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How Far Was Richard Iii’s Downfall a Result of His Own Mistakes?

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How far was Richard III’s downfall a result of his own mistakes? (24 marks)
Richard III’s downfall was partly due to his own actions. Despite the fact that in his short time as king he made some good decisions that would have benefitted him in the long run, had Tudor’s rebellion been quashed, in the short term they caused much antipathy which resulted in support for Tudor growing, despite his poor claim to the throne of England, the mere fact that Tudor’s claim to the throne was farfetched suggests that Richard made some awful decisions as support for Tudor grew rapidly.
From the death of Edward IV it did in fact seem that Richard had the world against him, however it cannot be forgotten that parliament, practically begged Richard to take the throne and even Edward IV had named Richard as protector. Many Ricardian historians agree that, if Richard had wanted to survive, his only way of action was to make a move against the Woodviles, who were social climbers intent on gaining control of the country. Therefore, logistically, the only way for Richard to endure would be to remove them from power.
The probable murder of the princes was a terrible stain on Richards Reign, and although some historians would say that you cannot prove that he murdered the princes, Richard failed to shift the blame onto anybody else, and in particular I think that Richard should have taken the opportunity to force the blame onto the Duke of Buckingham, and his failure to do this even after rebellion is would simply reflect to the people that Richard was the most probable murderer. Richard also made himself look further guilty by his actions which caused many to turn against him, including such loyal Yorkists as Hastings who was even an enemy of the Woodvilles. Richard was also implicated in the death of his brother the duke of Clarence, which suggested to the higher gentry that he was not a man to be trusted.
Ricardian historians might however argue that Richard’s actions were only to protect himself, especially from the threat of the Woodville. This was further combined with the unfortunate deaths of both his wife and his son, which left him without an heir. Which, given Richard’s reputation, whether false or true, just lead to more rumours suggesting that he had murdered his wife in order to make an incestuous marriage to his niece, Elizabeth of York.
Resentment was caused by actions such as his acts of plantation, whereby northern nobles were placed in the south taking, the lands of some southern nobles; this, although it meant that he might gain some northern support, resulted in much resentment towards him in the south. In order for these plantations Richard passed a total of 97 attainders which caused him much resentment. Richard thought he could trust these nobles, proven by his success in battle whilst fighting for Edward IV, it cannot be forgotten that Richard had always been very loyal to his brother winning many battles in his name, therefore it was not outrageous to expect the same sort of loyalty from his own gentry.
Richard’s was unfortunate in that he lost another loyal friend. The duke of Buckingham, who saw himself in a similar light to that of Warwick the kingmaker, felt he was not richly rewarded enough in for his help in the usurpation of Richard, especially his help at stony Strafford. Richard was to regret Buckingham’s deference to the Buckingham rebellion, as although the rebellion was quashed and Buckingham executed, many leading Yorkists such as Giles Daubeney fled to join Henry Tudor after this debacle. Moreover, Henry Tudor became an official alternative to the throne and the prime Lancastrian candidate, his promise of marriage to Elizabeth of York even soothed some of the Yorkist supporters, as the future heirs to the throne would be Yorkist. Tudor learned valuable lessons from Buckingham’s mistakes which lead to his ultimate success such as where to land (near Milford Haven in ground that would support him.)
It could be said that he was successful internationally as he made the Duke of Brittany relinquish Tudor, forcing him to go to France. France however accepted Tudor, and King Charles even granted Tudor with 2000 pike men under the command of Phillibert de Chandee, who proved vital in the battle, using the pivotal movements to protect Tudor from Richard’s Horses. This was not a result of Richard’s decisions but just that he hadn’t had much time to establish himself internationally.
Richard was unfortunate in the Lord Stanley one of the more powerful nobles was married to Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Tudor, even after imprisoning Stanley’s son, he still couldn’t rely on his support with the battle and the coupled with the earl of Northumberland remaining on ambient hill resulted in Richard losing much support. This downfall in the battle was what resulted in Richard making his reckless charge to take Tudor head on, and although some see this as a misjudgement on Richard’s part, he did in fact take Tudor’s banner and was probably just hoping to make a charge in a similar way to his father had.
In conclusion I think that Richard’s downfall wasn’t so much a result of his actions but was in fact due to the unfortunate circumstances about his reign. The ill timings of the deaths of his family coupled with the betrayal of certain nobility resulted in Tudor gaining much support. Some would argue that Richard treated the Nobility poorly, and yes he did have to rely on the lower gentry but he was well aware of how dangerous a powerful noble could be, having once been one himself, and similarly I believe that his actions towards the Woodville’s, were just to protect himself. Therefore, Richard cannot be blamed entirely for his downfall as he just acted in his best interest in order to survive and in his short reign he made relatively virtuous decisions.…...

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