WHY WASRICHARD III OVERTHROWN?Richard III reigned for two years, twomonths and one day. His reign was over run my rumour and even tothis day people see Richard as a tyrant. One of the rumours thatplagued Richard throughout his reign, was that he had murdered his twoyoung nephews. (one of which was Edward V, who succeeded to the throneimmediately after the death of Edward IV).
Even in the days of Richardsreign, murdering children was seen as an appalling thing to do and whetherRichard did kill his nephews or not, it did not matter the general publicdid not trust Richard. Richards position was made worse, becausethe previous king (Edward IV) had left conflicting instructions as to whoshould rule the country after he had died. Richard was killedin combat, at the Battle of Bosworth. It could be argued that Richardwas responsible for his own demise and indeed his own death.
The obvious key factor in Richard beingoverthrown is the fact that he was killed in battle, some historians saythat it was Richards own bold and soldier-like personality that got himkilled. Richard lost the Battle of Bosworth because of a number ofdifferent factors. One very important element was that Richard managedto alienate a great majority of nobles from the south of England.Whilst Edward IV had been king Richard had been left to run the north ofEngland, in this time he was able to establish a power base for himself,and acquired the himself the title Lord of the North.
This processbegan in 1471 where Richard obtained Neville Lordships in Yorkshire andCumberland, and when he married Anne Neville, which gave him the loyaltyof Warwicks men. The relationship between the northern gentry andRichard was strengthened further when Edward IV entrusted Richard and hisnorthern counterparts to the war against Scotland. When Richard becameking he invited northern nobles and gentry to the south of England to ruleover the southern counties. This quite clearly upset and angereda lot of the nobles from the south. However Richard did not rewardall the northern nobility accordingly the Earl of Northumberland expecteda lot of power in the north, after he had helped so much in Richards accessionto the throne. However, Northumberland was left of the council ofNorth., this in turn led Northumberland withdrawing his aid for Richardat the Battle of Bosworth. Richard also killed a number of noble men fromthe north and south without trial.
With so many nobles feeling angrytowards Richard, it would be incredibly difficult to gain support and menfor his army at the Battle of Bosworth. Richards actions would alsotempt many nobles to side with Henry Tudor, which would result in Richardsdissolution.Richards had many problems to resolvewith France. Problems dating back to 1340 (to recover or extend territoriesin France). When Richard came to the throne he launched attacks onBreton shipping for piracy, although it would seem Richard was allowingthese attacks, because the Bretons were keeping Edward Woodville as a refugee.Another more important refugee was in France though, Henry Tudor.
Tudor was taking shelter in Brittany. The King of France used Tudorto try and blackmail Richard into sending him archers, Richard did notcomply with his requests. The conflict between Richard and the Kingof France was very unfavourable to Richard, as France would not releaseTudor. Richard needed to get hold of Tudor, to crush his attemptto overthrow him, (Tudor had put in an official claim for the throne onDecember 25th 1483 in Brittany) it could be argued that if Richardhad been able to get hold of Tudor and imprisoned or even killed Tudor,he may not have been overthrown. However Richard did not concentrateon this issue enough. Richards encounter with France was headingtowards a war, which inevitably meant that Scotland would begin to starttrying to attack England.It would seem that Richard III was a veryunpopular man with the general public, English nobility and foreign nobility.
He lacked trust between himself and the people he needed to be able trustthe most. It would seem that Richard relied heavily upon the loyaltyof other nobles instead of using his own men, nobility that quite possiblydid not trust him, and therefore were likely to change sides, to a leaderwho could offer them more favourable opportunities. However withany subject concerning Richard III it is difficult to assess the situationas his entire reign is shrouded in mystery, rumours. Even so evidencethat is available does tend to show that Richard did not do enough to gainsupport from other nobles, until it was too late (as when he tried to reconcilehis problems with southern nobility before the Battle of Bosworth) andhe did not realise the severe threat henry Tudor was to the crown.