehensive and dispassionate article on Richard III, so was absolutely delighted when the July issue arrived, today, with the most attractive of the existing portraits of the gentleman gracing the cover.
Eagerly, I carefully read my way from front cover, saving the best, and finally arrived at page 24. Seven paragraphs in, I was stopped dead in my tracks by, “They were digging for the remains of Greyfriars, a Franciscan friary . . .” No.
They were digging for the remains of Richard III, and they never would have done any digging at all if it were not for the dream, stubborn insistence, and organizational abilities of Philippa Langley and the gift she brought to Leicester University by successfully rallying the financial backing of a great number of the worldwide membership of the Richard III Society.
At the press conference announcing the results of the find in February, Richard Buckley gave brief and barely noticeable acknowledgment to Philippa and the RIII Society, and, as did the Tudors, the University have continued to bask in their own wonderfulness, since. Only the BBC4 special that followed gave full due to the true heroine and supporters of the adventure, and I am sorry to see British Heritage continuing the oversight.
Then, to my further annoyance, Jim Hargan’s “Bosworth’s Battlefield, Then and Now,” compounded injury at the bottom of page 30 with, ”Consider William Hastings, the Old Lord Chamberlain who Richard murdered in his June coup. . .” No.
Hastings was arrested on Friday, June 13th, tried on Monday, June 16, found guilty of treason, and executed the following day. Yes, a bit of a hurry but hardly, “murdered.” His family were not attainted and left in penury and Richard insisted that, in accordance with Edward IV’s Will, he be buried next to Edward, where, as far as anyone has written, his remains remain.
In the second-to-the-last paragraph of his article, at the bottom of page 32, Mr. Hargan’s anachronistic viewpoint came to full flower with, “Richard, like many tyrants . . .”
It is obvious that Mr. Hargan is not a scholar. The last Plantagenet king is renowned among scholars for overseeing the enactment of just laws. The only noteworthy contemporaneous person who ever accused Richard III of tyranny was Henry Tudor, who dated his own reign as beginning on August 23, the day before Bosworth, thus turning every man who fought for Richard into a traitor. That’s tyranny.
May I suggest that the next issue of British Heritage contain the moving and inspiring story of Philippa Langley’s quest, along with photos of the new portrait bust - also commissioned by the Society - as well as pictures of the tomb design the Society has offered to Leicester Cathedral (and which has, heretofore, received no response other than an announcement that they will not consider it until a contest has been held to determine the design of the memorial).
The 2013 Annual General Meeting of the American Branch of the Richard III Society will be held September 27-29 at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
The American Branch website address is www.r3.org. It can also be accessed from the “Interests to Share” list on the “Links” page at my personal website.
Saturday, June 22, 2013, is the 530th Anniversary of the day Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was - in unanticipated circumstances - called to be king.
In spite of all, I do adore British Heritage.
I've never been a "fan"actic about Richard III but, from my own reseach for the play(s) over the years, have absorbed a lot. I actually put off joining the RIII Society for a long time because I was concerned that some people might think I was acting out of negative self-interest - but, finally, after many interior discussions, decided, "Why not?" and am very, very glad I did. The only regret I've had is that I haven't been able to afford to get to some of the wonderful events in the U.K.
Well, I'm walking proof that prayer works, so I guess it's time to concentrate on gaining literary and monetary success so that I can fulfill my dream of yearly trips across the pond until I'm locked up for my own safety.