Carol Ann Duffy, cunning aunts, Josephine Tey, Leicester, Richard III, Robert Louis Stevenson, Vincent Price
My interest in Richard III – or specifically whether he was a bad or a good king – dates from an aunt cunningly suggesting to me as a young teenager that I read The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, in which the murder of the Princes in the Tower is investigated in detective story fashion. And as a boy I could also enjoy his appearance as Richard of Gloucester in that great adventure story The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson.
I was fortunate to see Ian Holm play RIII (complete with hunchback, deformed foot and all) in the great Royal Shakespeare Company series in the early 1960s. (It was when my father was driving us back home from Stratford that we heard on the radio the news of President Kennedy’s assassination.) In another league, let us not forget Vincent Price’s portrayal of RIII in the 1961 film ‘Tower of London’. As you would expect, VP does not play him as the good guy.
I used to believe in Richard’s innocence of the murder of the Princes, but am now agnostic on the subject. Even so, I much enjoyed last week’s interment in Leicester Cathedral, so well done. Great sermon from the Bishop of Leicester. And a great poem from Carol Ann Duffy, ‘Richard’. You can read it at http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/26/richard-iii-by-carol-ann-duffy. “ … I once dreamed of this, your future breath in prayer for me …” A wish now granted. RIIIP.