The Death Card Visits The Battle of Bosworth!

Death Upright

This post is prompted by historical events that happened in England, culminating on the 22nd of August 1485. I weaved in a few Tarot cards to enhance the telling of The Battle of Bosworth which marked the end of The War of The Roses, the fall of the House of York and the rise of The House of Lancaster. The death of King Richard III, the last of the Plantagenet Kings, on the battlefield of Bosworth began the reign of the Tudor Dynasty with Henry VII. With tension, intrigue, cliff hanging moments and and array of complex characters, the story of this incredibly important transitional time in English history reads like the plot of a great novel or script of a thrilling movie.  It is full of superb tarot archetypes and archetypal situations. Look around you in the world today and you will see they are still here, especially in the halls of power and politics. Nothing really changes.

I have written a potted history of the story below with all key characters and events, and have mused over how certain cards might symbolically represent this powerful story. Really, the whole deck could have been used so I had to exert some discipline and self restraint. I thought it an interesting approach for developing story-telling skills when reading tarot. Those who know me are aware of my fascination with Tudor History and that whole time period. In creating this post, I have also played on symbolism in certain cards for investigative purposes, and to theorise or speculate. As I morphed into historical forensic investigator mode, these musings may at times drift away from traditional associations. It is purely for entertainment purposes and aims to get the old brain cells working. Please note, I am not a historian so forgive me if I do not have the facts in order etc. 


  King Richard III House of York & King Henry VII House of Lancaster

I have used Death as the defining card of the whole story. The outcome of events at the Battle of Bosworth changed everything in England. How one felt about Death in this aspect depended upon which side you fought for, which House you were loyal to, Lancaster or York. Those who staunchly opposed the rebellion to remove Richard III from the throne had much to fear from the Death Card as it quite literally forecasted their own demise, or worse still, death by execution if Henry Tudor managed to sieze the crown. Those who were undecided, either unsure of who to support, or waited out to see who was most likely to be victorious, were more open to the energy of The Death Card. They hoped to survive the full impact and would scavenge on the battle field for whatever they could salvage. Then there were the ultimate victors who championed The Death Card by invoking and unleashing its force. Death of the old and the beginning of the new couldn’t come quickly enough for them.

The Tower Upright

Before Death could happen, the Tower had to come into action. It imploded under the pressure of pride, corruption, lies, deceit, murder and treachery. It could never have lasted under such negative foundations. When The Tower started to tremble and shake, it did not take long for it to fall, thus leaving King Richard without defense and protection. Exposed and vulnerable, the vultures circled as greedy self-seeking eyes focused on the crown that had loosened its grip. Although historians debate about the true nature of Richard III and whether he was an unfortunate victim of collusion and betrayal, or guilty as sin, he nonetheless was practically served to Henry Tudor on a silver platter by those he thought he could trust. The Tower is a leveler. Death can sometimes find it hard to penetrate the thick defensive walls of The Tower as the occupant, or Devil in some cases, shields himself from such a fate. Death has to find a way in. In this case it metaphorically breached The Tower’s security field, not from a dawn raid, but by tunneling into the lowest levels of foundations blocks supporting The Grand Tower. Death discovered it to be very weak, and many upon becoming aware of his presence and the mission he was on, flung the doors wide open and offered to help.

King Richard III sitting floors up above, could not oversee everything himself. He had to trust in the loyalty of those on the lower floors. He was wrong, very wrong. He was sitting in a viper’s nest and when he discovered his predicament, it was too late. It is really hard to pick out who the good guys and bad guys were as they all had their own agendas and most were towards advancing and elevating their families closer and closer to the throne, regardless of who sat on it. In fact, so big were their egos, they all wanted to sit on it. Some were prepared to stab each other in the back to acquire it.

On this basis, the story I tell below can be rewritten from so many points of view and we could argue indefinitely about the wrongs and rights of the whole issue. What happened, happened and has now been consigned to the annals of history.   Regardless of how one looks at it, and who the real villains of the day were, the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 heralded the end of the Plantagenet Dynasty and the fall of the House of York. The Ten of Pentacles Reversed amply symbolises their downfall and ruination. Upon Henry Tudor’s victory,  titles, positions, land, castles, property and assets would be confiscated from the Yorkist supporters and given to the Lancastrians. Many Yorkist families fell instantly from a position of great status to being title-less and homeless. As power changed hands, Yorkist Crests of Arms were ripped from castle and town walls to be replaced by Tudor Lancaster ones.

