Wednesday 14 June 2023

A fairytale that has nothing to do with Scotland. Part 14

Part 13

“Truth is the daughter of time” wrote Francis Bacon and latterly made famous by Josephine Tey’s novel about a police inspector Alan Grant investigating the alleged crimes of Richard III while flat on his back in hospital. I think the quote means two things. We accept the historical narrative that has been repeated long enough whether it is true or not. Harold gets an arrow in his eye. Alfred burns some cakes. Nelson says, “kiss me Hardy”. Richard III murdered the princes in the tower. But there is a different and opposite meaning too. Given enough time passing there is the chance that eventually the actual truth will be revealed. If enough people research and think about an historical event there is a chance that someone will by using their reason or by discovering new evidence find out the truth.

I am metaphorically lying on my hospital bed looking at contemporary events through the lens of Plantagenets and Tudors. What we have witnessed in the past decades is the equivalent of a dynastic struggle for power.

Always being concerned about issues to do with contempt, let us call the first leader Richard III Plantagenet and his successor Henrietta VII Tudor.

What we have with the actual Richard III the Plantagenet is the following. His reputation is trashed by Henry VII who has almost no legitimate blood claim to the throne. Subsequent history following the Tudor line portrays Richard III as a monster with a hunchback who kills the princes and does all sorts of other awful things. Thank goodness we got rid of those Plantagenets. Shakespeare and nearly all other history follows this line and from then on everyone believes it.

Now what has happened in lately. One man Richard III Plantagenet was responsible for all of the success of his party and came closest to achieving his dream of secession.

Richard III was closely allied with and mentored the young Henrietta Tudor. There are suggestions that the relationship was closer than mere friends and colleagues. Some of the pictures from these times which show them looking into each other’s eyes and with kisses that go a little further than on the cheek suggest the possibility of a dynastic alliance, but it was not to be.

After just failing in his war of secession, the Richard III allows Henrietta VII to take charge of the realm. But what he does not expect is that within a very short time he will find himself without a horse and being attacked by the person he thought was his closest ally.

This is the key to the whole mystery why did the Henrietta VII attack Richard III and try to have him sent to the dungeon with a reputation no better than if he were a child killing hunchback?

It may be that Richard III had slept with too many ladies in waiting. It may be that the Henrietta VII was jealous. It may also have been that Richard III knew something about the Henrietta VII that was dangerous to her, such as her spending habits, or what she really thought about secession, or the nature of her marriage or the other friends and lovers she may or may not have had, some of which were fish, some of which were fowl and some of which were neither fish nor fowl. It may merely have been about power. You cannot set up your Tudor dynasty unless you kill off the Plantagenet dynasty and trash its reputation.

But Richard III survives losing his horse and he sets out to clear his reputation. Look I have no hunchback. Look my arm is not withered. Look here are the princes. They are not in the Tower.

Henrietta VII remains in power, and we have civil war. It’s not a war of the Roses anymore it’s a war of who is going to sleep with the fishes.

History has not provided the connection between the two events. Henrietta VII is arrested, and it is quite certain that this happened because of her attempt to destroy Richard III. If she had merely left him alone. If she had treated him with respect and asked his advice every now and again then all would have been well. Neither Richard III would have been arrested and tried and Henrietta VII would have been left free to buy and indeed do what she wanted with no one overly concerned.

But the two events are connected, and they are connected with something else too. While Richard III genuinely fought for secession, Henrietta VII was content with power and was happy to make the most of it whether secession was achieved or not.

So, Richard III after having his own reputation trashed, after facing charges that would never have been brought if he’d stayed in power finds that Henrietta his successor is merely using her power to pretend to fight a war of secession. She keeps asking for permission to hold another war, but when she’s told “No” she just gets a bit angry, puts on a funny face and waits a year to ask again. Some wonder if Henrietta was even working for the enemy as if she were a son of Guinness kept alive because he was useful like my five steak knives.

It’s an attack from within that does the damage to Henrietta VII. The attack is lead by Richard III, but only from behind the scenes. He has his own party now, but he also controls certain figures in Henrietta VII’s court and certain influential figures in the wider secession movement.

As I lie on my bed getting someone to bring me books from the period and particularly contemporary sources, I am struck by how Henrietta’s court is divided between those who send flowers and those who remain Plantagenet’s loyal to the old order.

Much we don’t know, because the historical sources don’t tell us. What did Richard III actually do to the ladies in waiting. When did Henrietta VII know about what he was doing? Did she know that ladies in waiting had been warned to stay away from Richard III’s bed chamber? When did she know these things?

Did Henrietta use her influence to get the ladies in waiting to rise up against Richard III? Were the stories as exaggerated as his hunchback and the princes in the Tower? Maybe that was why Richard III escaped from the dungeon.

How did Richard III plot his revenge against Henrietta VII and how did he achieve it? This is the heart of the plot that is still unknown. Did Richard III or his followers gather the information or tell others where to look? Did Richard III use his former close connections with the law to direct operations against Henrietta VII? We await the daughter of time to tell us.

Truth could have been the myth that Henrietta VII established about herself and about the wickedness of her predecessor. Shakespeare might have written about the saintly Henrietta VII and how she brought peace and plenty to her country. But the daughter of time saw things differently and chose instead to reveal rather than mythologise.

As the flowers withered Henrietta VII surveyed the trinkets that she had bought over the years strewn throughout the palace. “My jewels, my jewels, my kingdom for my jewels”

It would be she who Shakespeare described as having a hunchback. It would be she who murdered the princes in the Tower. Henrietta VII would be the villain of history her reputation ruined by the daughter of time.

Part 15