Coffee House

Richard III should be buried in the north

13 September 2012

10:43 AM

13 September 2012

10:43 AM

History is written by the victors. So Richard III might have anticipated that his death at Bosworth Field in 1485, the last English monarch to be killed on the battlefield, would only be the start of a downward reputational spiral. The last five hundred years have not been good for the man whose remains may just have been found under a Leicester car-park yesterday.

Shakespeare did much of the damage, forever fixing our image of this hunched Machiavellian schemer and his ignominious downfall – ‘my Kingdom for a horse’ – though the Bard was popularising an existing Tudor narrative. Sir Thomas More, seven when Richard died, deserves at least equal credit since his polemical history of Richard, written three decades later, is the main source for much of the legend of the Princes in the Tower, and the allegation that Richard murdered them.

So this unlucky King’s posthumous enemies have been our most beloved writer and, in More, a martyr who was later canonised! Now given one final chapter in the Richard story, it seems unlikely that the defenders of the Plantaganet King could turn this long reputational winter of discontent into glorious summer once again, but they may well get to contest the argument.

It is a brilliant archeological story. The University of Leicester team are clear that they can not claim victory. The details are tantalising: the skull cleaved by a bladed implement; and the spinal curvature, which ‘would have made his right shoulder appear visibly higher than the left shoulder’. What a shame it would be if DNA verification to quash the theory, with Richard’s identification depending on a match with his 17th-generation descendant, 55-year-old Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born furniture-maker based in London.

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If this is Richard, what happens next? It was suggested at the press conference that he would be buried in Leicester Cathedral, but others now suggest a full state occasion in London and his burial in Westminster Abbey.

By all means, let there be a state funeral for Richard, but it should be a state funeral in the north.

The last Plantagenet King should lie in state and be buried in York minster. What better way could there be to relearn the history of England, and to realise too that it has not always a London-centred story?

Whatever Richard’s deeds or misdeeds, one final symbolic moment of reconciliation would enable us all to find out what the Wars of the Roses were about, and how much they shaped England, before the white and red rose became primarily, today, the symbol of a fiercely benign county cricketing rivalry between Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Every schoolchild once knew that Richard of York gave battle in vain. It is now to York that he should finally return, rest and remain.

Sunder Katwala is director of British Future.

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Show comments
  • Kim Drew

    can he not be buried with his wife? although I understand there was no stone or marker for her surely there is some written evidence of where she is and he should be laid to rest with her.

  • Janette

    Richards remains should most definitely be buried in York Minster. He grew up in Yorkshire, had strong connections with the minster.
    Leicester only want him because their visitor numbers will greatly increase. Kerching!

  • David Turner

    Bring Richard back to Middleham and start the funeral procession from there and bury him with the Pomp and Ceremony he desrves in York Minster.

  • Another Richard

    Absolutely,York Minster is the only location which should be considered.The city of York was consistently loyal to him ………and still is!

  • Another Richard

    Absolutely,York Minster is the only location which should be considered.The city of York was consistently loyal to him ………and still is!

  • http://www.facebook.com/davenanot Davena G Hooson

    Those who say he was not ‘from Yorkshire’ should know that this was the place where he chose to live and was
    highly thought of. He should not be buried in Leicester, the place wher
    he was betrayed and killed. He should be taken back to Yorkshire, his
    home.

  • Cynthia Haggard

    I agree that Richard III should be buried in the north, because that’s the country that he loved. And my understanding is that it was only the citizens of York who openly decried his death, putting themselves in the position of having the wrath of the new King of England, one unsavory Henry Tidr. I think the City of York should be rewarded for its loyalty to Richard’s name. A burial in Westminster Abbey wouldn’t mean as much.

  • P. E. Dant

    Sunder – agree with the last sentence of your article. However, Richard, 3rd Duke of York, Richard IIIs father, was the Richard of York in the mnemonic used to remember the colours of the rainbow – killed at the Battle of Wakefield on 30th December 1460 near Sandal Castle, and his head, wearing a paper crown, put on a pike at Micklegate Bar in York by Lancastrian soldiers – as any fule, but apparently not any journalist, kno.

  • Madame Merle

    Could a resting place be more ignominious than a car-park in Leicester?

  • Madame Merle

    Could

  • Adam B

    From the final point Richard of York was buried at Fotheringhay. Let his son, if it is him, lie in York; or why not remove Henry VII from Westminster and let the rightful king take his place.

  • HilaryB

    Richard was born at Fotheringhay Castle on 2/10/1452 but was brought up, as was the custom, in another household ie. Warwick ‘The Kingmaker’s’ residence at Middleham. He would therefore have known Neville’s daughter from childhood and subsequently married her. As a northerner he would doubtless be satisfied with York Minster as a final resting place, but his eye was very much on the capital London so who knows?

  • SarahbellExcellent

    He needs to be buried at Middleham church, they we can all do the day trip thing ins day. After all he loved it here.

  • Glyn

    His living descendant said that he should remain at Leicester. The Richard II Society is based in Leicestershire. London is the butt end of Britain who always get everything. Who in York actually gave a damn until now? No. let Leicester have their day.

