Richard III – A Reprise

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

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I last wrote about Richard III in February 2013 when the findings from his unearthing in the Leicester car park were televised.  So I think an update now would not be too self-indulgent.

I wrote at the time:

“The television programme was fascinating, especially the role of his advocate, Philippa Langley, of the Richard III Society.  She became intensely involved after reading a biography of Richard III 15 years ago, and while standing in a car park in Leicester identified the spot where he had been buried.  Thus began a chain of events leading up to first his unearthing, and then the confirmation of his identification. I was very moved by her faith in him, and her own faith in her intuition.  She must have a very special karmic link with him.”

Last weekend, hubby and I travelled up to York, to watch a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III at their new pop-up theatre (open until 2nd September).  In June, we both saw a breakfast TV report about the theatre, and both had a very strong urge to go to it.  On the train bound for Peterborough (the second leg of a three part journey) we met a chatty fellow traveller.  It emerged that he was a Richard III enthusiast, and declared that he had been to Bosworth Field in Leicestershire, the scene of Richard’s demise, and found it to be “most eerie”.

I had printed out my original blog for reference, which commented on the event:

“The chart of his death at Bosworth Field takes on a huge significance as being the turning point of the continuation of the royal line (not his).  It is a real what-might-have-been moment.  Fittingly, Pluto at his death was exactly sextile the U.K. Sun, indicating a complete change of course for the royal line (Sun).”

It all added to the anticipation of our visit and the main theatrical event.  Two days before we set off, we watched the Laurence Olivier film of Richard III, and were both captivated.  Despite some friends of ours feeling that he was a “ham actor”, we were both amazed at the portrayal and even subtleties of his expression.  We were both looking forward to going.  I was reminded of how vast a soul Shakespeare was to write all those plays, and the imagination of the histories especially.  I wondered whether he tuned into the akashic records.  But it is generally accepted that he distorted Richard III’s character and Machiavellian deeds to please the Tudors.

Why does the story still interest us, I wonder?  The Leicester car park story has added great intrigue, but I remember back to one History Department Christmas party at Nottingham University, back in 1969.  My Medieval English History lecturer invited us all for a hot toddy, dimmed the lights, and in front of a coal fire whispered “Who killed the Princes in the tower?”  My memory blanks out after that, because I just wasn’t interested.  Oh how I now wish I had listened more carefully…

There were to be more hors d’oeuvres to the main course, as my friend Janet popped back to York from the middle of her holiday to take us round some old haunts of Richard III.  This was most informative, factually and atmospherically, and reminded us of the strength of feeling there still is in York for the king.  For this reason I am including a guest blog by Janet about one of the reasons his burial at Leicester continues to rankle.

I took time to study one of the well known portraits of Richard III which I had seen many times before but particularly struck me forcibly, and I feel there is much more to tune into in that portrait.  The face has gentleness and sensitivity, which you don’t associate with the accepted accounts of Richard III’s character, and particularly the one as portrayed by Shakespeare.  This most famous of his portraits I feel conveys a compassion which it would have been difficult for an artist to manufacture.  Yes, artists often enhanced the beauty of a subject, but the delicacy and subtlety of this portrait I felt to be genuine.

I had written: “Another issue arising was his effeminacy.   Rather than having an effeminate chart, I see him as graceful with four planets in the sign of Libra.  The bone expert on the programme actually used the term ‘gracilis’ as an alternative to feminine.”

In our wanderings, I photographed some blurb, and was later pleased to find the birth date of Anne Neville, his wife.  That set me wondering if I should write a sequel to my original blog about Richard III, based on our current visit.

In Shakespeare’s play, Richard III seduces Anne Neville (played by Clare Bloom in the film) having killed her husband, and then goes on to marry her.  In their synastry, I found her Mercury to be trine his Neptune (being beguiled by him!), her Saturn trine his Uranus (his persuasiveness to an alternative lifestyle), her Neptune conjunct his Sun (she enraptured him), and her Neptune sextile his Pluto (a deep interaction).  They had a child, Edward of Middleham, who sadly died aged 10.

So, the main event of our trip was a long production of Richard III.  The actor portraying Richard III was young, and did not have quite the gravitas or menace of an Laurence Olivier, but nevertheless it was a very good production.    We marvelled, knowing the strength of feeling in York about Shakespeare’s hatchet job on Richard, that the play was even being shown.  Would the performance show more sympathy towards him in deference to that?  No it didn’t.

My original blog was written before they had settled on where to bury Richard:

“The next question on the agenda was where he should be laid to rest.  Should he go to York Minster, Leicester Cathedral, or Middleham Castle where he lived peaceably early in life ?  Or even Fotheringay Castle, where he started out that life. There is evidence to suggest that he wished to be buried at York Minster, according to the historian A.J. Pollard. The Soul that was or is Richard may have incarnated in between that lifetime and this, but it is clear that he has literally moved heaven and earth to rescue that portion of his soul which was trapped and restless under the Leicester car park.”

I concluded:

“For me the process of choosing his final resting place should go to Philippa Langley, who found him.  She clearly has a special connection with  him, and the capacity to find out his true wishes.”

Over to Janet, who can provide the York perspective:

Guest Blog, by Janet

Earlier this year there was an item in the York Press that a very senior York figure was moving on to an even more senior position elsewhere.

