Today in history, August 22, 1485, Richard III was killed in battle at Bosworth Field. The battle of Bosworth was to be the last of the dynastic wars which had wreaked havoc on England for decades. Richard of House York had succeeded to the throne of England two years prior by some…messy means but succeeded he did! Yet, it was not to be for long. An unlikely incumbent lay in the lurch representing the House of Lancaster and seeking to make right the foul deeds which had brought down his step-uncle, Henry VI. One could only imagine that Richard and his forces of 5,000 were likely quite confident marching into that battle. Seeing it as little more than a spur of rebellion or a chance to put the Welsh upstart down Old Yeller style. Richard held 5,000 men behind his banners while Henry had French mercenaries and had collected rag-tag bands of soldiers since his arrival.
Yet, not even Richard (who many find to be well-seasoned in the art of betrayal himself) had anticipated what was to come. The Earl of Northumberland who had been charged with the holding of a third of the royal forces, did not answer Richard’s call for movement. Seeing eminent defeat, Richard opted to “either win the battle as a king, or die as one” and refused the notion of retreating. Thought to be accompanied by little more than his household men, Richard would cut down Henry Tudor’s standard bearer and unseat the standard bearer who had served under his own brother. Henry Tudor meanwhile was protected by the reserve of his vanguard and seemed to ironically want no parts of the action. Yet, he had a trick up his sleeve. Stanley forces would take note of the King separated from his army and rushed the scene. Thomas Stanley, after all, was the husband of Henry’s dearly beloved mother making Stanley Henry’s stepfather effectively. The Stanley forces surrounded Richard and his men, Richard would find his horse stuck and would be struck down by violent means even by those standards. The day was lost for the Yorkists and Richard III was no more. Henry Tudor because King Henry VII and there was no going back.