The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

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The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby shireling » Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:42 pm

Padfoot wrote:Edward: easy-going, but egoistic and reckless, not always thinking about the consequences of his doings. Edmund had much more sense IMO, pity that he was the second son and a shame he was murdered.

Murdered is the word. What Clifford did was so disgusting, even Margaret of Anjou (and not my favorite human being by a long shot), had something to say about it.

I'm about to begin Chapter 4 :) . Awwwwww, Baby Richard...
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby shireling » Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:49 pm

I really love Cecily, RIII's mom, in this, especially when it comes to the kids. That portrayal in TWQ just aggravates me.

Another thing that I didn't catch - even after all this time - was that if the Duke of York, RIII's dad, had been successful in his bid to take the throne from Harry VI, he would have been Richard III :/ . Go figure.

Back to Clifford's wanton killing of Edmund: that may have been the beginning of even more nastiness over the years. What gets me is that these folks were related - cousins, in fact - and while there are few people who can make you as crazy as family can (speaking from personal experience), the brutality practised among them is beyond my ken. Like Thomas said, taking prisoners was something everybody did. If your time came and you certainly didn't want to be mistreated, you were mindful of how you handled the people you captured.

When I think about how Richard was murdered (he was betrayed, and surrounded - he never got near Tudor, and that's why I feel this way), and how he was so humiliated after death, I can't help but wonder if that first break in the code was the death of Rutland.
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby Padfoot » Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:08 pm

Yes, I think that Clifford broke some code of honour by murdering Rutland.
It always strikes me when I hear how the dead were treated. Displaying heads on poles (I heard that Oliver Cromwell's head was displayed for more then 20 years :um: ), tearing bodies part etc.is not Christian. Not at all. Even though times were tough. Like you said, those people were related, they were family (the turncoat Warwick...) The hunger for power is so corrupting.... :/

Richard and Edward are currently in Burgundy...
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby shireling » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:18 pm

There's a comment in Chapter Six, that states...What there was of mercy of magnanimity in the Yorkist-Lancastrian rivalry had died with Edmund of Rutland on Wakefield Bridge...; so I'm not the first to think that - doesn't give me any comfort though.

I'm just about to start Seven :) .
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby shireling » Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:03 pm

Francis Lovell has just met Dickon :) ...

They're both ten, and Francis is married :/ . The conversation takes place in the stables of Middleham, and they sound so much older than two little boys.
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby Padfoot » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:43 am

Book 2 (Anne): Warwick is defeated, Lancaster dead and Richard and Anne are about to get together. ;)

Rutland's murder definitely broke a code of conduct.

You know, that's what always strikes me when I pick up the book. The age of the characters. You remember I said had difficulties reading "Game of Thrones" and eventually gave up on it because of the age of its main characters? But these were fictional characters, and in "Sunne" the characters are real persons, who lived, loved, suffered, hated, and died. Anne was forced to marry and is now a widow at age 14. Richard is barely 18, a father of two children and a battle experienced soldier. Rutland died at age 17 (Lancaster also, and before the battle his mother admitted that "it's only now that I realize how very young 17 is"). I wonder if they ever really had a childhood... The girls were raised to marry and were used as bargain to gain their families power through strategic marriage, the boys were raised to fight, and also to gain power through strategic marriage...

I still wonder what caused such an incredible amount of hatred between these two branches of the family... Certainly Warwick played a big part in it, for he was a cunning guy who loved being the puppet master, and a skilled manipulator as well, even if in the end, he risked too much and failed. But over years, he manipulated the families in a way that suited him most and guaranteed him a lot of power. But that can't be all. Such hatred builds up over generations.

BTW - every time Richard is mentioned, I see Aneurin in front of my inner eye. He fits his description in the book so well... :paperbag:

Off topic:
Bought "Mariah Mundi and the Midas box", will watch it this weekend. ;)
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby shireling » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:16 pm

Padfoot wrote:Book 2 (Anne): Warwick is defeated, Lancaster dead and Richard and Anne are about to get together. ;)

I am so slow :lol: . I'm just beginning 12, and I'm only half-way through Book 1! But in my defense, I had a book club book to get done by last evening.

Rutland's murder definitely broke a code of conduct.