  • Alfred T Mahan

    It would be sad if the DNA isn’t a match – but I hope everyone will realise that that doesn’t necessarily mean that the body isn’t Richard’s. In seventeen generations there have plenty of chances for Michael Ibsen’s ancestors to, shall we say, throw us off the scent…

    • Lilithcat

      There can’t be a match, as there is no known sample of Richard’s DNA to which to compare that taken from the skeleton . The best that can be done with a comparison to his sister’s descendant’s mitochondrial DNA is to say that the person whose remains were found and the descendant have the same maternal lineage. If the mtDNA differs, then it’s not Richard.

  • Catherine R

    York Minster!

  • Anastasia Kashian

    I think it was the people of York who inscribed in their public records, “This day was our good king Richard piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city”. Considering that the “murderers” were at this point not only on the loose, but in power and keen to clear up their new kingdom, I would say the Yorkites had earned the right to Richard’s body. It may have been a (very) long time ago, but at the time they obviously felt strongly enough about him to stick their necks out. Bury him there and may he rest in peace. You can’t really leave him in a supermarket car park…

  • Augustus

    “Although small of body and weak in strength, he most valiantly defended himself as a noble knight to his last breath.” But after the battle King Richard’s body was recovered from the corpses pliled around Henry’s fallen banner and stripped of all its clothing. Then, with a halter around the neck the naked corpse was strung across the back of a pack horse and taken off to Leicester where it lay exposed for a couple of days as proof of the Lancastrian triumph, before being buried without ceremony in the chapel of the Grey Friars. The tomb, to which Henry actually contributed a sum, was later destroyed at the dissolution of the monasteries, and Richard’s bones were thrown into the river Soar.
    So said the Tudor historian John Rous.

  • Augustus

    “Although small of body and weak in strength, he most valiantly defended himself as a noble knight to his last breath.” But after the battle King Richard’s body was recovered from the corpses pliled around Henry’s fallen banner and stripped of all its clothing. Then, with a halter around the neck the naked corpse was strung across the back of a pack horse and taken off to Leicester where it lay exposed for a couple of days as proof of the Lancastrian triumph, before being buried without ceremony in the chapel of the Grey Friars. The tomb, to which Henry actually contributed a sum, was later destroyed at the dissolution of the monasteries, and Richard’s bones were thrown into the river Soar.
    So said the Tudor historian John Rous.

    • Alan Eastwood

      If the skeleton is proved to be Richards then it proves that even in Tudor times accounts were ‘sexed up’

  • kidmugsy

    “with Richard’s identification depending on a match with his 17th-generation descendant”: this is madness. Why not dig up another ancient Plantagenet and compare the two DNAs? Why trust a genealogy over 17 generations?

    • Ostrich (occasionally)

      Ah well, that can work both ways, can’t it?
      No match-nothing proven or disproven.
      Positive match-proof positive and, at the same time, verification of the genealogy. (Or does random chance look better to you?)

  • MikeF

    If things carry on getting this heated we might find ourselves refighting the Wars of the Roses – that would be a nice distraction from the problems of multiculturalism. As for Richard III he was an annointed King of England and his reinterment should reflect that fact. Personally I would have thought Leicester Cathedral was the right place because it is the closest to where he fell in battle and was given his first funeral. What an oddity that one of the most controversial monarchs this country ever had should spend time underneath a car park used by municipal social workers. But that is what centuries can do to fame and reputation. Shakespeare (whose ‘history’ plays are not drama-documentaries but studies in psychology) got that right. Remember Hamlet’s comment: “Mighty Caesar dead and turned to clay might stop a door to keep the draught away.”

  • Clare Dennis

    Balderdash to jacquie n! Richard III was immersed in what we would call nowadays a seriously dysfunctional family! Any positive material was destroyed by his highly insecure opposition who took the crown when Stanley decided the wrath of Margaret Beaufort was worse than following his conscience! This insecurity had to be put to bed with the marriage of Elizabeth of York ….. whose mother was from Grafton Regis – definitely south of York! Laid to rest in either York or Westminster both southerners and northerners will be there ………………

  • bjean

    Westminster with his wife, Fortheringay with his parents, or York Minster — they’re all good. Then there’s Gloucester Cathedral . . .

  • Dee

    No, he should be buried in Westminster Abbey as close as possible to the burial site of his beloved wife, and Queen, Anne Neville.

  • Keith

    Oh come on people … there is no reason to doubt that the Princes were murdered in the Tower: they went in there in 1483 and were never seen alive again. Richard was in a position to order their deaths and had every reason to do so in order to head off the political threat from the influence of the Wydvilles. Nor did he ever suggest that anyone else was responsible for their disappearance or even (so far as we know) make any effort to find out how or why they had disappeared, despite the fact that he was their uncle. He simply assumed the throne. You don’t have to be a Tudor loyalist to see the case against Richard as very strong.

    Glad they seem to have found him, though: the last English king to die in battle, leading a cavalry charge at Bosworth. What a guy. Hope the body is genuine and gets a Royal burial, wherever it may be.

  • Alan Eastwood

    I believe the only fitting place for Richard the Third is Westminster Abbey.
    As our last truly English King we English should show him the greatest respect.
    I expect Cameron to apologise to the late King for him being buried in a car park.

    • Alexsandr

      I’m expecting him to apologise for Harold getting an arrow in his eye. Do you think the Italian government will apologise for slaying Bodecea?

      • Alan Eastwood

        No, under their present economic situation I think we can expect a bill for the building of Hadrians Wall.
        No politician has yet apologised for the transportation of prisoners to Australia..another opportunity for Cameron I fear.