10 of Pentacles Upright  10 of Pentacles Reversed

The House of Lancaster Rises – Tudor Dynasty (on left)

The House of York Falls – Plantagenet Dynasty (on right)



On the 22nd of August 1485 Richard III, the last King of York makes a valiant attempt to defeat Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster. Henry has laid claim to the throne, and after  marching 200 miles from the Welsh coastline, is determined to secure it. Richard’s forces outnumber that of Henry’s but support for him has waned due to scandal, dissent, and intrigue. He has become unpopular with his subjects, and with good reason. He may have large armies behind him, but will they stand with him, by him, or defend him when the time comes? Richard does not realise that some of the nobles he has called upon, Sir William Stanley, his brother Thomas Stanley (although Yorkist, married to Margret Beaufort and stepfather to Henry Tudor) and Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, have not yet decided who to side with. Their marching men and seated armored riders will be held back until it is clear who is likely to be victorious, Richard or Henry. Baron Thomas Stanley’s son George, Lord Stange, has been taken hostage by King Richard to ensure his father’s allegiance. One nobleman has been declared a traitor by Richard only a couple of days earlier. He has nothing to lose. If Richard succeeds he will be executed. If Henry triumphs then he may do well out of it. His men contribute to the large number of Richard’s army but it is not in his interest for Richard to survive. He is merely hedging his bets. With such dissent among the ranks and lack of morale among the troops, Richard may be left to fight the battle himself.


King Richard III Surrounded by Treachery and Conspiracy. Support for the King is rapidly diminishing as Margaret Beaufort plots to bring her son Henry Tudor out of Exile to lay claim to the throne. 

A Self-Made Tyrant

Following the death of his brother, Edward IV of England in April 1483, Richard, the then Duke of Gloucester, was made Lord Protector of the late King’s two sons, Edward and Richard. This was his late brother’s request. Richard was to prepare the boy Edward V for his Coronation as King. Richard however had other plans. He wanted the throne for himself. He conspired  to have the marriage of his brother Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth, declared invalid by Parliament. This immediately rendered their children illegitimate, with no right to the throne.  Richard was the next in line to succession. Before anyone could intercede or object, the two young boys were subsequently sent to the Tower of London 20 days after the death of their father. They were never seen again. It is most likely Richard had them murdered in an attempt to eliminate any future claim to the throne. Richard III’s infamous incarceration of his brother’s two sons in the Tower of London has passed down through history, commonly being referred to as the ‘Princes in The Tower’. On the 26th of June, 1483, Richard, the Duke of Gloucester was proclaimed King Richard III.


Richard III takes the Throne by force and imprisons his two nephews in The Tower of London. The two Princes vanish and are presumed dead, murdered by their uncle Richard. 

Unrest and Conspiracy

Richard initially gained support as news of his new Kingship spread throughout the land.  However his handling of his brother’s sons began to cause widespread discontent. Those who had been loyal to his brother Edward IV were not happy and began to conspire to oust him from the throne. He had illegally taken it after all. The Yorkists were turning on the Yorkists, but in a strange twist of fate which was to turn the tide of history, the person who coordinated the rebellion was not from the house of York, but the House of Lancaster. Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry (VII) who was exiled in Brittany, had a reputation for being a formidable  and ambitious woman. With her sight set on the throne for her son Henry, the plot to overthrow King Richard III began to grow in strength just months after he seized the throne. Richard had become increasingly unpopular with his own people as they turned against him in favour of the the Lancastrians.  One of the main conspirators was Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham (Yorkist) and the question remains as to why he would swap sides with such passion and energy? These Houses generally loathed each other. He may have realised that King Richard’s days were numbered.  There is however some speculation as to whether the Duke of Buckingham had been deceived by Margaret Beaufield into believing that he would claim the throne for himself, not Henry.  Poor Buckingham never lived to find out. After a failed uprising, he was trapped and caught by Richard’s men and executed on 2nd of November 1483. In the previous month Henry had attempted a sea crossing from France but had been unable to make landing due to heavy storms. They would have to wait and try again.


