Five centuries after his death, Richard III finally gets a royal send-off

White roses adorn the King Richard III statue at Leicester Cathedral in central England.

White roses adorn the King Richard III statue at Leicester Cathedral in central England.

This week, there’s been an outpouring of emotion in normally staid Britain as thousands paid their respects to the late King Richard III after the long-dead ruler’s remains were rescued from under a parking lot.

Yes, that’s the same Richard III portrayed as an evil hunchback in Shakespeare’s play.  His back problems even helped archaeologists confirm his identity.  Richard’s bones were found beneath a parking lot near the city of Leicester in 2012, not far from the battlefield where he was killed in 1485.  The identity was confirmed by DNA evidence and by the distinct curved spine of a scoliosis sufferer — and the multiple wounds from edged weapons.

After a formal procession on Sunday, Richard’s remain lay in state for three days in Leicester Cathedral, where public viewing had to be extended to accomodate the crowds.  Thousands of people filed solemnly past the coffin, many waiting in line for an hour or longer in bitter cold to get a glimpse of the dead king.

Mourners also covered a statue of the late king that stands outside the cathedral in white roses, little notes of tribute and other images and emblems of Richard’s fallen dynasty.  He was formally buried at the cathedral on Thursday.

On Sunday (22 Mar 2015), Richard's remains left the battlefield to applause before travelling back through the streets of Leicester on a gun carriage. Thousands lined the route of the procession, which passed the car parking lot where the king’s bones were discovered by a team of Leicester University archaeologists three years ago.

On Sunday (22 Mar 2015), Richard’s remains left the battlefield to applause before travelling back through the streets of Leicester on a gun carriage. Thousands lined the route of the procession, which passed the car parking lot where the king’s bones were discovered by a team of Leicester University archaeologists three years ago.

Richard III died in the final battle of a decades-long civil war, the Wars of the Roses, which pitted the House of Lancaster against the of the House of York.  The Red Roses of the House of Lancaster won the war and set about re-writing history to discredit their rivals.  Shakespeare, eager to please, jumped on the bandwagon and painted the dead King Richard in a pretty poor light.  But some modern historians have since rehabilitated the reputation of Richard III as a ruler.  They’ve even cast doubt on his most famous alleged crime, the killing of his two young nephews in the Tower of London.

However, not everyone in Britain appreciated the solemnities.  Polly Toynbee opined in The Guardian:

“It’s comical, but tragic too, as a reminder of the indignity the British accept in their accustomed role as subjects, not citizens. Here are church, royalty and army revering a child-killing, wife-slaughtering tyrant who would be on trial if he weren’t 500 years dead. This is the madness of monarchy, where these bones are honoured for their divine royalty, whether by accident of birth or by brutal seizure of the crown. Richard, whose death ended the tribal Wars of the Roses, is a good symbol of the “bloodline” fantasy. Our island story is one of royal usurpage and regicide, with imported French, Dutch and German monarchs who didn’t speak English. The puzzle is that this fantasy of anointed genes persists, even unto Kate’s unborn babe.”

One thing I do on this blog is to figure out how I may be related to famous men and women of history, including British royalty.  It’s a presented in the spirit of good fun and entertainment.  EVERYONE with ancestors in the British Isles is connected to almost everyone else by the time you trace the connections over this many generations.  My English royal ancestry (Houses of Norman and Plantagenet) can be traced back to William I (“the Conqueror”), to whom I am related in multiple ways.  Also, through Isabella of France (1295-1358), I am descended from the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, Harold II Godwinson, who was born about 1022 and killed by William the Conqueror’s army at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  If you interested, there’s mush more about all this under the article “Royal Ancestors”.

As far as I know, I am not a direct descendant of Richard III.  However, his maternal grandmother, Joan Beaufort (wife of Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland – my direct ancestor) was the granddaughter of King Edward III, from whom I am probably a direct descendant as well.  The connection is summarized below:

