Richard III, King of England from 1483 to 1485, made good laws that still protect ordinary people today. Yet history concentrates on the fictional hunchback as depicted by Shakespeare: the wicked uncle who stole the throne and killed his nephews in the Tower of London.
Voices have protested during the intervening years, some of them eminent and scholarly, urging a more reasoned view to replace the traditional black portrait. But historians, whether as authors or presenters of popular TV history, still trot out the old pronouncements about ruthless ambition, usurpation and murder.
After centuries of misinformation, the truth about Richard III has been overdue a fair hearing. Annette Carson seeks to redress the balance by examining the events of his reign as they actually happened, based on reports in the original sources. She traces the actions and activities of the principal characters, investigating facts and timelines revealed in documentary evidence. She also dares to investigate areas where historians fear to tread, and raises some controversial questions.
In 2012 Carson was a member of Philippa Langley’s Looking For Richard Project, which provided important new answers from the DNA-confirmed discovery of the king’s remains. Her involvement in Langley’s Missing Princes Project, with its international research initiative on the ‘princes in the Tower’, has now informed her revelatory extra chapter.