Indeed.

You know, that's what always strikes me when I pick up the book. The age of the characters. You remember I said had difficulties reading "Game of Thrones" and eventually gave up on it because of the age of its main characters? But these were fictional characters, and in "Sunne" the characters are real persons, who lived, loved, suffered, hated, and died. Anne was forced to marry and is now a widow at age 14. Richard is barely 18, a father of two children and a battle experienced soldier. Rutland died at age 17 (Lancaster also, and before the battle his mother admitted that "it's only now that I realize how very young 17 is"). I wonder if they ever really had a childhood... The girls were raised to marry and were used as bargain to gain their families power through strategic marriage, the boys were raised to fight, and also to gain power through strategic marriage...

They were hardly ever babies, from the looks of things :/ . I've always wondered how kids were raised back then - when did they get solids? Toilet-training - though they didn't have them back then. Makes me wonder how the other classes fared - was it like this across the board with the marriages and such?

I still wonder what caused such an incredible amount of hatred between these two branches of the family... Certainly Warwick played a big part in it, for he was a cunning guy who loved being the puppet master, and a skilled manipulator as well, even if in the end, he risked too much and failed. But over years, he manipulated the families in a way that suited him most and guaranteed him a lot of power. But that can't be all. Such hatred builds up over generations.

That was the thing about Warwick that burned me to no end! In The White Queen it seemed that all he did was replace kings with other kings :/ . He was never content once he got Edward settled, because, I think, he expected that Ned would look to him for the rest of life and never have a thought of his own. Can you imagine if he were ever successful with George?

BTW - every time Richard is mentioned, I see Aneurin in front of my inner eye. He fits his description in the book so well... :paperbag:

Off topic:
Bought "Mariah Mundi and the Midas box", will watch it this weekend. ;)

I do, too. I just wuv him to bits as Richard :) . And I really liked "Mariah Mundi...". Bought it OnDemand, and once it was done, restarted it until the 24 hours ran out :lol: .
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby Padfoot » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:30 am

I really wonder if Shakespeare created his Richard III out of two persons - Richard's brother George, Duke of Clarence and Prince John (later King John Lackland, brother of Richard Lionheart). Those two seem the likliest to me.

George Clarence is an ass. And an idiot.
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby shireling » Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:41 pm

For me, it looks like
Padfoot wrote:I really wonder if Shakespeare created his Richard III out of two persons - Richard's brother George, Duke of Clarence and Prince John (later King John Lackland, brother of Richard Lionheart). Those two seem the likliest to me.

Thomas More's bio of Richard provided plenty of grist for that mill...the twenty-four month gestation and being born with teeth, besides that list of physical deformities. The deaths of Somerset, Warwick, Edward Lancaster, Anne Neville, the Princes and George were all laid at his feet (in the play, George is portrayed as a rather meek and sweet prince who is well-remembered after death, especially by big bro, Edward.) In addition, Edward's death seems to to have been hastened by the 'accidental' execution of Clarence.

George Clarence is an ass. And an idiot.

Yeah, I've come to that conclusion, too :lol: , though there are some tumblr Ricardians who are sympathetic to him (ie., he never got the consideration that Richard did; he was the over-looked surviving middle son; Richard got way more stuff, and he was the baby, etc.) I don't think it was favoritism; Richard earned everything he had, and he stayed faithful.

I just think that George lacked the capacity for justice and leadership - qualities that Edward clearly needed, and what he saw Richard had in spades.
If you want your king to take you seriously and treat you with the respect you think you should have, then maybe the last thing you should do is side with his enemies.

I'm finally into BOOK 2 :D !
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby Padfoot » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:17 am

I'm looking for a biography now. Do you have any recommendations?
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby shireling » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:41 pm

Richard the Third by Paul Murray Kendall. It was first published in 1955, but it has stood the test of time and is the arguably the most popular book ever written about the king (and the only one I own *blush* .)

Btw, the Channel 4 program Richard III: The New Evidence - that show in the making with Dominic Smee, the young guy with the same form of scoliosis as Richard? Well, it's out there - I can't see it! :cry: it won't let me! - but maybe you can. Here's the address:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/rich ... w-evidence
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby Padfoot » Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:47 am

I have finally finished „The Sunne in Splendour“ (yes, I read it to the bitter ending). What a book! Though it took me much longer to read it than I expected and hoped, but that was due to everything that happened in real live, not because I didn't like it. I admit, I was reluctant to read the last chapters, but then, I just had to. Of course, I was in tears...