    • HooksLaw

      Cobblers
      His father was born in Hertfordshire and his mother in Bedfordshire. Furthermore – seeing as how I am British who cares where Owen Tudor came from?

  • David Robinson

    The evidence that Richard III was a child murderer is sketchy to say the least, and has been perpetuated throughout the centuries by historians who seem to believe everything Shakespeare wrote. Shakespeare needed stay on the right side of the Tudor dynasty and what better way that to paint Richard as a villain.
    There was no political reason for Richard to kill his nephews, as blame would inevitably be placed at his door, guilty or not.
    An equal candidate for being the murderer was surely the Duke of Buckingham who had every opportunity to gain from blackening Richards name. Unfortunately , after over 500 years, it is going to be difficult to find any definitive evidence , one way or another.

    • morriarty

      Strange that two decades passed after Bosworth before any accusation was made. Given Tudor’s somewhat dodgy claim to the throne, had Richard killed the princes, wouldn’t it be the first thing he’d have wanted to blow the gaff on the moment he got to the end of Edgeware Road?

      • Tony in York

        Friar Mancini and John Argentine both implicate RIII in Edward V’s murder in 1483.

        • morriarty

          At which date is this implication made?

      • Clare Dennis

        absolutely!

      • Richard II (Rick Stewart Jr.)

        Did you also realize that attempts to clear Richard III’s name began almost before Elizabeth was cold, now that it was “safe to talk”….?

    • Michael990

      Two bodies of the right age were of course found in 1674. It might not have been Richard III’s own hand, but it could have been perpetrated by a supporter on his command.

      • Ostrich (occasionally)

        Aye, and their DNA testing wasn’t very good in those days!

      • morriarty

        …or Tudor’s… or Buckingham’s…?

    • Ostrich (occasionally)

      If Will used Holinshed’s Chronicles as his (almost exclusive) source, was it because he was told to?

      • Augustus

        Shakespeare needed to entertain his audience so he simply dramatised the
        story, embellishing the tales already surrounding Richard III by that time. “I, that am rudely stamp’d…cheated of feature by dissembling nature, deformed, unfinish’d” was God’s gift to David Garrick, Laurence Olivier etc.

      • Fergus Pickering

        No it wasn’t. It was because it was the only history he had read. Besides, a wicked hunchback makes terrific theatre.

      • Lilithcat

        Shakespeare used Thomas More’s “history” as the source for his play.

      • Lilithcat

        Shakespeare used Thomas More’s “history” as the source for his play.

    • HooksLaw

      Sketchy? Why were they never seen after 1483?

      The ability of people to live in fantasy land is never ending and the comments here are a salutary warning about the total pointlessness of the web.

      • History Lover

        Because they might have been sent to Burgundy to their Aunt. They might have died of natural causes.

    • History Lover

      Another candidate to be investigated should be the sainted Lady Margaret Beaufort. It is very funny that within two and a half years of Edward IVs death everybody who stood between her son and the throne was dead.

  • orlandoa1

    If the remains excavated at Leicester do prove to be those of king Richard III, then perhaps they should be buried next to his wife Anne Neville in Westminster Abbey.

  • morriarty

    For once it’s nothing to do with left vs right politics where he’s buried. Truth is he founded the Council of the North and was a well liked respected leader there before he became an anointed king. York is where he intended to be buried and being an archbishopric too, it is only right he should be laid to rest there. I’m sure Dr. Sentamu would do a fantastic job.

    • Qwdxztyrqdz

      God forbid that an Anglican clergyman should preside over the service. King Richard was a Catholic.

      • HooksLaw

        Shows why its a daft dumb and stupid idea for some fancy reburial. Thats assuming its him, which its probably not. But even if its not we can expect all the numpty loony tunes to pretend it is anyway.

      • morriarty

        Not that the ‘how’ matters as much as the ‘where’; York Minster along with all mediaeval churches were Catholic before the nefarious actions of his great nephew. A latin content to a service here would be interesting mind.

  • David Bret

    I agree wholeheartedly. York Minster. Richard loved the North. But there should also be a ceremony at Westminster Abbey, and some sort of plaque erected in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where Edward IV is buried.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501001631 Matt Betts

    Totally agree. He should be in York (after a state funeral in London). Certainly not Leicester near where he was defeated. Time to honour a fallen king.

  • jacquie n

    Wasn t it in York a few years after his death that the Earl who betrayed him on the field at the Battle of Bosworth was pulled from his horse by an angry mob and killed? Definitely vote for internment at York Minster – the southerners never liked him, never trusted him and were mainly responsible for the ludicrous tales of the Princes in the Tower. If its him – bring him North to York Minster – as we northerners only accept the best!

    • HooksLaw

      Pathetic. A usurper and child murderer. Who was the rightful King following Edwards death? Not Richard. However prejudiced you are you cannot get behind that. You and other loonies are blatant bigots.

