|King Henry VII|
Prepare to be amazed and to figure out why dedicated a whole post to this one battle!
Since the Norman conquest only two battles have English kings been defeated by "pretenders" Hastings in 1066 (William the Conqueror vs. Alfred the Great) and Bosworth. The two are actually very similar even both the "pretenders" had mostly french armies and were virtually unknown to their subjects. But if want to hear more about the Battle of Hastings, this is not the place. Today we're talking about Bosworth. Thanks to recently research I've read (namely a book entitled "Bosworth 1485: physcology of Battle" if you haven't read it... READ IT NOW!!) I am inclined to believe the site of the battle is actually a few miles WEST of where it was traditionally said to have taken place, never the less, that doesn't change what happened.
On the opposing side we have the challenger with a very flimsy claim to the throne, Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond and the last Lancasterian with even a speck of royal blood in him. (not the last Lancatrian sympathiser however, his uncle Jasper Tudor and the earl of Oxford had always been lancasterians and weren't dead yet!) He was not as confident as some think, his army was mostly French troops mixed with some Scottish and Welsh people. (the Welsh just loved the Tudors) He had never commanded an army or even fought in battle before, the only taste of battle he saw was the battle of Edgecote, where he was protected while he watched. He was still uncertain of the loyalty of the Stanleys but still, he decided to risk it.
On the defending side we had King Richard III (who's remains were recently discovered, conveniently located under a car park! :) how splendid!) He had many nobles support and was an experienced solider (he often fought alongside his brother Edward IV) He also had the larger army and was pretty sure he was gonna win. However or sources do tell us the night before the battle he probably had some bad dreams about losing (thought, not like Shakespeare describes)
What prompted King Richard to make such a bold move? It was the very thing his father, Richard Duke of York (Yorkie, i like to call him!) would've done in battle and his tactics were very similar to those displayed by his youngest son at Bosworth. (since we're on the topic Richard III was very similar, even in looks, to his father the duke of York so there is no doubt in his legitimacy as there is at least for me, with Edward IV see my post on Edward IV really being of the house of york)
Of course, Henry saw Richard advancing towards him and quickly dismounted his horse (so as not to be so visible) and William Stanley decided to send in his army to fight against the king. They distracted the forces Richard brought with him and left him fighting alone. Some of Henry's welsh troops (or french) then saw the king and took the opportunity to kill him, which the succeeded in. As soon as people realized the king was dead Henry was proclaimed the new King. Thomas Stanley found the crown under a thorn bush and crowned Henry with it, he was now official Henry VII and a new chapter of English history was about to begin.
As for the body of the dead king, sources say it was stripped naked, slung over a horse and paraded through town and humiliated before being buried in the Greyfriar's church (which we now know was were that now famous car park is!)