It's an incredible story. And the damage that has been done to his person, - both, physically as well as to his memory, is even more incredible in its malignance. The Tudors and the (paid?) historicans – not to mention Mr Shakespeare - did a very thorough job. It doesn't even give me satisfaction that some of them were executed, nonetheless, by the Tudors...

Elizabeth Woodville seems to have been an extremely manipulative person, however, even she was caught by surprise when she found out about her husband's plight-troth to Nell Butler (and I believe it to be true, because it strikes me as exactly the thing Edward would have done to get his way). Edward... I still don't know whether to like him or not. He seems to have done a great deal of his thinking with a certain lower body part...

George... I don't know whether to pity him or not. A lot of his trouble was his own fault. But did he deserve to die? I don't know.

I don't for a moment believe Richard gave the order to kill his nephews – on the contrary, he had every motive in the world to keep the boys alive and healthy. Yes, Buckingham was a likely candidate, but we'll never find out the truth (I don't have a doubt though, that the skeletons that were found in the Tower are those of the boys).
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby shireling » Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:06 pm

Padfoot wrote:...(I don't have a doubt though, that the skeletons that were found in the Tower are those of the boys).

My hat's off to you, Paddy. I still can't do it (maybe after the reburial I'll find the courage :roll:.) I found this post in murrayandblue:

THE BONES IN THE URN

The main accusation against Richard III has always been the assumption that he murdered his nephews, and the discovery of the skeletons of two children under a Tower staircase in the 17th century has often been quoted as virtual proof of this dastardly act.

I should like to try and put a few of these assumptions into perspective. In 1674 at the Tower of London a group of workmen were employed to demolish the stone staircase attached to the White Tower, and over several days had dug a full ten feet down to the level of the Tower foundations, when they came upon two human skeletons. Seeing little of interest in this discovery, they threw the bones, along with the surrounding rubble, onto the rubbish dump.

When the workmen related these facts afterwards, others realised that this find could be of some importance. Since the skeletons appeared to be of two young people, being neither of fully grown adults nor of small children, someone began to wonder if these could be the remains of the so-called ‘princes in the Tower’ – i.e. the two sons of the late King Edward IV who had seemingly disappeared during the subsequent reign of King Richard III. The bones were therefore recovered from the dump. The reigning monarch at the time (Charles II) subsequently ordered the bones entombment in an urn, to be kept in Westminster Abbey. The assumption, given that forensic examination was unknown at that time, was to accept the bones as those of the allegedly murdered ‘princes’.

This was certainly not the first time that human bones had been discovered in and around the Tower. However, not only did these particular skeletons seemingly, judging by size alone, match the ages of the king’s lost boys, but they were discovered under a staircase, and this rang bells with the unfinished story written long before by Sir Thomas More and entitled “The History of King Richard III.” So those are the simple facts. But a considerable number of myths, misinterpretations and assumptions have gathered around these facts ever since, and the principal one concerns that same unfinished story left by Sir Thomas More.

Neither at the time, nor during the Tudor age following, did anyone else conjecture as to such precise details concerning the boys’ fates – though assumption continued and increased as the blackening of Richard III’s reputation became a political tool of the Tudors. The only reliable account of when they were last sighted (at least by anyone who cared to write of it) appears in the Crowland Chronicle which indicates they were still resident in the Tower in late August or early September 1483. Yet surprisingly the actual contemporary evidence appears to indicate that little interest was aroused in the vicinity at the time of this disappearance, and Londoners went about their business as usual. Many today speak as though contemporary rumour of the murder was rife, but this is absolutely untrue as far as surviving documentation tells us. Whether the sons of Edward IV then died, were murdered, or were simply smuggled safely away, was guessed at but never proved.

It was not until around 1515 (30 years after the death of Richard III) that Sir Thomas More started to write his ‘history’. Over the years he wrote several versions of this but neither finished nor published any of them. They have survived however, and many researchers have chosen to take them seriously in spite of the anomalies, excessive number of mistakes, and insistence on recording discussions word for word even when the possibility of knowing what had been said was completely non-existent.

