Roughly five hundred years later that leaves historians with a problem, we don't know what is true and what is simply legend. We are swimming in descriptions of Richard and his reign but none of them reliable, even paintings have been tampered with, and a huge amount of historical detail lost to the large amount of time which has elapsed since his death. Pretty much everything about Richard is debated by historians.
We don't know what kind of king he was, what his relationship with the other historical figures or factions of his time was like. We don't know for sure what his relationship with his wife was like, she died during his reign but her death too is shrouded in myth. We don't know what is relationship was like with his brother Edward IV. Edward's two sons go missing during Richard's reign, we know they were kidnapped at one point by a rival faction, but after that they disappear completely. Richard is reputed to have killed them, but their bodies have never been found and there is no non-questionable historical evidence either way. Shakespeare and many of his contemporary writers describe Richard as being a hunchback with a withered arm. Historians have debated how much of that is true, did he have some physical impairments? Where they minor or, as the Tudor's wrote it, major, or fabricated after his death wholesale?
Tudor historians generally want to play down the amount of historical re-writing the dynasty did. Richard historians generally just bang their heads against their desks and cry piteously as the authenticity of yet another document or artifact is called into question.
For me Richard III is fascinating as one of the ultimate historical puzzles. On top of that he's just an amazing character, whether you want to paint him as a cunning villain, a tragic hero or enigmatic politician who lived during one of England's most termulant eras it's all good to me.
Yesterday an archaeological team at the University of Leicester announced that they have identified human remains found under a car park as Richard III's.
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
(Finally after five hundred years the man himself in the flesh -- as it were)
If nothing else Richard III trended on Twitter and which makes the Richard III fanboi in me extremely happy.