      • http://www.facebook.com/brian.k.ohara Brian Keith O’Hara

        Many people, including me, believe that Henry Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham, in possible collusion with Henry Tudor, murdered the Princes. Henry Stafford started a rebellion immediately before Henry’s invasion of England. Henry Stafford was in line for the crown himself. Both Henry Tudor and Henry had three obstacles on the road to the crown. Richard III, the Lord Protector, appointed by his brother King Edward IV; King Edward V and Richard Duke of York(brother of Edward V). A contemporary document discovered recently in the Ashmolean Museum indicates the story is far more complicated the commonly belief:
        “the Princes were murdered ‘be the vise’ of the Duke of Buckingham.
        The word vise could mean either advice or device. In the fifteenth century,
        however, advice could have the meaning ‘by the command of’ as well as ‘by the
        advice of’.” Further questions arise out of no prosecution of Catesby and Tyrell until nearly 20 years after the boys disappearance. But most of all, read what contemporaries of Richard III said of him, especially the people of YORK, who new and, apparently, loved him. Richard administered the north while his brother was King. The Stanleys could have cared less about Edward and his brother, after Bosworth they exploited the rewards they received from Henry VII. They would later pay for their support. Having betrayed Richard, Henry would betray them.
        I have one thing to add, remember the Sherlock Holmes quote:Gregory(Detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”Holmes: “That was the curious incident.” Then remind you that St. Thomas More’s history of Richard III which was the basis of Shakespeare’s “crookback” but was never published. Not even, when this venemous Tudor tract could have done him the most good in his relations with Henry VIII. It provided legitimacy to the Tudors. Written about 1515, but never released. When Sir Thomas was excuted in 1535, it was found among his papers. I personally think that Sir Thomas relized that his view of Richard III was based on the vicious hatred of Cardinal Morton and Henry Tudor ally and not the truth and hee wouldn’t sign his name to it. Thomas grew up in Cardinal Morton’s household. Unfortunately, this unpublished document was Shakespeare’s source of Richard III. Read Josephine Tey’s “The Daughter of Time”.
        One thing everyone agrees, Richard III was the bravest man on the battlefield of Bosworth. He fought ferociously, smiting several Lancastrians personally. When he saw the treachery of the Stanleys, he charged Henry Tudor. Henry had spent the whole battle cowering in fear behing his mercenary bodyguard of 200. He charged them, falling within feet of Henry. A brave man, dying honorably. For which Henry Tudor, had his body stripped naked and paraded through Leicester. Who was honorable and who was not.

        • telemachus

          Let us not forget what a good thing it was for all of us that Henry Tudor prevailed leaving the subsequent glorious accession of his grand-daughter to initiate our relationship with the rest of the world which has led to the rich multicultural society of today.

          • Judi

            but we don’t know how history would have turned out if Richard had won. Just because Henry Tudor winning gave us, eventually , Elizabeth I is no justification for saying “it was a good thing”

            • morriarty

              Quite. Think of all the heritage and treasures destroyed when Tudor’s son destroyed the monasteries. Bosworth was England’s Culloden.

          • Richard II (Rick Stewart Jr.)

            Ah, but the ends do not justify the means…who knows what may have transpired had Richard’s reign been longer. The Tudor dynasty consisted of 5 monarchs, each (Yes, including Elizabeth, but less so) bloody in their turn. Though my ancestor, Matthew Stewart, led the Highland Mercenaries against Richard @ Bosworth, I would proudly wear the badge of the Boar…

            • http://www.facebook.com/brian.k.ohara Brian Keith O’Hara

              I would as well.

        • Richard II (Rick Stewart Jr.)

          Your post is well thought out and I wholeheartedly agree with the points that you have made. I would suggest that if you haven’t read it already, read Paul Murray Kendall’s biography of Richard III

        • Sue from Meisenthal

          Tony in York states that John Argentine implicated Richard in Edward V’s murder. I would not necessarily say that it was murder, but John Argentine himself may well have been responsible for Edward’s death. He was his doctor and heavily into alchemy. He had been the doctor of Anne Mowbray, wife of the younger prince in the tower, Richard of York. she died at a very early age. Also subsequent to his joining Tudor abroad, he became the doctor of Henry VII’s son Arthur – another who failed to reach adulthood. Not a very good track record!

          • http://www.facebook.com/brian.k.ohara Brian Keith O’Hara

            Since John Argentine fled England when Richard was crowned, his testimony as to what actually happened in England would be limited to hearsay and, secondarily, should be weighed taking his circumstance having fled to Henry Tudor’s camp in France. Not unbiased, but worth note.

    • Salmondnet

      By all means, if it really is Richard, bury him in York, but less of the anti-southern bigotry please.The Stanley family were indeed an exceptionally treacherous bunch, even for that era. They had huge land holdings in the North West of England. Richard’s most successful traducer was Shakespeare, a man of impecable midland antecedents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.spencer.14 Cynthia Maher Spencer

    York Minster, Leicester Cathedral and Fotheringay Church all have a good case to be made. And the service should be royal. And packed with his faithful followers, Richard II Society members (like me!). But certainly London is inappropriate.

  • http://twitter.com/rosscoe_peco Rosscoe_peco

    He should probably be buried with his wife in westminster abbey.

    • Fed_Up18

      YES! THIS! He was a King of England, and, by all accounts, loved his wife: he should be buried with full honors & reunited with his spouse.

    • Dee

      Absolutely agree, don’t think anywhere but with his wife should be considered.

  • sb

    Penrith, surely, where the only remaining memorial to him exists (parish church, stained glass).

    • Alexsandr

      in reality he will probably remain in a dusty cellar in Leicester university in case they need to do more research on the bones.

  • HooksLaw

    If its Richard III then he has already had a funeral – the monks buried him. Quite why a usurper should have a state re-interment is beyond me.

    • morriarty

      Why not, given that Tudor had the full jamboree?

    • Ostrich (occasionally)

      O-oh, I love minds that are open to reasoned argument!