Within his pages, More initially records that the fate of the boys remained in doubt. Then later and quite suddenly he offers a detailed scenario of their heinous slaughter. He gives no explanation of how he could possibly know the exact details which he relates, however the story appears to be partially inspired by Polydore Vergil, the man recently employed by Henry VII to write a history of England. More, however, elaborates hugely on Vergil’s account, adding no end of specific extra colour. How (more than 30 years after the fact) he suddenly came by this wealth of gossip is difficult to imagine. Did More chat afterwards with the murderers? Did he talk with the priest, yet decide to confide in no one else even though he then wrote it down for anyone to read? Did he receive information from some other nameless soul, who also chose to disclose these essential facts to no one else? More, however, now confidently tells us that after their violent deaths the two sons of Edward IV were secretly buried at the foot of a staircase in the Tower of London. He then goes on to explain that Richard III (who had ordered the murders) objected to such an improper burial and ordered a priest to dig up the corpses and rebury them in another more suitable (but unnamed) place, and that this was promptly done.

So the burial under a stairwell is certainly mentioned. Yet according to More, (the only one ever to mention burial under a staircase at all) that is NOT where the two bodies were finally left. He specifically says they were moved to a secret place more appropriate to their station. And here the secret supposedly remained – no longer under a staircase at all.

Yet the actual ‘bones in the urn’ were found under a stone stair attached to the exterior of the White Tower (known as the Keep). Apart from the contradiction within More’s absurd story, such a rigorous endeavour is difficult to accept as this area was the access point to the only entrance, and would certainly have been one of the busiest parts of the Tower. Anyone digging there would have been clearly visible. So we are asked to accept that a couple of amazingly determined murderers managed between them to dig 10 foot under solid stone, avoiding all passing gentry including the guards, and to deposit there two suspicious bundles – all while the princes’ staff raised no alarm nor even blinked in curiosity. And the subsequent solitary priest somehow dug them up again? And so, in accordance with More’s little book – why were they still found under the staircase?

At that time hundreds of busy people, many with their entire families, lived and worked in the Tower. This was no dreadful place of isolated dungeons and cold haunted corners. It was a royal palace with grand apartments and a number of council chambers, beautiful gardens complete with gardeners, clerks and administrators, a menagerie and its keepers, the Royal Mint and all its wealth of workers, a whole garrison of guards, kitchens, cooks, scullions and cleaners. How a pair of strange and suspicious ruffians could have dug such a deep secret grave in one night completely unnoticed by anyone is frankly an impossible situation. Even at night the Tower really was a hive of industry and activity, and the ‘princes’ themselves had servants day and night. They were not under arrest and nor were they locked in the dungeons – they lived together in a comfortable apartment and more than 14 personal staff were paid to look after them. Yet we are asked to believe that their murder was magically accomplished without anyone at all knowing how, who, or even exactly when.

But let us return to the urn. It rested undisturbed in the Abbey for many years, but in 1933 it was decided to open it and discover just what was inside. The complete description of the contents is on record of course, and the remains were immediately examined by experts of the time. Apart from the fragmented human remains, there were a number of animal bones – clearly all collected together from the rubbish pit nearly 300 years previously. There were, however, no textiles of any kind. So please – let’s forget that other silly myth of the scraps of expensive velvet. Yes – hundreds of years ago an anonymous scribble in a margin evidently mentioned velvet – but no such thing is mentioned elsewhere, no such thing has survived in any form, and the anonymous scribble has also disappeared – if it ever existed in the first place. So no velvet. Another red herring.

I have also read that a dark stain which ‘could’ be blood, was found on one skull. After 200 years underground we are asked to accept an anonymous stain as an indication of violent murder??? And when this same skull had been left for some time rolling around with fresh animal remains from the butchers? Indeed, those who mentioned the possibility of the stain being blood, later entirely retracted their statement, although this important development is often overlooked. Another ludicrous myth.