The Duke of Buckingham wants the throne for himself. Margaret Beaufield wants the throne for her son Henry Tudor and is gathering support for his campaign.  Somehow she draws Buckingham into her plans. Buckingham orchestrates an uprising but is caught by Richard III’s men, tortured and executed. 

Murder and  Betrothal

The initial failed uprisings due to stormy weather, poor timing, betrayal and espionage bought Richard some time, but Henry had become a growing threat. He made several attempts to capture Henry or have his protectors hand him over, but with little success. Those involved in the rebellion against him, and loyal to Richard’s deceased brother, Edward IV, fled to Brittany where they declared their allegiance to Henry. By the end of 1484 Henry Tudor had sworn an oath to marry Edward IV’s daughter, Elizabeth, thus uniting the feuding Houses of York and Lancaster.  Richard was becoming ostracised by his own people. With the death of Richard’s wife Anne Neville in March 1485, rumour spread throughout the land that Richard had murdered her in order to marry his niece Elizabeth, Edward IV’s daughter and sister to the princes in The Tower. The tone of the people turned further. Henry had already sworn an oath to marry Elizabeth himself. He knew that if Richard got there before him he would likely lose the support of the Yorkist rebels as they would invariably turn back to Richard upon such a marriage. Gathering as many men as he could muster, he set sail from France on the 1st of August 1485.  There would be no going back this time. Retreat was not an option.


After the unexpected death of Richard III’s wife, Ann Neville, rumours of murder circulate. The finger is pointed at Richard who they say wants to marry his niece Elizabeth, sister to the Princes in The Tower of London. Henry Tudor in France has earlier sworn an oath to marry Elizabeth himself, thus uniting the two houses. Henry is outraged when he hears of Richard’s plan. He gathers his army and sets sail for England where he intends to claim the throne .

  Engagement in Battle

King Richard who had been at Nottingham Castle when he heard the news of Henry’s arrival in Wales had expected the mighty Welsh landowners to attack Henry’s forces. When he discovers they have joined him instead, he sets out with an army of 10,000 men, determined to slaughter Henry and those who support him. Henry has arrived in Wales with his closest staunch supporters, a band of Yorkist rebels, and as many French as he could muster (approx. 2,000).

As Henry marches towards London his numbers grow. Richard III has underestimated his own unpopularity. By the time Henry meets up with Richard at Leicester, two and a half miles south of Market Bosworth,  his battle (group) has increased by several thousand. Regardless of the show of support for him, he is still terribly outnumbered by Richard’s forces.  Henry has had several secret meetings with his step-father, Sir Thomas Stanley, campaigning for his support. The Stanleys have not committed to one side or the other, preferring to fence-sit until the crucial moment to decide which will be more advantageous for them. Richard III is already aware of their potential disloyalty, and has Thomas’s son held hostage as collateral. The Stanleys hold their positions at a distance from The King’s three battles. They will sit and wait. The Earl of Northumberland, Henry Percy, commands his own strong force (battle), and flanks Richard’s army to left. Northumberland has his own axe to grind with Richard. He has been overlooked for a position to manage the North which had all but been promised to him. Northumberland’s advancement in power has been seriously damaged. He may do better with Henry Tudor as King.


King Richard sets out to intercept and defeat Henry Tudor. His army is large but he cannot rely on their support as he has become unpopular and even loathed. Henry Tudor surrounded by strong support marches to meet Richard. The Stanleys who sit on the fence will play an integral part in the outcome of the upcoming battle.

As per millitary strategy of the time, the battle is fought by three groups or ‘battles’ on each side. King Richard and his personal vanguard are positioned at the crest of Ambion Hill with Norfolk to the right and Northumberland to the left. Henry Tudor is at the bottom of the hill in marshy land.  King Richard has much military experience behind him. Henry is making his debut at Bosworth and has no knowledge of warfare. Instead he has appointed the military adept might of John de Vere, The Earl of Oxford, as his military commander.  It is Oxford who will lead the attack. Henry will stay far back, well protected by bodyguards and horsemen.


