"Little guy. Crooked back, limp? Dead?" - Erik on Richard
Richard is usually described as being short (around 5'7.5") and somewhat frail. His body gives off the general appearance of being put together from parts that don't quite match- his shoulders are uneven and slightly round and stooped, he has a definite case of swayback (as opposed to the hunchback everyone assumes he has), his legs are of uneven length, his left arm is severely atrophied from an old battle injury, his right knee turns inward and his right foot is turned slightly on its side. He walks with a slight lurch in his step, though not the grotesque foot-dragging limp people joke about. His hair is black and usually in a rather messy state, and his eyes are small and gray with a hint of blue.
His avatar is usually a picture of the actor Stuart Townsend, which tends to confuse people, as Richard is not usually regarded as a massive hottie, until Megan shows them an actual picture of Richard next to a picture of Townsend. Then it seems to make sense. (It also makes watching Queen of the Damned without laughing nearly impossible.)
Richard is, by and large, a very nice person. However, he seems to lack most of the skills required to let someone know one is not a total prat, and as such, he tends to come off to most people as a socially impaired oddball with a wide streak of prudishness and a way of being extremely dull pretty much constantly. He has a tendency to involve himself in activities and other peoples' lives to the point of neglecting his own affairs, often alienates people due to his slightly sanctimonious view of the world, and takes about three glasses of watered-down wine to get totally sloshed and therefore likely to do really stupid things. Richard also refers to vampires as "a class I would rather not associate with" and has a definite predisposition for addiction. He occasionally gives off a vague impression of being bisexual, although he would probably never admit it and is usually drunk when this happens. Richard also has a pronounced stutter on top of his Northern British accent.
He suffers from a severe inferiority complex, due largely to having lived his whole life as a small, dark-haired cripple in a family of robust and generally gorgeous blonds. He has a deep-seated resentment of his elder brother Edward, who is almost literally everything Richard is not.
His hobbies include bookbinding, pushing small ships around on maps, explosives, and complaining about his existence. He also has a modest amount of talent in the field of musical composition, though his hand prevents him from ever actually playing what he writes.
Richard was born at Fotheringhay Castle, the eighth and youngest, and fourth surviving, son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (who had been a strong claimant to the throne of King Henry VI) and Cecily Neville. Richard spent much of his childhood at Middleham Castle in Wensleydale, under the tutelage of his cousin Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (known to history as "The Kingmaker" because of his strong influence on the course of the Wars of the Roses).
At the time of the death of his father and older brother Edmund at the Battle of Wakefield, Richard - who was still a boy - was taken into the care of Warwick. While Richard was at Warwick's estate, he developed a close friendship with Francis Lovell, a friendship that would remain strong for the rest of his life. Another child in the household was Warwick's daughter Anne Neville, whom Richard would later marry.During the reign of his brother, King Edward IV, Richard demonstrated his loyalty and skill as a military commander. He was rewarded with large estates in northern England, awarded the title Duke of Gloucester and appointed as Governor of the North, becoming the richest and most powerful noble in England and a loyal aide to Edward IV. In contrast, the other surviving brother, George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, was executed by Edward for treason.
Richard controlled the north of England until Edward IV's death. In 1482 Richard recaptured Berwick-upon-Tweed from the Scots, and his administration was regarded as being fair and just, endowing universities and making grants to the church. He was also generally thought of as having a personal life that could put you to sleep, except for his rather odd love of gunpowder and things exploding.
On the death of Edward IV, on 9 April 1483, the late King's sons (Richard's young nephews), King Edward V, aged 12, and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York, aged 9, were next in the order of succession. Richard, however, had the king's guardian, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers (brother of Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV's Queen Consort) and other advisors arrested and taken to Pontefract Castle, where they were later executed, allegedly for planning to assassinate Edward V. He then took Edward and his younger brother to the Tower of London.
On 22 June 1483, outside St Paul's Cathedral, a statement was read out on behalf of Richard declaring for the first time that he was taking the throne for himself on the grounds that Edward IV's marriage had been illegitimate and that, in consequence, the true heir to the throne was Richard and not Edward V. This proclamation was then supported by a bill passed by Parliament on the evidence of a bishop who testified to having married Edward to Lady Eleanor Butler, who was still living when Edward married Elizabeth Woodville.On 6 July 1483, Richard was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
Although Richard III is popularly supposed to have killed Edward V and his brother, there is some controversy among historians about the actual circumstances of the boys' deaths. His Suethor uses the idea that they were, in fact, killed during his reign and by one of his followers, but due to a misunderstood and accidental comment on his part that was interpreted accidentally as a literal order. He has never forgiven himself for it.
