Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The dummy run

Richard decided upon a royal tour of his realm to consolidate his position. Buckingham returned to Brecon with Morton.

For all Richard's efforts, discontent was brewing in some of the southern counties. Rebellious movements arose in support of the restoration of Edward V. Lady Margaret Beaufort saw in this an opportunity to regain the initiative. Urgently she sought information from Buckingham about the whereabouts of the young princes. When Buckingham replied that Richard had sent them away, he knew not where, she instructed him to foment the rumour that the princes had been killed. For added realism, he should hint strongly that he had some personal involvement in their death.

It was a master stroke. People at large, already wary of Richard, were filled with abhorrence at the thought that he had murdered his nephews in the Tower, and with the princes supposedly dead the only figurehead remaining to lead the opposition to Richard was, of course, Henry Tudor.

Buckingham raised his forces in the name of Henry Tudor. However Buckingham was nowhere near as popular a governor of his territory as Richard was in the north, so the men he commanded were half hearted. In addition, the notoriously changeable British weather turned against him and he was soon defeated. Eventually apprehended, he was beheaded in Salisbury market place on the sabbath. This ensured a good crowd for the execution, but perhaps Richard would have been wiser to listen to those who advised him not to profane the Lord's day in this way.

For her part in the rebellion, Lady Margaret Beaufort forfeited all of her estate to her husband Lord Stanley who had maintained a position of loyalty to Richard.

Lady Margaret Beaufort was unperturbed. This had been a dummy run. Next time there would be a power surge.

Next Chapter

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