The Pre-Battle Positions

King Richard sends a message to the Stanley’s demanding they fight. If not, he will behead Thomas’ son, George, Lord Stange. Stanley responds by saying he has ‘other sons’. Richard is furious and orders George to be beheaded. His orders are ignored.


Thomas Stanley’s son, George, Lord Strange is taken hostage by Richard in an attempt to force his support. He threatens to execute George if his father refuses to fight for him. Stanley’s response to the King is that he ‘has other sons’. Richard orders his execution. It is not carried out.

King Richard launches the first attack in the early morning hours of August 22nd 1485. Norfolk leads the charge down the hill towards Henry’s men. Oxford launches a counter-attack up the hill and the battle begins. Oxford has decided not to split his men into three groups as he fears he will lose command of them. He orders them not to move more than 10 feet from their Standard. Henry’s men hold tight but are significantly outnumbered. The Stanley’s make no move.  The battle rages furiously as arrows hail down from the sky. Norfolk is killed in the fighting and it becomes clear that Oxford’s men are stronger in hand-to-hand fighting. King Richard calls upon Northumberland and his men to enter the battle. Northumberland does not make a move. He is closely watching the Stanleys.


The Battle begins but the Stanleys sit back and wait. 

The news of Norfolk’s death reaches Richard who is flies into a fit of despair and rage. He looks for The Stanleys and Northumberland but they continue to hold back. It appears that Richard is on his own. Consumed with insane rage and spitting venom, he catches sight of Henry Tudor’s Standard at the rear of the fighting. He will finish the job himself and kill their military commander. Gathering his most loyal men and friends, Richard leads a mounted charge around the side of the battlefield, his focus on reaching Henry directly. King Richard straps his crown over his helmet to assert his royal command. He will take him Henry out himself and bring an end to the matter. The attack is sudden and brutal.  Henry’s bodyguards are caught off guard. Richard kills Henry’s Standard-Bearer in the initial attack. Henry dismounts and conceals himself behind his men. Richard manages to get within a sword’s distance of Henry before his pike-armed bodyguards create a protective wall around him.


King Richard in anger makes a desperate charge for Henry and becomes separated from his Knights. The Stanleys who have stayed put make their move and join Henry in his fight. 

William Stanley upon seeing that Richard has become separated from his Knights, eventually makes his move.  He rides to Henry’s side and takes up the fight. Very quickly Richard’s forces are outnumbered and they force the King further away from Henry into the nearby marshy land. His horse loses his footing and falls into the marsh. Richard is unseated. He quickly gathers himself, and with his remaining men continues to fight on. He is offered a horse to flee the battle but refuses it. “God forbid that I retreat one step. I will either win the battle as a king, or die as one.” Richard is surrounded by Sir William Stanley’s men. He fights on alone but he will not get out of this alive. Richard is struck in the head by a halberd (axe-type weapon) and falls. His crown is lost to the mud of the battle field. Further blows rain down on him. The force of the halberd strikes drive his helmet into his skull. King Richard III at 32 years of age is dead. The soldiers are worked up into a frenzy and continue their attack on his lifeless body  News of Richard’s death reaches Northumberland who flees back to the North. Not one of his men delivered or received a blow in the battle. Richard’s lifeless body is stripped naked and tied to the back of a horse. It is brought to Leicester and is publicaly displayed to prove his death before being interred in a plain tomb. The death of Richard III marks the fall of the House of York and the end of The Plantagenet Dynasty.


King Richard is unseated from his horse and has to fight on the ground. Stanleys men rush in and violently strike him down. He loses his crown to the mud. The last Plantagenet King is dead. The House of York has fallen.

Sir William Stanley retrieves the fallen crown, or circlet, from the mud and brings it to Henry who is crowned King on Crown Hill, close to the village of Stoke Golding. The House of Lancaster has risen from the ashes.  The Tudor Dynasty has begun.


Henry Tudor is crowned. King Henry VII begins the reign of the Tudor Dynasty. The House of Lancaster takes over power from The House of York. 


