York Dungeon Launches Petition to Clear Name of Richard III

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York Dungeon Launches Petition to Clear Name of Richard III 3

York Dungeon Launches Petition to Clear Name of Richard III

A petition launched by York Dungeon to clear Richard III’s name in the mystery of the so-called ‘Princes in the Tower’ has already amassed over 600 signatures in under a week, with a number of historians, direct descendants and celebrities backing the campaign.

The King, who was well-loved and revered in the City of York and surrounding countryside, has throughout history been the subject of a controversial debate, especially after an onslaught of unsavoury Tudor propaganda against the Yorkist King.

York Dungeon has now set up a petition on the Parliament website asking for the excavation of the alleged remains of Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury from Westminster Abbey.

The book, The Mythology of the ‘Princes in the Tower’, by the late historian John Ashdown-Hill, reveals that a genetic descendant of the princes has been found, meaning DNA matching could be achieved.

York Dungeon Launches Petition to Clear Name of Richard III 2

“It’s high time that justice be served”

If a DNA test on the remains failed to match the modern samples it would mean the remains were not the two princes and the accusation against Richard would remain unproven. The Dungeon is also keen that the petitioning to excavate the bones could possibly prove if any foul play was involved in their deaths.

The petition went live on July 21st ahead of the launch of York Dungeon’s summer show, ‘Richard III – Hero or Villain?’ on Saturday, July 28. York Dungeon marketing executive, Simon Alnaimi said: “We want the public to decide for themselves what kind of a man Richard III was. But at the same time, we wanted to do a bit of digging ourselves, which is why we thought of the petition. As far as we’re aware, no-one has ever rallied the public together in order to challenge the Abbey on excavating the remains. In the interest of historic accuracy, and for the sake of Richard, we think it’s high time that justice be served to our Yorkist King, especially after missing out on being buried in York Minster.”

Visitors to the Dungeon will experience York in a time under the Yorkist King’s rule, when Richard’s throne was contested by a little known Lancastrian exile, Henry Tudor, who had a very fragile claim to the throne.

Historian Philippa Langley, who led the search for Richard III’s remains beneath a car park in Leicester in 2012, visited York to launch of the attraction’s new show on the king.

She explained: ‘What I am here to do is bring the historical Richard III to the York Dungeon because what is important for me is the York Dungeon is great for families and for children, and it’s a Horrible Histories-style show and it’s all about getting children in particular fascinated with history but then discovering more about the historical Richard III. So this is what I’m bringing to the York Dungeon for them, I’m giving the contemporary source material about Richard III from his own lifetime. I helped a little bit with the scripts so they can get the people questioning the old traditional stories and the Shakespearean legend.

York Dungeon Launches Petition to Clear Name of Richard III 1

Historian Philippa Langley with York Dungeon’s ‘King Richard III’ James Swanton

“We have the technological ability to learn the truth”

“I think the traditional view is that he was a tyrant and a murderer but the other view based on the contemporary source material from Richard’s own lifetime is that he was very far from that. He was loyal, brave, pious and just.”

Anthony Adolph, who’s a direct descendent of Richard III’s brother George, Duke of Clarence, hugely supports the excavation: “As both a professional genealogist and also a descendant of the princes’s uncle, the Duke of Clarence, I agree strongly that, now that we have the technological ability to learn the truth, a DNA test on the bones in the Westminster Abbey urn would be of the greatest historical interest.”

Radio and TV presenter Craig Charles, who is also a history buff added his backing: “I’ve always been obsessed by that period of history. The Plantagenets make Game of Thrones look like a game of tiddlywinks – with so many royals dying early in very strange circumstances. If the urn was reopened it may finally solve the biggest cold case in British history, and after the discovery of the king in the car park this could be the last, dramatic piece of the jigsaw puzzle.”

York businesses are also getting behind the campaign. Captain Stephen Upright, Clerk to the ancient Company of Merchant Adventurers, said: ‘This as an amazing and unmissable opportunity presented by modern science and some tremendously painstaking genealogical work to shed some light on a momentous mystery in English history. Who knows, it may just help to clear the name of the, perhaps, unjustly maligned Son of York.’

To support the petition visit change.org 
‘The Mythology of the ‘Princes in the Tower’ by John Ashdown-Hill is published by Amberley Books and is available now
images: David Harrison

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