    • Dee

      You are clearly unable to regard this in terms of the historical importance of his being England’s last ENGLISH King, he was not a usurper, you need to read your history, he became King because of the plight-troth his brother had gone through with another woman, thereby making his marriage illegal and his children illegitimate!!

  • wrinkledweasel

    It will cause a great revival of interest, not to mention a raft of documentaries with some televisual history men prancing about in fields and declaiming, with the emphasis on every third word, and in a strangulated staccato not unlike the King’s impersonators, “Now is the winter of our 6-part documentary and book deal, made glorious summer”, etc.etc.

  • Smithers Jones

    “He must go ‘up north’ “. How predictable…..

    Is there no bounds that the left will go to to create false superficial divides in this country? Is there a bandwagon, however purile, they won’t attempt create? Is it really of national political importance (even on a blog) where a monarch long dead is buried? Have the left become so unecessary that this is the only thing their cheerleaders have to write about?

    The answer to this is surely let those who are deemed Richard’s family decide where they want him buried (just like anyone else ~ within the relevent constraints). Journalists and poltical parasites should not use it to peddle their sad divisive sterotypical political prejudices. It is none of their business!

    For the record I don’t care where he is buried as long as he is honoured as a Monarch should be honoured.

    • Nicholas

      The left are in permanent “struggle” and where there are no divisions and no enemies they create them. They are addicted to strife, disharmony, envy, spite, lies, propaganda and complaining. Even their “celebrations” (q.v. Boyle Test) must contain attacks on those they would demonise. A horrible movement represented by a horrible party. I have not a single good word to say about any of them and I despise them. They are mainly responsible for every rotten thing in this shithole of a country.

      • Kyoto

        Sunder Katwala should also be aware that in terms of Ed Said Orientalism – I’m sure a doctrine he subscribes to – that if you come from outside someone’s tradition and engage with this Other, then any remark, suggestion, or raised eyebrow – even favourable ones – are in essence oppresive. They define the Other (in this case the white British) as the intruder wishes to fashion and objectify them, denying the Other their intrinsic right to view themselves as only they are entitled too.
        Maybe Mr. Katwala could let us know before he reports himself to Trev Phillips the High Commissioner for We Hate White People whether he is an imperialist and/or a colonialist.

        • http://twitter.com/sundersays Sunder Katwala

          Kyoyo,

          What an absolutely extraordinarily bizarre comment you make. I wonder if you could explain what it is based on?

          Do I come from outside “someone’s tradition”? Which tradition? The English tradition? The British tradition? I am part of both of those, and always have been.
          Since I was born in April 1974 in the Doncaster Royal infirmary, and could have been selected for Yorkshire before they revised the rules, and though I didn’t live in Yorkshire for a long time, I feel it is perfectly appropriate to lead this Yorkist-push!

          Where on earth did your certainty that I subscribe to Edward Said’s Orientalism come from? I remember that I did once try to read a little bit of Edward Said at university, but did not get so very far with it as to finish the book, so don’t know enough about his theories to have ever written a sentence about them before. I understand that is not an uncommon experience. That seems a quite extraordinary inference to make (from somebody’s name?).

          • Kyoto

            Busy day at the QUANGO. As Wellington and not Ed Said, said ‘Being born in a stable does not make one a horse’. I am your Other and you patently seek to define myself and my identity. Your post confirms it.

            • http://twitter.com/sundersays Sunder Katwala

              Kyoto,

              I am English and British. You say I am not. As you don’t agree with me about what my national identity is, could you advise what you think my national identity is? Or perhaps you think I don’t have access to one at all.

              So, how long does it take? Would you accept my children are English, born here to English-born parents, are English, or are they Irish (two grandparents, one on each side) or Indian (one grandparent)? (I was born in England to a parent born in India (British India, at the time) and Ireland. My wife was born in England to an Irish and English parent. Is she English, or not?)

              • Kyoto

                You cannot work for an organisation like British Future and consider yourself British or English.
                And I take it as a given you agree Trev Phillips runs a white hating organisation.

                • http://twitter.com/sundersays Sunder Katwala

                  Happily, your views are not as widely shared as you think. I think only a small minority of people would tell me that I can not be British or English. Moreover, British Future’s campaign for an English national anthem for English sporting teams has been very widely discussed and often welcomed. I think about one other person making the “what has it got to do with you?” point in a radio discussion. Several other people thought that was pretty rude and stupid.

                  But I am glad you have managed to engage so fully with the Richard III debate, even while decrying my role in sparking what has been an interesting conversation about the topic of the thread, and probably a more productive one than this side-debate about who you think can count as English or British.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Of course you do not have to be white to be English. Is not the splendid Nasser Hussein English?

                • Kyoto

                  English teams have a national anthem it is ‘God Save the Queen’. The insufferable arrogance of the left in their self-satisfied need to ‘identify’ problems, and change things. To re-define. And as Ed Said when this comes from outside (even if it is seen as being from a sympathetic point of view) such re-definition is about control. The control of your other. I am your Other and you seek to re-define me by suggesting English teams national anthems should be changed. Or by informing you Other that I cannot have an opinion on who or who is not of my nation.

                  With respect to ethnicity and nationality and suggesting that the former does not relate to the latter. A nation must have shared values and a shared experience, but certainly the last is not the case in Britain. Who is the term ‘institutional racism’ directed at, both blacks and whites or just one ethnic group. If it is just one ethnic group then blacks and whites cannot have a common nationality.

