Richard of Gloucester

  • John Palmer


There have been brief Augustan interludes in the history of the world when it might have seemed a libel upon our civilisation to present Richard Crookback as a political character. The bloody dog is dead. Such was his epitaph. Richard achieved political eminence by killing—or, as we have recently learned to say, by liquidating— those who stood in his way. He secured the support of his principal confederates by involving them in his own sinister performances and promising them a share of the loot. He obtained the consent of his subjects by a carefully rehearsed and grotesque parody of a popular election. On coming to power he destroyed the man who had helped him half way to the crown and drove into rebellion the man who had put it on his head. To include such a person in a gallery of political portraits seems a little hard upon a deserving section of the community remarkable not so long ago for nothing worse than what Dr. Johnson described as a ‘strong, natural, sterling insignificance.’ Few to-day, however, would fail to recognise in Richard a typical and recurrent example of the political leader.


Political Leader Fairy Tale Political Character Conscious Life Popular Election 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1946

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Palmer

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