Henry VII begins his rule of England and the Tudor Dynasty can look forward to another 118 years of power. He has parliament declare Richard’s Kingship invalid and reinstates Edward IV’s children as legitimate. Conveniently, the two princes have disappeared leaving only their sister Elizabeth, the intended bride of Henry now legitimate. Henry wary of any late claims to the throne by Elizabeth or her family, delays his marriage to her until after his coronation. The marriage of Henry Tudor and Elizabeth unite the feuding Houses of York and Lancaster thus brings an end to the War of The Roses.


Henry marries Elizabeth, the daughter of King Edward IV, niece of the slain King Richard III, and sister to the missing Princes in the Tower of London.

Like every King before him, Henry VII is not immune to threat and treachery. Much of his time will be spent clearing his house of enemies and spies intent on laying claim to the throne. Conspiracies and plots are ever present. Those that fawn and grovel can be the most lethal. Ambitious families will run with the hare and hunt with the hound in their climb to the top. Everyone seeks power and mastery over others. Henry VII rewards his supporters well, the Stanley’s especially so. His mother has all her land and assets restored to her and holds great importance in the king’s household. Northumberland who had not lifted a finger during the battle of Bosworth flees North. He is arrested by Henry’s men but is later released. In 1489 he is murdered by Yorkists during an uprising. A note is left by his body blaming Northumberland for the death of King Richard.

With the defeat of King Richard III and the fall of the House of York, power has changed hands and England has rid itself of a supposed tyrant. It is the dawn of a new era and the people of the land are hopeful. Power has a habit of eventually corrupting. Henry VII’s wife, Elizabeth has yet to give birth to one of the worst tyrant’s in English history, Henry VIII. That is a story for another day.


The Princes In The Tower

And of the Princes in the Tower, the mystery still remains. Many theories circulate but no one can prove a thing. Remains of young children have been found buried in the Tower but Royal Permission to conduct DNA testing has been denied. Richard III was consistently blamed and lost support because of it. He repeatedly denied their murders but made no attempt to prove the boys were alive through public appearances. If he didn’t kill them then he must have known they were dead otherwise he would have paraded them in public to clear his name. They may have died of disease or neglect. Some say they were walled up in room and starved to death. Others say they escaped, or at least one did, the younger boy Richard. Buckingham was also blamed along with Henry Tudor himself. The boys were closely guarded and no one was allowed access except with Richard’s permission. I have my own suspicions which I recently discovered are also shared by Phillipa Gregory, the Tudor Historian and Author. I believe there may have been a collaboration between Henry’s mother, Lancastrian Margaret Beaufort and her fellow conspirator,  the Yorkist Buckingham. It is suggested the Buckingham was led to believe by Margaret that it would be he who would claimed the throne. If so, the the twin boys stood in the way one way or another. Margaret wanted the throne for Henry. Too many claimants blocked his path. She would eliminate them if only she could get to them. Did she use and manipulate Buckingham to do her dirty work for her? Had they contacts in the Tower of London who would set it up or look the other way? Did Henry know of it? Henry used Richard’s culpability for maximum leverage after he ascended the throne. However, he never ordered an official investigation of the Princes’ disappearance. Was he afraid of what might be revealed?



Death Upright

Death tells a tale of change, transition, the removal of the old to make room for the new, upheaval, chaos and loss. It marks the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. It sweeps power away from one and gives it to another. It warns of clinging on when we should let go, of refusing to accept natural defeat or change. It highlights the consequences of forced control or assuming ultimate power. Impermanence is forcefully brought home. Nothing stays the same or lasts forever, no one can alter the force of nature or universal law. No one is immune; Kings, Queen and Rulers can be overthrown when they no longer serve their purpose or have fallen from grace. Death cannot be out-ridden no matter how hard one tries. Death is the leveler, for even the mighty, and those who believe they are invincible eventually fall under its hooves.