                  Further you are a professional leftist. As such you cannot be English or British. A long-time ago all leftists abandoned the idea of nationality, and in particular a shared patriotic nationalism. Unless it was redefined on their terms. Say we need a new national anthem for the England team. So on this basis I apologise maybe I was to rash in merely suggesting you were a colonialist or an imperialist, in seeking to crush out of existence or dominate the indigenous culture. There is a third offering that of Quisling, those on the inside who would collaborate in the destruction of their own. Does that make things better.

                  I still find your protestations about not knowing, yet at the same time rejecting Ed Said somewhat disingenuous. You know when I say Ed Said I am really talking about identity politics, cultural domination and the Other. You simply cannot be part of the left and not subscribe to such notions. You would not have reacted in the way you were not somewhere on that spectrum. Further I have not read Marx but I do know something about Marxism. I also note that you have something of a disregard for academia which you say ‘doesn’t travel much’ so I suppose you must have a secret contempt for those – like your colleagues – who parade their academic backgrounds. God knows what you think of someone who has a Masters in Refugee Studies.

                  Finally, I have not as you patronisingly suggest engaged in any debate about Richard III. And again could you explain why you are so insufferably arrogant. Is it because you are insecure. Your deliniation of parental ethnicity suggests the thin skinned ego of a parvenau nobleman.

                • Kyoto

                  Sunder, Sunder wherefore art thou Sunder.
                  Did you do the negative mark on my last post or was it one of your cronies.
                  Am I such your Other that you refuse to respond. I would have thought that the Director of British Future (and is it true the former Director of the Fabian Society) would, no matter how unconfortable the excahnge would still want to engage in a discourse about Britishness with his ‘Other’ just to prove his Other is wrong. Or are you simply so full of apopelxic rage you cannot deal with the QUERTY keyboard.
                  I’m sure that you realise that Ed Said Orientalism with respect to Britain does paint you into a corner. Does it hurt to find out that you are a cultural imperialist. However, what must be worst – though as a cultural imperialist this must actually be a source of pleasure – is the implications for your English/Irish (I assume from your earlier post a synonym for white) wife, in that she is nothing more than a collaborator with an agenda which will simply demand her subservience to the dominant power.
                  Bye the way I’m going to tell my children a tale of Englishness or Britishness in late October. Since you think we have a shared commonality could you tell me what event I’m refering to of our shared history.
                  I am your Other and you are a cultural imperialist which as you know means you are nothing more than a r…ist.

              • Kyoto

                You cannot work for an organisation like British Future and consider yourself British or English.
                And I take it as a given you agree Trev Phillips runs a white hating organisation.

              • Nicholas

                English is not a category of nationality or race that the British government appears to recognise since it does not appear on the many diversity and other forms they require us to complete in order to segregate us for the purposes of the multiculturalism they have imposed on us without our consent. Our government also does not recognise the English as the indigenous people of the country known for centuries as England and they do not believe that we should have a devolved government of our own as the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish do. It appears that the defining category for the British government is the colour of one’s skin as in “white British” for example. As an Englishman whose ancestors have been born in England for at least 1,000 years I consider myself English and object to having to define myself as “white”. I could be red of face and green of hair and I would still be English.

                The point you make about your own ancestry demonstrates just how ridiculous it is to pigeon hole the natives of England into categories determined by their skin colour or historical antecedents.

                • http://twitter.com/sundersays Sunder Katwala

                  Nicholas, Thank you. I agree English is not an ethnic category. (This is not accepted by Kyoto, it seems, who refuses to accept my self-identification as English or British, though these are certainly the only countries I have and belong to). Happily, this is accepted by the broad majority of English people, in polling on this question. Though a minority of about one in five regard being white as important to being English, three-quarters of people reject that.

                  On public recognition of English identity, I have been arguing for an English national anthem for English teams, which would be a symbolic form of official and public recognition of England, and one which would (in my view) also strengthen the United Kingdom and indeed the Monarchy, by ending the appropriation of the British anthem by English teams even when playing other British national teams, such as Wales or Scotland.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Oh God! An English Anthem. Have you not that dire thing the Scots are supposed to sing to show you what we would get? Besides, England includes Scotlnd and Wales just as it includes Cornwall and Kent.

                • harold

                  I could be red of face and green of hair and I would still be English.

                  Bullshit.

                  Complete bullshit.

                  As you well know.

      • HooksLaw

        ‘The left are in permanent “struggle” and where there are no divisions and no enemies they create them.’ — correct. After 13 years of doing absolutely nothing (some of which when he was Home Sec) Jack Straw manages to blame Thatcher for the Hillsborough cover up.

        If you want to work out what the weakness is of the Conservative party then you only need to look at the Conservative response. Lord Tebbit no less can only call him ‘very silly’. The truth of course is that Straw is a scheming lying bastard bigot.

      • Nicholas

        And the down arrows are a delight. Because every one represents a leftist who has read my comment. More please.

    • Nicholas

      The left are in permanent “struggle” and where there are no divisions and no enemies they create them. They are addicted to strife, disharmony, envy, spite, lies, propaganda and complaining. Even their “celebrations” (q.v. Boyle Test) must contain attacks on those they would demonise. A horrible movement represented by a horrible party. I have not a single good word to say about any of them and I despise them. They are mainly responsible for every rotten thing in this shithole of a country.

