Letter from the Director – Richard III and the Value of Knowledge

One of those things you notice being an ex-pat in a foreign country is all those odd customs that another land has.  For instance, this week in England we’re having another royal occasion, to be specific, a royal funeral. 

Who died you ask?  Why Richard the Third.  Yes, that Richard the Third.  The hunchback, drooling, prince murdering, monstrous, regicidal tyrant; or at least that’s how the Tudor-loving William Shakespeare would have us know him.    Doubtless, the bard took a few liberties in his writing to appease his patron of the day. 

However, new evidence shows that claims that the last of the York kings was a “poisonous bunch’backed toad” were nothing more than dramatic licence.   Ever since archaeologists made the surprising discovery of the body of the dead King, found buried under a car park in Leicester, England in 2012, we’ve had the fascinating opportunity to take a glimpse into the past and see into the truth of several of the claims made about the monarch.   

The real king was revealed to have a slight spinal deformity and one that would not have been explicitly obvious to onlookers and certainly not to the extent displayed by generations of thespians portraying Richard on stage. Having poked and bodied the royal remains, he is now due to be interred in a state funeral held on Thursday

It’s always fascinating how new facts, ideas and evidence can give us new insights into the world as we know it. This is the power of a bit of knowledge.   Three hundred years ago, Richard III was a misshaped hunchback.  Today, the King is revealed to be nothing of the sort. The more we learn, the further we can push back the boundaries of what we don’t know and the better we can see the world for what it really is.  So, how will you expand your horizons this month?

Until Next Time

Daryl Tempest Mogg

Director of Studies






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