King Richard III remains one of the most controversial
figures in British history. Matthew Lewis's new biography aims to become a definitive account by exploring what is known of his childhood and the impacts it had on his personality and view of the
world. He would be cast into insecurity and exile only to become a royal prince before his tenth birthday.
As Richard spends his teenage years under the watchful gaze of his older brother, Edward IV, he is eventually placed in the household of their cousin, the Earl of Warwick, remembered as the Kingmaker; but as the relationship between a king and his most influential magnate breaks down, Richard is compelled to make a choice when the House of York fractures. After another period in exile, Richard returns to become the most powerful nobleman in England. The work he involves himself in during the years that follow demonstrates a drive and commitment but also a dangerous naïveté.
When crisis hits in 1483, it is to Richard that his older brother turns on his death bed. The events of 1483 remain contentious and hotly debated, but by understanding the Richard who began that year, it will become clearer what drove some of his actions and decisions. Returning to primary sources and considering the evidence available, this new life undoes the myths and presents a real man living in tumultuous times.
Henry III became King of England within days of his ninth birthday. His father, King John, had overseen a disastrous period in English history and the boy king inherited a country embroiled in a bitter, entrenched war with itself. With barons inviting a French prince to take the crown, the young Henry was forced to rely on others to maintain his position.
As he grew into adulthood, Henry had to manage the transition to a personal rule, wrenching power from men who had held it almost unchecked for years. With a settled position at home, attention could turn to the recovery of lost territory abroad and the salvaging of Henry’s family reputation. All would not go according to plan.
Failures abroad led to trouble back in England as restless barons became disillusioned. They found a figurehead in Simon de Montfort, a man who would transform himself from Henry’s favourite to a de facto king. Imprisoned and stripped of his power, Henry would again have to fight for his kingdom, now relying not on older mentors but on his immensely capable son.
Henry was handed a monarchy in peril, a crown that was cracked and tarnished. He was given fifty-six years to mend the damage his father had done. It would spell over half a century of highs and lows in a country crying out for stability; the final measure of Henry’s achievement displayed in the crown that he left to his son, Edward I.
Richard, 3rd Duke of York is frequently used to recall the colours of the rainbow with the mnemonic ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’, wrongly believed to be the Grand Old Duke of York who had
10,000 men, or mistaken for his youngest son, Richard III.
The son of a traitor, he inherited a dukedom aged four, became the wealthiest man in England at thirteen and later rebelled against his king, and if he is remembered, it is as a man who ignited the Wars of the Roses. Further eclipsed by two of his sons, who would become the mighty warrior Edward IV and the recently rediscovered Richard III, he is an ancestor of the Tudor monarchs and fifteenth great-grandfather to Queen Elizabeth II, yet the man himself is obscured from view.
Matthew Lewis pushes aside the veils of myth and legend to challenge the image of Richard as a man whose insatiable ambition dragged a nation into civil war, revealing a complex family man with unparalleled power and responsibilities. The first person ever recorded to use the Plantagenet name, he pushed the political establishment to its limits, dared to fight back and was forced to do the unimaginable.
The murder of the Princes in the Tower is the most famous cold case in British history. Traditionally considered victims of their ruthless uncle, there are other suspects too often and too easily discounted. There may be no definitive answer, but by delving into the context of their disappearance and the characters of the suspects Matthew Lewis examines the motives and opportunities, afresh as well as asking a crucial but often overlooked question: what if there was no murder?
What if Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, survived their uncle's reign and even that of their brother-in-law Henry VII? There are glimpses of their possible survival and compelling evidence to give weight to those glimpses, which is considered alongside the possibility of their deaths to provide a rounded and complete assessment of the most fascinating mystery in history.
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In the second half of the fifteenth century, for over thirty years, civil war tore England apart. However, its roots were deeper and its thorns were felt for longer than this time frame
The Wars of the Roses were not a coherent period of continual warfare. There were distinct episodes of conflict, interspersed with long periods of peace. But the struggles never really ceased. Motives changed, fortunes waxed and waned, the nature of kingship was weighed and measured and the mettle of some of England’s greatest families was put to the test.
Matthew Lewis examines the people behind these events, exploring the personalities of the main players, their motives, successes and failures. He uncovers some of the lesser-known tales and personal stories often lost in the broad sweep of the Wars of the Roses, in a period of famously complex loyalties and shifting fortunes.
The medieval period is often thought of as the Dark Ages, a period of cultural stagnation and little economic and political advancement. However, Britain in this period survived invasion upon
invasion, absorbing aspects of Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman culture. Britain developed from a small and fractured island into a more unified and powerful nation that could hold its own in European
Medieval Britain in 100 Facts covers this extensive period of change, guiding us through the key events, such as the many invasions and internal conflicts, and the key personalities. Matthew Lewis challenges our misconceptions about this period of British history, condensing this huge story into easy-to-read, bitesize chunks. He examines some of the most important aspects of the Middle Ages, from its formation after the Roman exodus, to the Norman invasion, to its eventual decline during the Wars of the Roses.
A Glimpse of King Richard III offers a brief telling of the life of one of England's most renowned monarchs. This book is deliberately short and necessarily misses out large amounts of detail but offers an overview of this fascinating topic. King Richard III of England was the last of the Plantagenet Kings and the last King of England to die on the battlefield. His story has been passed into the common consciousness as one of an evil uncle ruthlessly seizing power from and killing his own nephews. Yet he is also the only monarch to have a current and active fan club seeking to rehabilitate his reputation. The discovery of the bones of King Richard III in Leicester have re-ignited interest on a global scale and presents a fresh opportunity to examine the reputation King Richard languishes in and to try to determine whether or not he deserves it. This book aims to provide a brief overview of the events of Richard's life, his reputation, the upheavals of 1483, his brief reign and his death. It also examines his reputation from inception to accepted truth and offers a glimpse of the man behind the caricature.
The Wars of the Roses dominated the second half of the fifteenth century in England, but the roots of the conflict lay farther back in time. Families would be torn apart as kings were deposed and local squabbles settled on a national scale.
This book offers a brief overview of the key personalities and events that drove and shaped England during this civil war. Beginning with Edward III the wars are traced as Red Rose and White Rose fought for dominance in the garden of England. Lines were drawn and sides chosen.
This was no flower garden.
This was war.