Here are two of the comments that appeared under the article – giving you a flavour of local feeling

redexile15th May 12:07 pm

Good riddance.

YorkNewcastle15th May 6:51 pm

Thank God. Thank you Lord for delivering us from the plague on our houses.

So who could it be?

It was in fact, The Very Reverend  Vivienne Faull  – Dean of York Minster .

Yes, she, who announced very firmly that York Minster didn’t want Richard III , made it very clear that reburial in York was not an option.

At this you could hear a sharp intake of breath all over York, for Vivienne Faull had been inaugurated only on December 1 2012 just a few months after Richard’s discovery in August. And her previous job? She had in fact spent the last twelve years at Leicester Cathedral as Provost and subsequently as Dean  during which time she had been involved in the negotiations over the proposed archaeological excavations in the search for Richard. Her insistence that Richard should be reburied in Leicester appeared in the agreements made with the University of Leicester.

Vivienne Faull clearly had little idea of the antagonism she would face in York.  Richard III is one of us! He’s ours! After his death and humiliation in Leicester, the townspeople of York continued to show their loyalty to him, to the extent that an emissary of Henry VII was afraid to enter the city in  the aftermath of Bosworth Field.

‘Forsomuch as the forsaid Sir Roger Cotam durst not for fere of deth come thrugh the citie to speake with the maire and his brethre, it was thought that they shuld goo unto him, wherupn the maireand his brethre went unto the sign of the boore and ther they speak with the said knight, which shewed unto them that the king named and proclaimed Henry the vii grete them well, and wold be unto them and this citie as good and gratiouse soveraign lord as any of his noble progenitors was before. 

To publicly display loyalty to a Plantagenet when a Tudor had taken the throne was a brave move.

There is very strong feeling pro Richard in York to this day – something Vivienne Faull underestimated.

Legal opposition to Leicester as burial place began.  The laws on exhumation and reburial state that human remains should be reinterred in the closest consecrated ground. As a quickly dug hole was hardly likely to be Richard’s chosen burial place so I’m not sure why this law was applied. Richard himself had planned to found and fund a large chantry chapel and college of one hundred priests to say masses for his soul and the souls of his family. His death occurred before the plan could be put into action.

In addition, in 1483 Richard crowned his son, Edward, as Prince of Wales in York Minster in 1483. Although we can’t be absolutely sure he wanted to be buried in York we do have these events as clues to his thinking   and the wishes of the deceased are supposed to be taken into account when reburial occurs.

So there we are. I was going to sign off as “Mrs Angry of York”  but instead I’ll finish with a few more words from the York Press comments section.

Emperor Palpatine15th May 8:24 pm
“Richard III is now at rest in Leicester and he should stay there because the argument between Leicester and York is finished. Personally I believe he should have come to York but it’s a debate that is closed.

That said, at the time she behaved disgracefully. She said York Minster didn’t want him and where did she used to work? Leicester. An honourable person would have declared a previous interest and stayed out of it. But not her, she stabbed York in the back and in my view disregarded Richard’s clear wishes.

She gave Leicester a eulogy during a homily at the Minster and incensed one man so much he was arrested! She even boasted about “being the enemy in York’s midst” – her words!

She doesn’t appear to have behaved very well in the bell ringing saga either. I think York is well rid of this woman.“

Oh, and by the way Vivienne Faull will be the new Bishop of Bristol. Watch out Bristol!


A last word, from Lana:  There was a feeling that Leicester’s later lucky year in football was brought by Richard III.  I feel that the karmic pendulum is going to swing backwards and forwards through time.  My Moon in Libra would like to think there was a win-win situation for the ongoing War of the Roses.  But so often there are situations which are difficult to bring to unity.  If anyone from Leicester would like to have right to reply, I would be happy to put their case.


Today the North Node sextiles Venus, ideal for smoothing over karmic issues, resolving relationship karma and easing connections. It is more about forgiveness and laying aside grievances than exacting karmic balance.  The law of karma works automatically – you don’t need to engineer it.  Your own knowledge is not complete enough.

Tomorrow (Monday 13th) Mars in retrograde motion leaves Aquarius and re-enters Capricorn.  This may have the effect of slowing down action, but action taken will be firmed up, based on realism, more authoritative, and less idealistic.  It may be that you have some unfinished business, need to polish up a project you started in the spring, or you need to attend to the finer detail.  Perhaps an element of the work needs to be corrected.

Between Monday and Saturday there are four days without major aspects.  Normally, I might fill in with some Fixed Stars, but there aren’t any.  Or I might go to minor aspects, but there aren’t any.  This could be a creative space, or a space to hone some of the themes of the week.

We end the week with a beautiful sextile between Mercury and Venus on Saturday 18th.  It’s a day for congenial communications, intelligent artwork, or enjoying nature.  Discussion and negotiation are satisfying under this aspect.

Appropriately, we are having a full reunion of the Quiet Office members on that day, it being the only day we could all manage, and that is something which hasn’t happened for a few years (November 2015 to be exact).  We are meeting at the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge, which is also very fitting.  I don’t try and shoehorn events into the aspects, but it is lovely when they dovetail perfectly.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – smooth karma
  • Monday – raking over old ground
  • Saturday – cafe culture