    • http://twitter.com/sundersays Sunder Katwala

      It doesn’t seem to me a particularly political question. A case can be made for York, for Westminster Abbey, for Leicester cathedral, for Northamptonshire. It seems to me that a public and media discussion about which would be most appropriate (and why) may help to illuminate what we know, or should know, about this period of history, and the impact on modern Britain. Certainly lots of people seem to be interested in the finding – as part of history – but I haven’t really seen anybody finding much party politics in it. I don’t see much partisan value in this proposal for any side of politics

      • Kyoto

        Speaking like an academic with a mouthful of references and footnotes you should be aware that for academia Ed Said is a core text on identity. I therefore find it strange that you’ve written for the identity obsessed Guardian and are a Director of an organisation – the Brits have no Future – which is also about identity. Even if you have not read Ed Said then the so-called intellectual environment you swim in is dominated by Ed Said Orientatlist discourse.
        I suspect you do know about Ed Said, and ideas of the Other, but just did not like the way I applied it. Hence your rather thin-skinned response.
        With respect to the admission you have not read Ed Said it does not bode well for someone who assumes the mantle of a public intellectual, and just to let you know you can read books after you’ve left university.

        • http://twitter.com/sundersays Sunder Katwala

          I did try to read Said once, which happened to be at university, but found it a bit impenetrable as a book. I have read his commentaries in newspapers like the Guardian from time to time, but have found that I don’t share his general political perspective, which I take to be a good way further left in the New Left Review Marxist traditions than my own rather centrist social democratic views. Yes, I am aware that he is a key figure in post-colonialist studies in the universities, but that more rarified academic discourse doesn’t travel outside academia so much.

  • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

    British Future is an organisation committed to changing our undoubtedly bigoted views about immigration. Its websites says of itself…

    Building a modern British identity which helps us to
    build an inclusive citizenship, where we can all be confident about who
    we are, and which recognises the national and local identities we hold
    in Britain today too.

    Understanding that migration has long made a positive contribution to British life, so we need to address its economic and social pressure, to manage it fairly for everyone.

    It is supported by agencies which include Unbound Philanthropy described as a private grant-making foundation dedicated to ensuring that migrants, refugees, and their families are treated with respect and dignity; are able to contribute fully in their new communities; and can ultimately thrive in a society that is comfortable
    with the diversity and opportunity that immigration brings.

    This is not the sort of future I want for Britain.

    • HooksLaw

      It may be then that I have wrongly traduced Speccy journalists in an earlier comment. But what is the Spectator doing giving house room to this guy?

      • Ostrich (occasionally)

        I thought the Speccy championed free speech?

        • HooksLaw

          Intelligent speech

      • History Lover

        Because he was probably the best monarch this country has ever had apart from our present Queen. He was responsible for us having bail and trial by jury and he was known for providing justice in a world where there was very little justice. He did things for ordinary people, he captured Edinburgh without there being a single life lost.

        • brenrod

          “..the best monarch this country has ever had apart from our present Queen. ” What is the bais for this statement regarding the present Queen?

    • telemachus

      Unbound Philanthropy
      *
      Pleased you put me in the way of this excellent organisation. They even press your paypal button
      *
      We live in an increasingly open and interconnected world, one where modern technologies and our global economy allow goods, ideas, and information to move around the planet with unprecedented ease and velocity. The movement of human beings, however, is not as seamless.
      Though migration is as old as civilization itself, there are now more people moving greater distances, more quickly, and more often than at any time in our history. Our economies are now attuned to, and often reliant upon, immigrant labor. Our cultural fabric is shaped by our diversity. The needs of forcibly displaced people for international protection have never been greater. The scale, speed, and complexity of modern migration create inevitable challenges that should be overcome in a manner that serves the needs of all people and communities.
      At Unbound Philanthropy, we believe migrants and refugees should be welcomed, not vilified. We envision a world where they are engaged in their new communities with respect, compassion, fairness, and justice. We believe the challenges newcomers face mirror the challenges confronting communities everywhere. Similarly, the opportunities newcomers find can reflect the health and strength of their host communities.
      That’s why we support:
      Working, responsive approaches to immigration and immigrant integration that contribute to a vibrant economy and a just and fair society, where human rights apply to newcomers and long-time residents alike. A society where migrants and refugees are able to contribute and thrive, where integration is supported, and where non-immigrant communities are assisted in adapting to, and building relationships with, their new neighbors.
      Welcoming newcomers. Strengthening communities. We support work that does both.
      *
      Excellent

      • Nicholas

        And I envisage a world where migrants engage their new communities with respect, compassion, fairness and justice too. But any organisation that has the impertinence to refer to me as “a long term resident”, ignoring the blood of my ancestors buried for centuries in this soil, and that seeks to hold me in balance with someone just off the boat needs to take its head out of its arse. As you do, telemachus, as you do.

        • telemachus

          I who trace my ancestry to the Hugenots am proud to regard myself as both successful immigrant and long term resident

          • Nicholas

            We all thought you were a Greek, hence our suspicion of the “gifts” you bring to this place. “Long term resident” is an insult to the indigenous English. This is not a bloody hotel.

      • Keith

        Our economy is only reliant upon immigrant labour because millions of chavs sit around claiming benefits and doing no work. There’s an answer to that and it isn’t more immigration.

        • brenrod

          Are you referring to the elite and aristocracy? I think the number is much fewer.

