King Richard III, England Rumor : King Richard III murdered his nephews.
Here's a real hot one. So hot, that a whole society was formed to uncover the truth behind this supposedly maligned king. In fact, far more is written on whether Richard wacked his nephews than on Richard's short rule. But because I too love gossip...let's indulge ourselves and also unravel this whodunit tale.
Our tale of deception and greed begins
in 1483 when Richard’s brother King Edward IV dies. Edward’s sons, Prince Edward V and Richard of York, (shown above) were next in line for the throne. But Uncle Richard claimed Edward IV had promised to marry Lady Eleanor Butler before secretly marrying the boys’ mother, Elizabeth Woodville. (Edward IV had always been a bit of a dog when it came to the ladies) It is important to remember that in the 1400s a promise of marriage could not be broken without permission from the church. Technically, Edward was legally bound to his first marriage agreement which technically made his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville invalid which technically made his offspring merely pampered bastards.
Oh no...we have a problem. Bastards can't be kings. Who is going to wear the crown? (Check out the Richard's Family Tree to see who is related to whom).
The playwright, William Shakespeare had much to say about Richard. In his play Richard III, he has Richard proclaim,
"dogs bark at me as I halt by them;" You have to be pretty ugly to make dogs howl. And if that was not damaging enough, Shakespeare also portrayed Richard as a lame hunch back. But there isn't any evidence Richard was a hunchback nor that he sent the dogs running.
Playwright & Pot Stirrer
Although Shakespeare had a great passion for history, his plays were meant to be only dramatic, not factual. In fact, Shakespeare was the ultimate rumor spreader. He actually invented the word gossip, along with several other English words.
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