How successful was Richard IIIs reign as King of England
Richard III’s reign was not successful. He alienated his nobility, failed to gain a good reputation around the country and had a bad foreign policy. Richard mistreated a proportion of his nobles. He forced loans off them to pay for things such as Edwards IV’s funeral, the chapel for Henry VI and many more. He also had a poor relationship with his southern nobles, which did not benefit him as they were closest to the capital city, London. This linked to the Buckingham Rebellion, which showed this weak authority of the country, and the nobles power and influence over the English people.
On the other hand, Richard had strong noble support in the North where he used to be based in the reign of his brother Edward IV. In terms of the Buckingham Rebellion, in the short term he dealt with it in what ways he could. After this event, he gave himself stability by not relying on any powerful magnates, but instead put his trust into less well known ones. The nobility did not help Richard’s reign, and were the most prominent reasons for Richard not being successful in the few years of his rule.
Richard’s reputation was built up to be one of an evil usurper. There were scandalous rumours around his succession, such as the murder of the Princes in the Tower, said to be instigated by him. Also, the murder of his wife after his son, Richard Prince of Wales died. The Lancastrians in the country now had a new figure head, Henry Tudor. This lowered Richard’s reputation even more, as people had another possible King in mind for the throne, and preferred him to Richard.
On the other hand, Richard was known as renaissance king, interested in the arts and culture. This gave him a positive reputation among the ordinary people. He also donated sums of money to the building of Henry VI’s chapel, and gave money to Kings College in Cambridge. He brought Elizabeth Woodville and her daughters out hiding and ensured their safety, too. Although he gave all this money to certain people and projects, the majority of the country still only thought of him as a usurper, not legitimate king. Richard did not handle his finances very well.
He forced loans off nobles to pay for events and celebrations, such as his sons crowning of the Prince of Wales and a lot of money for Edward VI’s funeral. He carried on the expensive war with Scotland, which ended in defeat. Despite this, Richard handled the finances himself, instead of having a Treasury and employing people to handle the countries economy. Richard III did not succeed as a successful king of England, and when he died in battle was not celebrated for his rule 1483 to 1485, and would always be known as a murdering, evil usurper to the majority of his people.