Richard III King of England (1452 – 1485), 1st cousin 18x removed – Cecily Neville Duchess of York (1415 – 1495) – Ralph de Neville 1st Earl of Westmorland (1364 – 1425) – Eleanor Neville Countess of Northumberland (1397 – 1472) – Thomas Percy Lord Egremont (1422 – 1460) – Johanna Percy (1460 – 1537) – William Harris (1490 – 1556) – William Harris (1518 – 1559) – William Harris of Shenfield (1545 – 1601) – William Harris (1596 – 1656) – Robert Harris (1635 – 1701) – William Harris (1669 – 1733) – Robert Overton Harris (1696 – 1765) – Anna Harris (1724 – 1775) – Sarah Ann Dabney (1740 – 1822) – Dabney Waller (1772 – 1849) – Elizabeth Dabney Waller (1808 – 1881) – Jacintha Ann Pollard (1832 – 1894) – Elizabeth Minor Hancock (1850 – 1928) – Seddie Gunnell (1875 – 1946) – Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (1901 – 1982) – Tor Martin Hylbom (1939 – 2009) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom

White roses at the memorial to Richard III in Leicester Cathedral.

White roses at the memorial to Richard III in Leicester Cathedral.

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Montague Proposed Noble and Royal Lines

The following lineages from Drogo De Monte-Acuto, born 1040 and Richard I Moriton (Duke of Normandy), born 933 have been proposed by Skiles Fielding Montague of Bradenton, Florida.  I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this information.  I present it merely as a starting point for anyone who may be interested in researching the possible noble and royal connections of […]

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Henry I

Adapted from Wikipedia: Henry I (1069-1135) was the fourth son of William I of England.  He succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother, Robert Curthose, to become Duke of Normandy in 1106.  A later tradition called him “Beauclerc” for his scholarly interests – he could read Latin and put his […]

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Magna Carta, also called Magna Carta Libertatum or “The Great Charter of the Liberties of England”, is an English charter, originally issued n Latin in the year 1215, translated into vernacular-French as early as 1219 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions.  The later versions excluded the most direct challenges to the monarch’s authority that had been […]

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Royal connections – investigated and explained

I’ve taken a break from trying to figure out the connections among the Harris / Butler / Claiborne families in Essex, England and Virginia and delved a bit into royal connections.  Our English royal ancestry (Houses of Norman and Plantagenet) can be traced back to William I (“the Conqueror”), to whom we are related in multiple ways, including (possibly) through the line of one of Henry I’s many illegitimate daughters, Elizabeth (or Sibyll), who married Fergus of Galloway.  Through the most direct line of descent, William I is our 28th g-grandfather through his son Henry I and Henry’s daughter, the Empress Matilda of England.   As a result of various branches (i.e., descent through siblings of the same parents), William I is also our 29th-36th g-grandfather.  On the Royal Ancestors page, various lines of descent from William the Conqueror are summarized.  Also, through Isabella of France (1295-1358), we are descended from the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, Harold II Godwinson, who was born about 1022 and killed by William the Conqueror‘s army at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 (he is her 7th g-grandfather).

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Isabella of France

For an explanation of my line of descent from Isabella of France, refer to Royal Ancestors. Adapted from Wikipedia: Isabella of France (1295-1358), sometimes described as the “She-wolf of France”, was Queen consort of England as the wife of Edward II of England.  She was the youngest surviving child and only surviving daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan […]

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Edward II #1

  Individual 1. King of England, Edward II He was born 25 APR 1284. He died 21 SEP 1327. Parents 2. King of England, Edward I (Longshanks) He was born 17 JUN 1239. He died 7 JUL 1307. 3. of Castile, Eleanor She was born ABT 1241. She died 29 NOV 1290.   Grandparents   4. King of England, Henry […]

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Edward I (Longshanks), King of England

For an explanation of my proposed line of descent from Edward I, refer to Royal Ancestors. Adapted from Wikipedia: Edward I (born 17 Jun 1239 and died 7 Jul 1307), also known as Edward “Longshanks” and the “Hammer of the Scots” (from Latin: Malleus Scotorum), was King of England from 1272-1307.  The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early […]

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Royal Ancestors

My English royal ancestry (Houses of Norman and Plantagenet) can be traced back to William I (“the Conqueror”), to whom I am related in multiple ways, including (possibly) through the line of one of Henry I’s many illegitimate daughters, Elizabeth (or Sibyll), who married Fergus of Galloway.  Through the most direct line of descent, William I is my 28th g-grandfather […]

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King #24336

William (Capt.) King (1544-1609) Born in England.  Arrived at Jamestown, Virginia on 18 Aug 1609 (possibly my first ancestor to reach the shores of North America) and perished at sea on the return voyage to England and Blanche Mainwaring (1548- ) Born and died in England. Capt. William King may be the first of my ancestors known to have set […]

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