Richard III Affirms Legitimacy
at Bosworth Field
by Jeff Provine
says: we're very pleased to present a new story from Jeff Provine's
excellent blog This
Day in Alternate History Please note that the opinions expressed in this
post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
On August 22nd 1485,
the Wars of the Roses had caused battles for thirty years as the House of
York and the House of Lancaster made attempts whenever possible to seize
the throne of England. The House of York had gained dominant control,
though upheavals continued, such as the revolt led by the Duke of
Buckingham in an effort to put forth Henry Tudor as king.
Richard III had put down the rebellion, but the Tudors had not been
utterly defeated. They would have their final confrontation at Bosworth
Field near Ambion Hill in Leicestershire.
Richard, who was known for his political deviousness, was not
overwhelmingly accepted. His nephews, one of whom was the former king
Edward V, had disappeared shortly after Richard had taken the crown.
Rumors stated that they had been killed and their bodies hidden in the
Tower of London, but few were willing to challenge Richard directly. Henry
Tudor had his own claim to the throne and came out of exile in France with
an army, arriving in Wales on August 1. He gathered strength from allies
while Richard mustered his own troops and raced to meet him.
"It would be interesting if the Stanleys\'
interference in the battle had been due to a bungled order..." - reader's
commentRichard's 10,000 men were divided under the command of
himself, the Duke of Norfolk, and the Earl of Northumberland. Henry
opposed him with only 5,000 men. Waiting on the wings with 6,000 men were
the Stanleys, brothers Thomas and William, who were forced into loyalty
under Richard by the imprisonment and threatened execution of Thomas'
eldest son, George. As the battle became thick, Richard found himself
betrayed by the hesitating Northumberland and decided to lead the charge
against Henry himself. In the gamble, Richard and his knights became
separated from the main force, and the Tudors pressed upon them.
William Stanley decided that the time was right to strike. He drove for
Richard, signaling his army to save the king and serve as reinforcements.
With the second charge, the battle was won for Richard and the House of
York. Henry Tudor was slain in battle. Tradition tells that Richard,
looking over the body of Henry, mumbled, "Treason, treason, treason,
Having been satisfied with the loyalty of the Stanleys, Richard released
Thomas' son and rewarded William with the lands seized from Northumberland
as punishment. Richard would go on to rule until 1507, marrying Anne of
Lancaster and pacifying his populace to achieve a return to peace for
England. He was well known as a beneficiary to the church (though rumors
said his gifts were out of guilt for evil deeds past and present). He
would be succeeded by his son Richard IV, and the Lancaster line would
Marginal stability would reign in the sixteenth century until the
Protestant Reformation took hold of Europe. Under Richard V, England would
maintain its connection with Rome despite the efforts of reformist Thomas
Cromwell, but the Scots in the north began to adopt Calvinism. While the
Thirty Years' War raged in the Germanies, Scotland and England were both
well known for sending mercenaries to their respective sides. Eventually,
the war would spill onto Britain with the Bishops' War would begin in
1633. Much of the North of England was devastated, and recurring drafts
caused uprisings among the English, finally ending with the Civil War led
by Oliver Cromwell for the Protestants.
After the wars when Protestant England gave up its short-lived republic
for rule by William of Orange, interrupted peace would continue between it
and Scotland. Both would participate on various sides in wars, continually
sparring for domination in colonies both in the Old and New World.
Finally, with the Seven Years' War in 1763, Scotland and England would
define a boundary across the St. Lawrence River with Scotland in Canada
and England in New England to the south. When the American Revolution
broke out the next decade, the Scots were quick to help the rebels
establish their independence. England would return the favor in the
Canadian Revolution in 1864-67.
When World War I broke out in 1914, great bloodshed would follow in the
trenches of Northumberland, but Scotland would find itself on the losing
end with the collapse of Germany in 1918. The following economic
depression cost England its longtime possession of Ireland, but Scotland
would join Italy, Germany, and other European states in fascist
revolutions. World War II would be even bloodier for Scotland, but
occupation by English, Americans, and French would prove beneficial as the
nation rebuilt into a productive member of the European Union today.
England, meanwhile, continues as a stable state with distant memories of
Bosworth Field as retold in Shakespeare's stirring history, Richard III.
says in reality, the Stanleys, seeing Richard in trouble, charged their
knights against him, risking the life of Thomas' son. Richard would be
killed in battle, though remembered as fighting valiantly. Having helped win
the day for the Tudors, the Stanleys would be richly rewarded. The Tudor
line, however, would prove unstable as Henry VIII broke from Rome, his son
Edward VI would reign only six years, and Elizabeth would die without an
heir, prompting England and Scotland to share the monarch James I (VI) and
forever tie the two British nations together.
Jeff Provine, Guest Historian of
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