Now is the Winter of our Disinterment 699

The researchers had a hunch he was there. ATOS pass Richard III’s skeleton as fit to work.

Joking aside, the discovery of Richard III’s body is fascinating and wonderful. Aside from Shakespeare’s brilliant play (which is evidently not as physically inaccurate as we have been told for years), and the question of who killed the Princes in the Tower, there is a romance about lost dynasties which appeals to a deep human yearning for a golden age when things were somehow better, and for “lost futures”. What might have been, had those evil Stanleys not turned on Richard at Bosworth and put their miserable Welsh accountant on the throne?

Richard is described in today’s newspapers as the last English King. The Plantagenets were of course Angevin. The last English King – indeed the only English King of all England – was Harold Godwinson. Now there’s a lost dynasty for you.

We now know that Richard’s “Claim of Right” was almost certainly true and Edward IV a bastard, as his father was nowhere near his mother for months around the purported conception. But the so-called Royal line is, I am quite sure, sprinkled with bastards and no line at all. Not to mention that George I was 39th in line to the throne when given it 300 years ago, but the first Protestant.

Monarchy is bollocks, and something we should have outgrown a long time ago. Nice to see that today’s Prince Harry retains the tradition of remorseless homicide though.

Leicester University deserve congratulations on a genuine achievement. I hope Richard can now be reburied as soon as possible – as a Catholic, which is what he was. He was a human being. The degradation and display of his fresh corpse were horrible; but there is a danger of repeating it with a po face and feigned serious intent.

699 thoughts on “Now is the Winter of our Disinterment

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  • johnf

    >The last English King – indeed the only English King of all England – was Harold Godwinson.

    I think Aethelstan was the first king of all England.

    But the Anglo Saxon Kings did remain a powerful memory in England. The parliamentarians in the Civil War believed they had overthrown the Norman Yoke. The founding fathers in the US believed that their constitution was a remaking of the Anglo Saxon Constitution and their first warship was named Alfred. The Chartists wanted a return to the more open, democratic ideals of Alfred and Ethelflaed’s kingdom. A lot of Victorian and Edwardian painters celebrated portraits of Anglo Saxon kings. I can remember a pamphlet in the 1970’s demanding a return to the “Anglo Saxon Constitution.”

  • craig Post author


    I snaffled the ATOS one off a Guardian comment thread. Rather good I thought. I came up with the winter of our disinterment myself, but presumably along with thousands of other people. I hadn’t looked through the Amelia Hill thread lately. It seems strangely besieged by trolls – I can’t believe they are wheeling out the “Why don’t you criticise Russia and Iran” rubbish again.

  • doug scorgie

    The British Monarchy is absolutely essential to the powerful, unelected, unaccountable elite that really run this country behind closed doors.

    Recent disclosures that the Queen and Prince Charles are consulted on matters of parliament and can veto the introduction of proposed legislation show that we do indeed have a shadow government with the royals as standard-bearers.

    Democracy is ok it seems as long as it produces the “right” result and doesn’t adversely affect the power and interests of our anonymous elite.

    The following extracts are from Jonathan Freedland ,The Guardian, Wednesday 15 March 2006 .

    “As Peter Wright confirmed in his book Spycatcher, [Harold] Wilson was the victim of a protracted, illegal campaign of destabilisation by a rogue element in the security services.”

    “Retired intelligence officers gathered with military brass and plotted a coup d’état. They would seize Heathrow airport, the BBC and Buckingham Palace. Lord Mountbatten would be the strongman, acting as interim prime minister. The Queen would read a statement urging the public to support the armed forces, because the government was no longer able to keep order.”

    “[There is] archive footage of troop manoeuvres at Heathrow, billed as a routine exercise but about which Wilson was never informed – and which he interpreted as a show of strength, a warning, even a rehearsal for a coup.”

    “… officially it never happened: a 1987 inquiry under Margaret Thatcher concluded the allegations were false, implying that the fading Wilson had descended into paranoia.”

    We now know it did happen.

    We are ‘allowed’, it seems, to have democracy provided certain lines are not crossed by the elected government.

    The monarchy should be abolished but I fear there are some very dangerous actors behind the scenes that would not allow that to happen.

  • Clark

    doug scorgie: “We are ‘allowed’, it seems, to have democracy provided certain lines are not crossed by the elected government.”

    Yes, and a very effective system it is, too. It keeps public discontent to a minimum and doesn’t arouse public suspicion. Far more efficient than outright dictatorship. Why squeeze sand? It’ll only start slipping through your fingers.

  • Mary

    On topic insofar as Richard III is mentioned in the opening sentence here from Nigella’s bruv.

    Dominic Lawson
    Monday 4 February 2013

    Chris Huhne’s downfall is another example of the amazing risks a politician will take
    People who choose a career of perpetual uncertainty are liable to behave crazily. Just look at Archer, Aitken, Crossman, Phillips, Bevan…

    PS Lawson’s journalisitic pathway… FT>Spectator>Sunday Torygraph>Independent and Sunday Times

    PPS I heard that some radio presenter has referred to Richard as the ‘Richard One hundred and eleven’.

    PPPS If I mention Craig’s reference to P Harry, the trolls might descend here. Otherwise I can’t think they will have anything to say about a dead monarch five centuries distant.

  • JimmyGiro

    Of fires and frying pans.

    We did once get rid of the monarchy, but it was replaced by Utopian proto-socialists, who could only see the faults in the natural human condition. The people elected the restoration, not so much due to the virtues of monarchy, but because their traditions had been subverted by the radical alternatives of the Puritans.

  • Eddie-G

    “had those evil Stanleys not turned on Richard at Bosworth and put their miserable Welsh accountant on the throne”
    I’d happily argue that the miserable Welsh accountant turned out to be one of the better monarchs. Not that there’s strong competition, but he was notably less of a war-monger or pompous twit than his alleged forebears or progeny.