On 22 August 1485, Richard met the Lancastrian forces of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth Field. During the battle Richard was abandoned by Lord Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, Sir William Stanley, and Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. The switching of sides by the Stanleys severely depleted the strength of Richard's army and had a material effect on the outcome of the battle. Accounts note that Richard fought bravely and ably during the battle, unhorsing a well-known champion, killing Henry's standard bearer and nearly reaching Henry himself before being finally surrounded and killed.
Richard's naked body was then paraded through the streets before being buried at Greyfriars Church, Leicester. According to one tradition, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries his body was thrown into the nearby River Soar, although other evidence suggests that this may not be the case and that his burial site may currently be under a car park in Leicester. There is currently a memorial plaque on the site of the Cathedral where he may have once been buried.
According to another tradition, Richard consulted a seer in the town of Leicester before the battle and the seer foretold that "where your spur should strike on the ride into battle, your head shall be broken on the return." On the ride into battle his spur struck the bridge stone of the Bow Bridge; legend has it that, as his dead body was being carried from the battle over the back of a horse, his head struck the same stone and was broken open.
Henry Tudor succeeded Richard to become Henry VII, and cemented the succession by marrying the Yorkist heiress, Elizabeth of York (Richard's niece, who was apparently quite pretty and likable but had the odd desire of wanting to get into Richard's pants. Well, not his pants. Guys didn't wear pants back then. Still, the girl was hot for her uncle, okay?).
Following the decisive Yorkist victory over the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury, Richard had married the younger daughter of the Earl of Warwick, Anne Neville on 12 July 1472. Anne's first husband had been Edward of Westminster (d 1471), son of Henry VI.
Richard and Anne had one son, Edward Plantagenet (also known as Edward of Middleham or Ned, 1473 – 9 April 1484), who died not long after being created Prince of Wales. Richard also had two illegitimate children by the time he was sixteen (before his marriage), including John of Gloucester and a daughter named Katharine. It has been thought that their mother may have been one Katherine Haute. Both of these children survived Richard. Neither apparently left any descendant.
At the time of his last stand against the Lancastrians, Richard was a widower without a legitimate son. After his son's death, he had initially named his nephew, Edward, Earl of Warwick, Clarence's young son and the nephew of Queen Anne Neville, as his heir. After Anne's death, however, Richard named as his heir another nephew, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, the son of his older sister Elizabeth. (You can probably tell that originality in naming children was not a Plantagenet family trait.)
Let's Answer All Those Questions Now And Get Them Over With Edit
Much that was previously considered 'fact' about Richard has been rejected by modern historians.
The Richard III Society was established in the 20th century and has gathered considerable research material about his life and reign. Its aim is summed up by its Patron, the present Richard, Duke of Gloucester (as you can see, naming in the British royal family is still not too original):
"… the purpose and indeed the strength of the Richard III Society derive from the belief that the truth is more powerful than lies - a faith that even after all these centuries the truth is important. It is proof of our sense of civilised values that something as esoteric and as fragile as reputation is worth campaigning for."
They are also, naturally, huge nerds.
The American Branch of the Richard III Society carries out its own review of all the suspects in the case of Richard III, in the on-line library "Whodunit?".
The Society of Friends of King Richard III was also set up in the 20th century in order to rehabilitate Richard and to honour his memory. The society is based in the city of York, where following his death in 1485 it was proclaimed, that "King Richard, late reigning mercifully over us, was.... piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city".
Richard was found not guilty in a mock trial presided over by three Justices of the United States Supreme Court in 1997, which is good. What's not good is that the Supreme Court found it necessary to take the time to do it instead of handling the case of, you know, somebody ALIVE. Nevertheless, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen G. Breyer, in a 3-0 decision, ruled that the prosecution had not met the burden of proof that "it was more likely than not" that the Princes in the Tower had been murdered; that the bones found in 1674 in the Tower were those of the Princes; and that Richard III had ordered or was complicitous in their deaths.
