Richard III

Key failures and success' in Richard III's reign.

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Richard III - Public Image - Negative

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The Princes in the Tower:

It was widely believed that Richard III had killed the Princes. He spread vicious rumours of his nephews illegitimacy and made no attempt to deny the rumours of his murdering them. This lowered his image as it made him look like a child murderer.

Sons Death 1484 and Wifes Death 1485:

After these deaths he made it known his plans to marry Elizabeth Woodvilles eldest daughter -  his niece! This opened him up to rumours of incest and his poisoning his wife. He eventually had to make a public statement infront of Lords, Aldermen and the Mayor of London denying this.

Usurpation of the Throne:

Divine right of Kings! Made him look weak and cruel.

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Richard III - Public Image - Positive

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Somewhat good image:

Appeared to be a deeply religiousGod-fearingjust and fair Monarch.

Outlawed the highly unpopular benevolences which had been obligatory gifts under Edward VI's reign and who had relied on them.

Created a new law protecting accused felons from loosing their goods before they were convincted.

These were popular decisions as the public was loosing less money at the hands of the Monarchy and he gained more public support - this was vital under his shaky reign.

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Richard III - Nobility - Negative

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After he ordered the death of Hastings who had previously been one of Edward IV's most loyal supporters - Richard knew he would object to taking the throne - the rest of his nobles were forced to make a decision and  pick a side. Most of the nobles then sided with Richard more for practicality than real loyalty - they didn't want to fall out of favour with him.

His image also made him more unpopular with his Nobles. Those who had been loyal to Edward IV resented how he usurped the throne, and the rumours of his murdering the Princes in the Tower led to further unpopularity. This would later come back to haunt him, particularly in the Battle of Bosworth when several of his key Nobles chose to side with Henry VII rather than himself.

He also favouritised his Nobles in the North, rewarding them with money and land farmore often than those in the South. This caused resentment amongst his Nobles and therefore more tension, as well as less loyalty to him from those in the South. He also gave many of his Nobles from the North central, important roles in Government and pushed those from the South out.

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Richard III - Woodville's and Henry Tudor

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Richard's desire to marry his niece Elizabeth, alienated the enemies of the Woodville factionas they did not want a restoration of Woodville influence. Richard then made this worse when he began to re-associate himself with the Woodville's in order to show the public that he was reconciled to the new regime, rather than supporting Henry Tudors cause. This was unwise as it pushed away his supporters and meant in the long-term the Woodville's may have been restored to power.

Henry Tudor:

His popularity was growing throughout Richards short reign. The rebels involved in Buckingham's rebellion wanted him crowned king no matter how remote his claim andinvited him back from exile in France during their rebellion. Richard therefore used propaganda to try and stop this. In 1484 he had Henry VI exhumed and reburied in St Georges chapel and became patron to his foundation at Kings College, Cambridge. When Henry invaded however, Richard was still unpopular and the Kingdom was far from secure, therefore making it easier for him to win in the Battle of Bosworth.

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Richard III - Buckingham's Rebellion

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October/November 1483

The Duke of Buckingham had previously been one of Richard III's greatest allies, however in a startling U-Turn possibly inspired by the Woodville faction, he chose to try and save the Princes before it was too late.

Himself and the rebels started to instead support the claim of Henry Tudor and invited him back from exile in Brittany, whilst a plan was hatched to marry him to Edward VI's eldest daughter in order to reinforce his claim.

Richard raised an impressive army and marched south. The revolt was suppressed without a fight however, and following the arrest of flight of many of the rebels, Buckingham's estates and several of the other 'traitors' were seized by the King and given to his supporters. This was before this was legalised in Parliamentary Acts of Attainder, several of which followed in 1484.

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Financial Policy - Negative

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Not entirely his own fault, but he still made bad choices and these affected his popularity.

After Buckingham's Rebellion 1483, the War with Scotland and Richards preparations for an inevitable invasion from Henry Tudor, money was running extremely short.

Richard therefore had to often rely on forced loans from the public to pay off his debts which lowered his popularity. This was worsened as he had ruled out benevolences and the public was therefore unused to paying money to the King.

This was also a shock as Edward IV had been very financially successful and had died solvent, so going from stability to massive debts made his kingdom seem more insecure.

Richard had also claimed that he was living off his own, but this was shown to be untrue, again lowering his public image.

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