‘King Richard III & The Prince in the Tower’
SPOKANE, Wash. – In the debut of the Gonzaga University history department new lecture series, RáGena DeAragon, Ph.D., will discuss “King Richard III & The Princes in the Tower: Historical Mysteries Considered” at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 18 in the Jundt Art Museum’s Jundt Auditorium.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, marks the premiere of Gonzaga’s new annual series titled “The Art and Craft of History.”
DeAragon, associate professor of history at Gonzaga and a specialist in medieval and early modern history, said the lecture was prompted by the announcement by the University of Leicester in England that it had discovered the remains of King Richard III. This man was made famous by Shakespeare’s play “Richard III.”
Shakespeare portrayed King Richard III as an unnatural villain, crooked in body and soul, who usurped the throne from his 12-year-old nephew Edward and then murdered him and his younger brother, Richard Duke of York. Historians generally followed suit and considered King Richard III guilty, but DeAragon notes the numbers of those who dispute this verdict are growing.
Photos of the skeleton found at Leicester are poignant, revealing a man with severe scoliosis that would have caused one shoulder to be higher than the other. The bones show evidence of serious injuries, with nine wounds beyond the blow that most likely caused his death. King Richard’s burial was in a grave too short for his body (and he was not a tall man), without a shroud or coffin. There are bones in Westminster Abbey thought by some to be the partial remains of his nephews found deep under a staircase in the Tower in the 17th century. Despite calls for scientific testing of the bones to establish identity, authorities have refused to authorize their examination.
“So, we are left with what historians and archaeologists can determine based on limited and sometimes questionable sources,” notes DeAragon. “The case provides an opportunity to explore the ways historians do their work.”
The Gonzaga history department’s new series aims to showcase the research of the department’s faculty and more publicly illuminate the academic discipline of history today.
For more information, please contact RáGena DeAragon at (509) 313-6695 or via email.