Richard III appears in the 2002 List of "100 Great Britons" (sponsored by the BBC and voted for by the public), alongside such others as David Beckham and Johnny Rotten (both company that would probably horrify him). The BBC History Magazine lists him under "doubtful entrants, based on special interest lobbying or 'cult' status", and comments: "On the list owing to the Ricardian lobby, but a minor monarch".
In spite of having died so young, he is often depicted as being considerably older. Basil Rathbone and Peter Cook were both 46 when they played him, Laurence Olivier was 48, Vincent Price was 51, and Ian McKellen was 56. Sueniverse!Richard, being dead, is permanently 32 years old.
After Death Edit
Richard has not said much about what he has done after dying, but a few facts of his existence pre-Sueniverse have been established. It would seem he briefly gave up his political career to become a bookbinder in the afterlife (it was a special hobby of his in life) but eventually became a senator in the Underworld city-state of Asphodel and, with time, its Viceroy. Somewhere along the way, his daughter Katherine was condemned to Hell by the high court of Asphodel for the crime of adulterously loving a mortal man, a decision that was backed up by both Heaven and Hell. As a result, Richard has little liking or respect for either side of the Cosmic Argument, especially after seeing the aged, drooling, insane wreck Katherine was reduced to after a century of imprisonment.
At some point, Richard emerged from the Underworld on a diplomatic mission, carrying with him a large supply of an elixir designed to allow the dead to appear living. He soon encountered the recently murdered Faye Lavoie, and the two became friends. Faye in fact fell slightly in love with him, until she realized he was married.
After that, Faye fell in love with the mute dancer Aimery and sought Richard out for some of the elixir. Richard provided it, but her lack of standing in the Underworld set the High Court after her for the same reason it had condemned his daughter. He gave Faye some of his blood to protect her, and soon after met Will Shakespeare. The two had a bitter argument, mostly based on Richard feeling libelled by Shakespeare's play about him, but was resolved by Shakespeare getting Richard drunk and taking him to a brothel, where he spent the night with a prostitute named Mary.
Richard came to in the morning plagued with an almost toxic case of guilt. He fled to Notre Dame and sought spiritual solace from Father Joseph, who seemed slightly appalled at Richard's willingness to punish himself. Richard saw the priest's noncommittence as yet more proof of God's unwillingness to care, and he returned to the inn Faye operated, only to find her furious that his position in the Underworld allowed him to break the rules and sleep with a common prostitute while Faye was in danger for daring to love a mortal man. Richard's guilt came to a head, and he went upstairs to mark himself as a penitent adulterer.
Giving It All Up Edit
Richard and Faye largely went their separate ways after that. His wife Anne soon arrived in Paris, disguised as a man, and was rather horrified at what he had done to himself. Relations between Richard and Anne became tense for a while, almost destroying their marriage, and Anne had a night of lesbian slash with Sisi to spite him. However, Sisi mentioned that an old lover of hers- Der Tod- would be able to restore Richard, Anne and their son to life... for a price. By now, Richard was willing to give up his power and position to return his marriage to normal, and he agreed to Der Tod's terms: the German Death was to sleep with both of them.
The deal was a success, albeit a slightly traumatic one for Richard, and he and his family were now, for all intents and purposes, alive again. This lead to Anne becoming pregnant again (with triplets!), much to their surprise.
Reversal of Fortune EditBy the time Anne's pregnancy was nearly finished, the family was now living a quiet middle-class existence in Paris. What none of them realized was that attempted presidential assassin Richard Lawrence, under the deranged impression that he was Richard and still king, had cut a deal with Der Tod to restore "everything he had lost"- meaning the real Richard's life and family. From that moment on, Richard Plantagenet was rendered a stranger to his own family, and after trying to convince his wife of his identity and failing, he quickly dropped into a drug-riddled depression. During this period, he became friends with James Norrington, in a similar bind thanks to the disappearance of his fiancee Megan Kroger, and was taken in by Sweeney Todd. Sweeney put him to work as an apprentice and food supply, and their relationship has developed into vague slash.
Current Activities Edit
Richard is currently one step away from the gutter and Sweeney Todd's virtual lover/slave. What is planned for him in the future is still being worked out between Megan and Hallie, especially now that he has lost his companion in misery James Norrington to sobriety and happiness, but ideas for a Count of Monte Cristo-style plot are being bandied about.