      • brenrod

        Is this an advertisement?

    • morriarty

      Interesting sentiment but what’s Immigration got to do with the Greyfriars dig in Leicester apart from the breton blood content locally resulting from the rape of the city by Tudor’s mercenaries back in 1485.

  • http://twitter.com/sundersays Sunder Katwala

    “Richard of York gave battle in vain” – it has been pointed out, by Nina Caplin, that the origin of the famous rainbow mnemonic is the defeat of Richard III’s father (at the battle of Wakefield in 1460). I didn’t know that. As Richard is the last King of the House of York, I had always thought the mnemonic referred to the story of his losing his kingdom for a horse on the battlefield, since “giving battle in vain” also seems to fit his defeat and death quite well.

    • John Price

      An easy mistake to make and graciously corrected. Saved me the job.

  • Robert Taggart

    This Atheist Republican would welcome the spectacle of a full-blown state funeral at Westminster Abbey !
    This be our history – even those of us who would seek to bring an end to monarchy – cannot deny / re-write our history.
    RP – RIP.

    • Nicholas

      Funny then that the left seem to spend so much of their time denying or re-writing our history or demanding it be apologised for.

      • Robert Taggart

        Agreed. FTR – oneself be not of the left.

  • Jonathan collett

    Not sure his links with York are that strong actually. He was born in Northamptonshire and was later Duke of Gloucester. I think the strongest case is for burying him at Leicester given it was his last resting place and its proximity to Bosworth Field (or more accurately field of Redemore near to Upton and Stoke Golding).

    • Ostrich (occasionally)

      I thought he was born in Middleham Castle in Yorkshire?

      • http://www.facebook.com/kathy.hills.39 Kathy Hills

        No, he lived in Middleham Castle with his wife Anne Neville and their little son. It was where he was happiest, and he was brought up there, but Richard was born in Fotheringhay Castle. I still think he should be buried in York or London, though, and not in Leicester where he was killed and his poor body despoiled and laid out to ridicule.

        • alexsandr

          Fotheringhay Castle was where Mary queen of Scots was executed. But it does have a lovely Perpendicular parish church. Although in Northamptonshire, its actually quite close to Peterborough.

      • Jonathan Collett

        Richard was born on 2 October 1452 at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire.

        • Richard II (Rick Stewart Jr.)

          Alas…Fotheringay Castle no longer exists…how I would have loved to touch the walls wherein my hero was born and my ancestor died…

      • Jonathan Collett

        Richard was born on 2 October 1452 at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire.

    • HooksLaw

      I agree – its typical of ignorant Spectator journalism to link him with the North. That was his sphere of political influence, but when the opportunity arose he was happy to be in London to usurp the throne. Richard III was a usurper and child murderer and if his bones are found that is interesting and he should be buried somewhere.

      The English Tourist Board are best consulted I think. Logic would suggest since he was not a legal King of England he should be buried somewhere near where he was born. If indeed they are his bones, which is not at all certain yet.

      • jmcevans

        No, it’s accurate history. Richard was viewed – with some suspicion – as a northerner in the south. He had a strong affinity with York, to the extent that the city fathers took the brave/foolhardy step of issuing a proclamation lamenting his death after Bosworth. Oh – and he certainly was a legal king, despite Henry VII’s attempts to destroy every copy of Titulus Regius.

        • telemachus

          Let us celebrate the last Plantagenet King as the last glory of the glorious plantagenets.
          These magnificent kings ran an open crusading kingdom celabrating diversity and international cooperation while pursuing God’s Will.
          They are truly the foundation of the Nation’s glory over the next 600 years.
          It is sad that at the 600th centenary we had a PM and Government that were drawing in the drawbridge to little england and her successors are trying their best after 13 years re-establishing the Nations glory to do it again.

          • telemacharse

            I have said it before and no doubt I will keep having to say it – you are an idiot. When will you get it into your thick head that noone is interested in what you have to say? What you think is intelligent comment doesn’t make sense and any point you are trying to make is drowned out by your poor English and rotten syntax. You are stupid stupid stupid.

        • Alexsandr

          Seem to recall when time team did a special that there was doubt as to the male parent of one of the kings. Think he was born in Rouen and his father had been away for 11 months before he was born. perhaps someone here know more.

          • Phil

            That was Edward IV.

            • Alexsandr

              So that means Richard III is not a legitimate king perhaps???

      • Lilithcat

        He was no usurper, and there is certainly only minimal, if any, evidence that he was a child murderer. His reign was perfectly legal. See Titulus Regius.

        • HooksLaw

          Cobblers. There is clearly no end to the endless supply of loony tunes and pea-brains that can smear themselves across the pages of the Speccy.
          He faked his claim to the throne and usurped the rightful son of Edward IV. If the princes were not dead during his reign why did he not produce them?

      • Lilithcat

        He was no usurper, and there is certainly only minimal, if any, evidence that he was a child murderer. His reign was perfectly legal. See Titulus Regius.

      • History Lover

        Sorry Hookslaw, he was the most legal King of England ever. He was asked by Parliament to become King and they passed an Act called Titulus Regius making him King. There is no evidence to suggest that a) the Princes even died at that time and b) if indeed they were murdered there is no evidence to suggest that Richard was the murderer. Henry Tydder had no claim to the English throne.Henry Tydder was not Welsh,in fact he was more French and probably had a claim to the French throne through his grandmothe Catherine of Valois

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