Now the more important evidence – the scientific examination. But this was 1933 and science has moved a long, long way since then. No DNA examination was possible back then. Carbon dating was not employed, impossible anyway with bones that had been so contaminated for so long. Their antiquity could not therefore be established, so simple assumptions were made – which have been seriously questioned since. The age of the children when they died is also extremely open to opinion. There is absolutely no possibility of sexing these bones. They could have been girls and this remains perfectly likely. At the time a conclusion was made that the two children had been related (this from an examination of the teeth and not from DNA) which has now been shown as probably erroneous. Historians and orthopaedic experts are divided. Some still maintain that these remains ‘could’ be the sons of Edward IV, while others point out the inconsistencies and inaccuracies.

And there are other anomalies. For instance, it has been shown that the lower jaw bone of the elder child indicates the presence of a serious bone disease. This would have been both painful and visible. Yet the young Edward V is documented as having been fit, active, prepared for coronation, and described as ‘good looking’. No record is shown of any such existing disease which would have seriously undermined his future life and reign.

There’s another red herring here. Doctor Argentine, the elder prince’s long-standing physician, related that, “the young king, like a victim prepared for sacrifice, sought remission of his sins by daily confession and penance, because he believed death was facing him.” But Dr. Argentine did not visit his charge because of ailing health. All junior royalty were under the permanent care of doctors who were responsible for their day to day health ever since birth. And the prince’s recorded statement, apart from being second-hand hearsay, is extremely ambiguous. I doubt he was cheerful at the time, poor boy – with his status in doubt, and his expected coronation suddenly delayed. He may well have expected (and been warned by his dour and pessimistic Lancastrian and Woodville guardians) a bitter end. This does not mean it actually occurred.

So these are the basic facts, and as anyone can see, they do not point specifically in any direction. They prove nothing, not even circumstantially, and any assumption that the bones in the urn are almost certainly those of the two lost boys of Edward IV is absolutely unjustified. Until permission is finally given (many have asked and always been denied) for the urn to be opened once more and the contents subjected to up-to-date forensic examination, we cannot know anything at all. So far the very sketchy facts (based on depth of burial and the type of soil, etc) point towards the bones dating from Norman, or even from Roman times, and at least some experts strongly suggest that the elder is female.

Those interested authors of articles claiming these bones are definitely those of the lost boys, are either fooling themselves or attempting to fool their readers. Should the bones eventually be examined and proved by DNA matching to be the ‘princes’ after all – we may with our present level of technology discover roughly when they died (to the nearest 50 years). We may perhaps also ascertain the causes of their deaths, but unless there are signs of injury it is unlikely we will learn whether they were killed – still less who killed them. If, on the other hand, as seems most likely, they are proved NOT to be the ‘princes’ it will settle a long-standing controversy, and provide some very interesting material for archaeological study. In particular it will silence some of the more exaggerated and erroneous myths. - superblue
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby Padfoot » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:44 pm

Interesting article. It took me a while - I copied it to read it thoroughly. :) I agree with it.

I still see no motive for Richard to kill his nephews. As far as I'm concerned, he is the one person who did not have a motive. His own son was dead, he had no heir to take the crown after him (as long as he didn't re-marry and have other children, and there was no guarantee that a second marriage would have given him a son and heir – Henry VIII being the best example for that). His nephews would have been his heirs, and I still think his intention was to raise them and make Edward his heir, so killing the boys did not make any sense – no way.

IMO, Thomas More has done a lot of injustice to Richard's reputation. Whether he was ordered by Henry VII or Henry VIII (which seems likely to me because they had a major interest in damaging his reputation) or not, I can't say, but the damage was done and it's – to an extent – still lasting until today. If he was acting on orders, it didn't help him much in the end, did it? It did not save him from being executed... but I see him in a completely different light now.

Can't they finally go and give permission to examine the bones in the urn? With today's forensic knowledge, they might be able to find out if there is a relation to the skeleton of Richard III (by carbon dating and comparing the mitochondrial DNA). I wish – especially now that Richard's bones have been found and his identity has been proved, they'd get the permission to examine the bones in the urn, even though I know it probably won't silence the conspiracy theories! But it would be one step closer to getting some more (true) information.
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Re: The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III

Postby shireling » Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:07 am

Well, I'm back to reading this - now that the reburial is over and so well done, I really want to.
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