‘THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON WHY RICHARD III LOST THE THRONE IN 1485 WAS A LACK OF SUPPORT FROM THE NOBILITY’. HOW FAR DO YOU AGREE?
Richard’s lack of support from his nobles was an important factor contributing to his defeat at The Battle of Bosworth in August 1485, although there were other influential causes. Richard’s notorious reputation for murdering his nephews and usurping their throne was the basis of this. Additionally, it is a more important reason for his defeat, as it sparked off the chain of events that led to his demise; Buckingham’s rebellion, the emergence of Henry Tudor and ultimately Bosworth itself.
One key reason why Richard lost his crown, was his lack of backing from the nobility. During Edward IV’s reign, Richard had enjoyed an extensive support base in the north, but he failed to consolidate this on a national scale. Buckingham’s rebellion proves this, because although it failed in removing Richard from the throne, it increased the tension between the southern gentry and the northern, therefore reducing the stability of Richard’s rule. The kings’ tendency for favouritism further diminished his potential support. The famous contemporary rhyme “the Cat (William Catesby), the Rat (Richard Ratclife) and (Lord) Lovell our dog, rule all England under the Hog (Richard III)” written by William Collingbourne, illustrates the grudges between Richard’s less rewarded nobles and his inner circle, including Catesby, Ratclife, Lovell and other favourites, such as John Lord Howard (created Duke of Norfolk by Richard). The results of this resentfulness can clearly be seen at the battle of Bosworth, by the actions of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, who had grown to dislike Richard because he had not named Percy as his successor. This decision would prove costly to Richard, as Percy refused to advance his troops in battle, which may have contributed to his defeat. Additionally, Richards’s sour relations with Thomas, Lord Stanley and Sir William Stanley, resulted in the brothers marching their 3,000 men against Richard at Bosworth. Both nobles were loyal to the king until the battle, but only due to the fact that Richard held Lord Stanley’s eldest son. Clearly, the alienation of key nobles is an important factor as it directly contributed to his defeat at Bosworth. However, this alone does not explain why he had to face Henry Tudor in battle in the first place. Therefore, other factors were important in undermining Richards’s authority and resulting in the bleak position that he found himself in at Bosworth.
The most crucial reason, which explains why Richard lost his throne in 1485, was his poor reputation. This was a direct result of the widespread belief that he had murdered his nephews, the princes in the tower. Also there were rumours that he had murdered his wife, Anne Neville, so he could marry his niece Elizabeth York, who was promised to Henry Tudor. These scandals, combined with Richard’s violent seizure of the throne, created his reputation as an untrustworthy and cruel king. One explanation for…