In the Card Death,  the King lies dead. He has lost his crown and it lies a distance from him in the mud of the battle field. His reign is over and the crown waits to be claimed by another. It can take time, even in Death, to realise that it is over, done and dusted with no going back. In the background we can see crosses that mark the slain or buried; the possible victims or subjects of the dead King who thought he held divine power and rule. He has sacrificed many in his climb to the top. Self-absorbed and self-indulgent, he thought only of himself, his needs and his importance. He expected loyalty and complete obedience from those whom he deemed dispensable or worthless. He threw them in front of death, or ordered their death for his own gain. He was the only important one. The end justified the means, forcing outcomes when they did not naturally fall his way.

The King now lies dead on the ground, his luxurious velvet robes covered in dirt and dust. The once mighty ruler is no more, and already Death has moved on from him as he fades into the past, for he now is a thing of the past. It has all come to an end for the King whether he wanted it to or not. His assumed power failed him when he needed it most.  His reign is over and those who survived and bore witness to it must swear allegiance to the one who now claims the crown. The Bishop looks eager to make his loyalty known and hopes for his position to be retained. He had enjoyed privileges under the old King and wishes to hold onto them. He will bend to this new King’s rule so that he stays safe and cossetted.  Indeed he has probably seen several Kings come and go in his time. He knows well how to stay in favour, but one can never tell when and where the axe will fall. He is a pleaser and eager to ingratiate himself with the new King. The newly victorious King, mistrustful of everyone,  is aware of this and will use it to his advantage. He, like the old King, needs spies that can be controlled, bought and manipulated. For all the Bishop’s pomp, formal robes, mitre and sanctimonious stance, the new King is not impressed. He can smell fear behind the Bishop’s fawning and groveling. The Bishop pleads for mercy and we wonder if he also seeks mercy for the young girl and child who kneel before Death. They have probably lost family in the battle or have become displaced. One would hope he is looking out for them, but history has a habit of telling us otherwise in these situations. It can be every man for himself or save your own skin when a new King rides into town.


The Princes in The Tower

The two young figures could in this instance symbolically represent the Princes in The Tower whose young lives were believed to have been sacrificed in an attempt to remove them from the line of inheriting the throne. The older of the Princes, Edward was to be crowned King after his father Edward IV’s death but he and his younger brother, Richard, were flung in the Tower of London by his self-seeking uncle who wanted the throne for himself. To this day historians have failed to discover the boys’ fate and who was ultimately responsible for their disappearance, but their Uncle, King Richard III was blamed at the time and still is. However, there has been speculation about Henry Tudor’s involvement, but he was not in the country at the time they disappeared. His absence does not remove his potential culpability for he may have had a third party act on his behalf. Some historians believe that Henry had the boys killed in the summer of 1486, the year after he claimed the crown at the Battle of Bosworth. If that is so, then we might look at the two young figures who kneel before the new King who looks down upon their innocent heads. He has discovered their whereabouts, and with their uncle dead, and their kin fled or executed, who will protect them?

In The Death Card we see the sun rise between the two towers in the distance. Henry Tudor who has brought death to King Richard III and the House of York will want his own future son and heir to inherit. If still alive, the young Yorkist Princes pose a potential threat to his plans. He carries the Yorkist Standard (the white rose) after claiming it along with the crown.  He raises it to the young Princes leaving them in no doubt as to the shift in power. He holds control of their destiny. It is said that the older boy, Edward, was aware of the impending threat to his life once his father died. He was next in line to ascend the throne, but feudal England was a dangerous place when a power vacuum occurred, or when a crown was temporarily displaced. Many became mad and ruthless in their scramble to claim it. It was not for the faint-hearted. Young Edward is said to have prayed daily while in The Tower and had a confessor visit him regularly, similar to those who awaited execution. In the Death Card we see him turn his head away. He knows that he is at the mercy of the new King and it most likely signals his own death, for if he is still alive at this stage, he most certainly cannot be allowed  to continue so. The new King, Henry Tudor, knows that should he allow the boy to live, he will be sought out by others and supported in a future claim to the throne in an attempt to reinstate the House of York. That would mean further treachery and rebellion. Henry could lose what he has just fought hard for.  The younger child looks hopefully towards Death, the new King. He is not an immediate threat but should anything happen to his older brother, then he would naturally be next to inline for the throne. Possibly Edward has shielded him from the fear of what might come and so the little boy retains his innocence and positive outlook. He has brought a gift to the new King as he wants to impress or welcome him. Maybe they will be released from The Tower of London if behaves nicely. It is worth a try. Will it mean anything to the victorious mounted rider? It is doubtful.

