WHY WAS
RICHARD III OVERTHROWN?
Richard III reigned for two years, two
months and one day. His reign was over run my rumour and even to
this day people see Richard as a tyrant. One of the rumours that
plagued Richard throughout his reign, was that he had murdered his two
young nephews. (one of which was Edward V, who succeeded to the throne
immediately after the death of Edward IV). Even in the days of Richards
reign, murdering children was seen as an appalling thing to do and whether
Richard did kill his nephews or not, it did not matter the general public
did not trust Richard. Richards position was made worse, because
the previous king (Edward IV) had left conflicting instructions as to who
should rule the country after he had died. Richard was killed
in combat, at the Battle of Bosworth. It could be argued that Richard
was responsible for his own demise and indeed his own death.


The obvious key factor in Richard being
overthrown is the fact that he was killed in battle, some historians say
that it was Richards own bold and soldier-like personality that got him
killed. Richard lost the Battle of Bosworth because of a number of
different factors. One very important element was that Richard managed
to alienate a great majority of nobles from the south of England.

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Whilst Edward IV had been king Richard had been left to run the north of
England, in this time he was able to establish a power base for himself,
and acquired the himself the title Lord of the North. This process
began in 1471 where Richard obtained Neville Lordships in Yorkshire and
Cumberland, and when he married Anne Neville, which gave him the loyalty
of Warwicks men. The relationship between the northern gentry and
Richard was strengthened further when Edward IV entrusted Richard and his
northern counterparts to the war against Scotland. When Richard became
king he invited northern nobles and gentry to the south of England to rule
over the southern counties. This quite clearly upset and angered
a lot of the nobles from the south. However Richard did not reward
all the northern nobility accordingly the Earl of Northumberland expected
a lot of power in the north, after he had helped so much in Richards accession
to the throne. However, Northumberland was left of the council of
North., this in turn led Northumberland withdrawing his aid for Richard
at the Battle of Bosworth. Richard also killed a number of noble men from
the north and south without trial. With so many nobles feeling angry
towards Richard, it would be incredibly difficult to gain support and men
for his army at the Battle of Bosworth. Richards actions would also
tempt many nobles to side with Henry Tudor, which would result in Richards
dissolution.


Richards had many problems to resolve
with France. Problems dating back to 1340 (to recover or extend territories
in France). When Richard came to the throne he launched attacks on
Breton shipping for piracy, although it would seem Richard was allowing
these attacks, because the Bretons were keeping Edward Woodville as a refugee.


Another more important refugee was in France though, Henry Tudor.


Tudor was taking shelter in Brittany. The King of France used Tudor
to try and blackmail Richard into sending him archers, Richard did not
comply with his requests. The conflict between Richard and the King
of France was very unfavourable to Richard, as France would not release
Tudor. Richard needed to get hold of Tudor, to crush his attempt
to overthrow him, (Tudor had put in an official claim for the throne on
December 25th 1483 in Brittany) it could be argued that if Richard
had been able to get hold of Tudor and imprisoned or even killed Tudor,
he may not have been overthrown. However Richard did not concentrate
on this issue enough. Richards encounter with France was heading
towards a war, which inevitably meant that Scotland would begin to start
trying to attack England.


It would seem that Richard III was a very
unpopular man with the general public, English nobility and foreign nobility.


He lacked trust between himself and the people he needed to be able trust
the most. It would seem that Richard relied heavily upon the loyalty
of other nobles instead of using his own men, nobility that quite possibly
did not trust him, and therefore were likely to change sides, to a leader
who could offer them more favourable opportunities. However with
any subject concerning Richard III it is difficult to assess the situation
as his entire reign is shrouded in mystery, rumours. Even so evidence
that is available does tend to show that Richard did not do enough to gain
support from other nobles, until it was too late (as when he tried to reconcile
his problems with southern nobility before the Battle of Bosworth) and
he did not realise the severe threat henry Tudor was to the crown.

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