  • Giles

    While I am absolutely against our military presence in Afghanistan, and it is true that he is being kept mostly out of harm’s way, and whatever the rights and wrongs of the conflict (have I qualified this enough?), at least Prince Harry is there representing the British elite, doing the dirty work and facing the reality on the ground, unlike the politicians who, along with their sons and daughters, are kept safely away from the horrors of what they started. Killing may at present be as trivial to him as a video game, but he will know of the mental anguish that service personel experience first-hand, and may well it experience it himself. That is far more than can be said for the likes of Blair and Cameron. If we are going to have these wars, then I would like to see far more of our elites participating in them, as they once did.

  • Leon Friederichs

    Well, we in Germany have left at least that monarchy stuff behind us. Yet our public (!) channels use to cover foreign royal weddings etc. over at least six hours or so…
    But honestly, Craig, I couldn’t agree more on the view on monarchy and the current queen you expressed in the Orangemen!

  • John Edwards

    As it happens I’ve just finished reading Josephine Tey’s novel “A Daughter of Time” which makes a rather convincing case that Richard was not only the rightful King and quite a good one but that Henry Tudor as a usurper went on to murder everyone in front of him in the line of succession including the Princes in the Tower.

    The lesson from the construction of the faked Tudor version of history, Shakespeare included, is never believe everything you are told, then or now.

  • Kempe

    Henry wouldn’t have had the opportunity to murder the princes until after he became king in 1485 which was two years after they disappeared. Tey would need to establish where they were during those two intervening years and why Richard didn’t produce them to quash rumours that were circulating as early as 1483.

  • Eddie-G

    “makes a rather convincing case that Richard was not only the rightful King and quite a good one”
    He may have been the rightful monarch, and not for moment will I suggest that Tudor historians have been fair to him, but the idea Richard was a “good king” is a bit daft. Fewer than three years on the throne is nowhere near long enough to draw that sort of a conclusion.
    Unless the standard for “good king” is “better than Henry VIII”, in which case, okay.

  • Mary

    Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. They are now arguing over them. York Minster claims them and wants to give him a state burial!

  • John Goss

    My gut feeling is that this thread on the skeletal remains of Richard III will soon be dead an buried. So sorry to be off topic again but related to my NJP article on Shaker Aamer:

    is the most detailed catalogue of extraordinary rendition, torture and abuse yet produced. Complicit in this US abuse are the UK, Germany, Sweden and many other so-called civilised countries. Published today “Globalising Turture” is produced by Open Society Foundations and appears to be meticulously researched.

  • Chunter

    It seems pretty clear that he will be reburied at Leicester Cathedral.

    The reinterment licence, granted to the University of Leicester by the Ministry of Justice, confirms that the king’s remains will stay in Leicester, and in due course be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral.

    The terms of the reinterment licence state: “The remains shall, no later than August 31, 2014, be deposited at Jewry Wall Museum or else be reinterred at St Martin’s Cathedral, or in a burial ground in which interments may legally take place.

    (From the City Council’s website)

  • Komodo

    “…tyranny will fall only when the last king is strangled with the intestines of the last priest” (Diderot, seemingly)

    Still waiting.

    Vaguely apropos – while the vengeance of the law is poised to fall on the little liar Huhne, can we now look forward to the arrest of another lying politician? Whose lies led to the deaths of thousands, and the waste of billions of pounds?

    Not Tony Blair, obviously.

    (I lied. Tony Blair.)

  • Habbabkuk

    @ John Goss (13h04)

    “So sorry to be off topic again but related to my NJP article on Shaker Aamer:..”
    (followed by several lines of off-topic guff)

    Can’t you restrain yourself even for one thread? You’re like a bloody dog who has to cock his leg at every lamppost.

  • Mary

    Oh good. Mammon gets a look in too.
    Thursday 28 February

    The State We Are In: Mr Micawber and the Challenges of Debt
    A Guild of St Martin Lecture
    Maurice Thompson, Head of UK Operations at Citigroup and Patron of the Guild of St Martin, leads discussion on current banking issues and their effect on Leicestershire.
    Booking essential for non-members. For information or to book places, email Elizabeth Amias

  • MJ

    Anyone who considers details of extraordinary rendition and torture to be “guff” is almost certainly on the wrong blog.

  • Habbabkuk

    @ Mary (09h10 today):

    “Chris Huhne’s downfall is another example of the amazing risks a politican will take. People who choose a career of perpetual uncertainty are liable to behave crazily.Just look at Archer, Aitken, Crossman, Phillips, Bevan…”

    I would tend to agree with that, but some of the examples you give – those of Crossman, Phillips and Bevan – are not pertinent.

    Crossman, Phillips and Bevan sued The Spectator in 1957 for alleging that they had got roaring drunk while attending the congress of the Italian Socialist Party in Venice in the February of that year. They won and were awarded damages. Year later – in the 1970s – it emerged that they had indeed been roaring drunk and that at least one of them had therefore committed perjury at the trial.

    It is, however, an invalid example, because no political career was brought to an inglorious end after the truth came out….if for no other reason than that they were all dead by then.

    A better example might have been the case of that Welsh Secretary (was it Ron Davies?) who had to resign after a “moment of madness” on Hampstead Heath or wherever. Except now I think about it, hasn’t he been rehabilitated?

  • Habbabkuk

    “guff” – agreed, perhaps not the right word (I was trying to convey the idea that this is somewhat of an obsession for the poster and has been said before a thousand times).

  • Arbed

    @ John Goss

    Thanks for those links, John. That’s a really angry article you’ve written there. Well done! It’s bloody excellent.

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