The two young figures may also symbolically represent the ghosts of the murdered Princes in The Tower. Both the Slain King Richard and the new King, Henry Tudor have blood on their hands because it is their notorious power struggles that have placed the boys’ lives in danger. If one had not done it first, then surely the other would have made sure to eliminate them as soon as they were within reach. The disappearance of the Princes in The Tower tainted Richard III’s reign and brought about his dramatic fall from power and bloody demise. He had built his kingdom and throne upon corrupt and weak foundations. As the cracks and fault lines ripped through his court; kidnap, torture and execution failed to respond to his command. His supporters jumped ship, abandoned him, plotted against him and betrayed him. He had offended too many, too often. He was suspected of a despicable crime against his own brother’s children who he had sworn to protect.  It all began to unravel rapidly as the pedestal he had placed himself on collapsed beneath him.

In the end, his Tower of Power could not withstand the forces that rocked it. As if hit by cannon balls, it exploded and imploded. The crown was forced from the King exposing the rot, corruption and decay beneath. However, not all his secrets deeds were revealed. The  Tower was searched for the Princes, but they were not to be found. Were they flung to their death from its high windows, or did they escape? Did Henry’s men get to them first? Did the Bishop in the imagery hand them over to Henry in exchange for his own life?

Wheel of Fortune Upright

And so the Wheel of Fortune turns once more. The House of Lancaster advances while the House of York retreats. A new cycle has begun, but will it make any difference? What goes around tends to come around. Cycles and patterns of behaviour repeat themselves if lessons are  not learned. Kings believe they control the turn of the wheel, and some can if they have learned from the failures of that which they replace. They can ensure that their reign is better than the last, but power has a tendency to corrupt. The closer the Kings rises towards the sun, he can become blinded by his own importance and status. His heated ego, can easily forget, or overlook good intentions or promises made as he builds his mighty Tower around him. If he builds his Tower tall and wide enough, he thinks no one can reach him. He will hold court from his Tower and issue orders and decrees for those subjects he can neither hear nor see. In his high Tower, he can lose touch with reality and his subjects. Out of such disconnection, spreads discontent and treachery. The new King Henry will not be immune from such threat. His popularity can wax and wane from one day to the next. He will need to strengthen the foundations of his Tower so that it can withstand attack.

Henry VII fared better than the ousted King Richard III. The Tudor Dynasty continued to reign until 1603. It ended with the death of the childless Elizabeth I, daughter of the beheaded Anne Boleyn. Although often bloody, brutal and tyrannical under the reign of Henry VIII, the Tudor’s are responsible for bringing England out of Feudal times into the modern era.


Years of Reign

Henry VII (1485-1509)  Henry VIII (1509-1547) Edward VI (1547-1553) Mary I (1553 – 1558)( Elizabeth I (1533-1603)

The Tudor Dynasty Reigned from Henry VII’s Crowning in 1485 until the Death of the childless Queen Elizabeth I in 1603


The fallen King Richard III was not afforded any formal ceremonial funeral. The whereabouts of his body remained a mystery until August 2012 when a skeleton was discovered under a car park  in Leicster during an archaeological dig to commemorate the 527th anniversary of his death at Bosworth. DNA testing confirmed the remains to be a match for Richard III. The grave he had been buried in was small and uneven. It really was a hole in the ground that was too small for his body. It appears to have been a rushed burial with no respect for the corpse which showed signs of postmortem abuse and mutilation. Experts confirmed that he had received two blows to the head, both of which would be fatal, suggesting he had lost his helmet in the battle.

Richard was re-interred in Leicester Cathedral not far from where his body was found.


For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born,
and a time to die;
a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill,
and a time to heal;
a time to break down,
and a time to build up;
a time to weep,
and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn,
and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace,
and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek,
and a time to lose;
a time to keep,
and a time to throw away;
a time to tear,
and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence,
and a time to speak;
a time to love,
and a time to hate;
a time for war,
and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-18; NRSV

4 replies »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.