The Loss of the Throne by Richard III

The Loss of the Throne by Richard III

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The Loss of the Throne by Richard III

There are many views as to whether Richard III lost his throne, or if
it was a mainly Tudor advance which secured it. Overall I think that
Henry Tudor did not actively gain the throne decisively, in fact
Richard III lost it from making key mistakes throughout his reign, and
at Bosworth.

Richard weakened his grasp on the throne by indulging in a vast
plantations policy which gave too much power to Northerners and
inevitably made him dependant on these few. The fact that Northerners
were given such a huge dependence enraged the South, and rid Richard
of many possible backers during a war. Richard had also been so
determined to suppress any rebellions and secure Henry Tudors downfall
that he spent vast National funds on these ventures. He eventually was
weakening the nations funding in huge amounts.

Richard had made large mistakes in his previous years, including when
he offered the Duke of Brittany a whole legion of British Archers in
return for Henry as a prisoner. This event backfired when Henry fled
to France after hearing of the plot, he then revealed this offer to
the King of France, which enraged him, as the British were cooperating
with the Bretons. The King of France gave Henry huge support,
including financial backing, and military backing so that he could
overthrow Richard III. It is certain that lacking this support Henry
Tudors attempted revolt would have been suppressed.

Richard did not manage to recover from the usurpation of Edward and
after allegedly murdering the two Princes in the tower his reputation
had fallen greatly. He had lost a lot of respect from nobles and from
the populus. Killing the Princes could be seen as one of the major
factors of his downfall. It was common place in monarchical families
to have brothers and sisters "put out of the picture", but even in
these primitive times, the murder of innocent children was a taboo.
Richard knew that his popularity had been diminished and was

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desperately clinging to any attempt to strengthen his claim to the
throne. Richard made several different reasons for why he was the
rightful king, rather than concentrating on his strongest point. This
meant that his numerous reasons were tarnished by the sheer number,
and sometimes, circumstantial evidence.

Henry Tudor did not have much to do to secure the throne other than
succeed at Bosworth. This did not prove such a task as previously
thought due to the fact that he had much assistance and Richard proved
a lesser opponent.

Henry Tudor arrived in Wales with 2, 000 of his supporters. He also
brought with him over 2, 000 mercenaries recruited from French
prisons. While in Wales, Henry also persuaded many skilful longbow men
to join him in his fight against Richard. By the time Henry Tudor
reached England the size of his army had grown to 5,000 men.

When Richard heard about the arrival of Henry he marched his army to
meet his rival for the throne. On the way, Richard tried to recruit as
many men as possible to fight in his army, but by the time he reached
Leicester he only had an army of 6,000 men. The earl of Northumberland
also brought 3,000 men but his loyalty to Richard was in doubt.

Richard sent an order to Lord Thomas Stanley and Sir William Stanley,
two of the most powerful men in England, to bring their 6,000 soldiers
to fight for the king. Richard had been informed that Lord Stanley had
already promised to help Henry Tudor. In order to persuade him to
change his mind, Richard arranged for Lord Stanley's eldest son to be

On 21 August 1485, King Richard's army positioned themselves on Ambien
Hill, close to the small village of Bosworth in Leicestershire. Henry
arrived the next day and took up a position facing Richard. When the
Stanley brothers arrived they did not join either of the two armies.
Instead, Lord Stanley went to the north of the battlefield. King
Richards armies took up a 3 Battle placement, one often used by armies
in the period. This layout is displayed below. As shown Richard
undoubtedly had a strategic advantage being placed on higher ground
above Henry Tudor's Forces. Richard had a larger army with vast
support from Northumberland (shown at the back of the forces) and from
Norfolk (as the vanguard). Richard instead of striking a good
defensive position, attacked down the hill, sacrificing his position.
Richard did not think and consider his options before he made the
offensive, he acted rashly and launched the offensive in a heat of

Northumberland is seen at the back of the battle, which was poor
planning seeing as Richard should have doubted his loyalty. If he
wanted to make sure Northumberland was involved in the battle and
actually fought for him, he should have placed him at the front of the
forces, to ensure he was in the conflict. Northumberland had been
plotting against Richard since he had over looked him for the post of
Leader of the North. Instead John De La Pole was appointed and this
made Northumberland very jealous. Northumberland recognised his
fortunate chance to deceive Richard and did not join in the fighting,
leaving Richard open at the back, and with much less men than
previously assumed. This was the deciding event that lost Richard his
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