Shakespeare’s history plays are for many people the defining versions of England’s medieval monarchs, but can Shakespeare really be trusted? Is Richard III the greatest villain in history or Henry V the embodiment of the perfect, virtuous king? To find out, we are taking a closer look at Shakespeare’s sources, why he was writing history plays in the first place and check three of his most famous plays to see if they are more historical fact or historical fiction.
Richard III kept a pretty low profile for the first 527 years after his defeat and death in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, but since his exhumation in 2012 his diary has been much more active. The next week will see him re-interred at Leicester Cathedral (after which his activity levels will quieten down considerably) so read on to find out what is happening where and when, and how you can follow the all of the events.
Despite being dead for over 500 years, King Richard III just keeps on delivering scandal, and now he’s even brought the Queen into the spotlight! A new report on Richard and what we can learn from his DNA initially began with headlines that it is “99.999%” certain that the body is that of Richard III, with the inevitable spoil-sport rejoinder that, on the other hand, they still might not be Richard. However, this was soon upstaged by the revelation that, somewhere in Richard’s family tree, there are confirmed instances of illegitimacy, bringing into question a good five-hundred years of royal succession and even whether the wrong person now sits upon the throne.