Too many Richards*

*that’s not a euphemism.

There are also too many Edwards, Edmunds and Henrys (and many of them are Richards by nature – and that is a euphemism) in my current obsession: Wars of the Roses.

It all started with my first Philippa Gregory novel, The Lady of the Rivers. (Just as my Ned obsession started with a novel.)

Then I read the next book.

Then found the TV series on DVD based on the two Gregory books. Oh, and the fabulous, must-see, BBC series The Hollow Crown. Series 1 is Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V. Series 2 is the Wars of the Roses with Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 and Richard III. Absolutely brilliant.

And then I borrowed some non-fiction, including one with contribution by Philippa Gregory.

More non-fiction followed.

I bought a T-shirt on my recent cruise trip because it had a red rose on it. (Although I am a Yorkist, so white rose is really the one for me.)

Mr S bought me a piece of costume jewellery, a bracelet with charms from the novels.

I’ve found a tour I want to go on when we go to the UK.

But you know, there’s just too many people with too few names. I found the same problem when reading Wolf Hall, except then it was Thomas and Henry.

To complicate the matter, they nearly all have other names, their Lord of or Earl of name; their nickname; and worse, their duke of name AND their earl of name AND the name they took after they became king.

This year I am going to see one of the oldest English crowns, that of Margaret of York, sister the first Yorkist king. The crown is in Äachen. (The other oldest surviving crown is also in Germany.)

Back to all the Richards. Look at this paragraph. The York who is worried, is Richard, Duke of York. And his allies, share the same first and last name. I mean really?!?

But I can beat that. On another page they mentioned four Richards, all of whom also have other names: the two Richard Nevilles, Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury and his son Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, also called the Kingmaker; Richard, Duke of York; and Richard Woodville, Lord Rivers.

But what would an obsession be if there weren’t things to fume over?

And who knew it was the Wars of the Roses not the War of the Roses? I mean the Hundred Years War is called one war, yet these skirmishes are given the “honorific” of wars.

12 thoughts on “Too many Richards*

  1. As per usual I am enlightened by your posts. No, I didn’t know it was “wars” and have been saying it incorrectly all this time.
    And I agree about the confusion with names. It would be enough to make me give up ( and did, in the Wolf Hall book). And yet I managed to binge my way superbly through a Spanish soapie on Netflix, where all the characters had the same names I had previously watched in a different soapie- Pablo, Alicia, Carlos, Miguel, Mario. No problems but I guess I’m lucky they weren’t all just Pablo’s.

    • My tongue struggles around Wars of the Roses. Doesn’t come naturally.

      Wanna learn something else new: at the Battle of Agincourt (ok, before Roses era) many of the English longbow archers were without pants. Because they were sick and they could keep firing without worrying about the poo running down.

  2. Thats a lot of information! Everyone must know a Richard. In my mum’s family the eldest boy was always William Henry and the girl Emily – there was never any choice for names it was a given! My sister remarried and has now become a Smith which is very common here – they get funny looks when registering at Hotels.
    At work we had many Asian clients and it seems the women are nearly always Bibi – it can be a first or second name and they alternate it too and it can be quite different to their husbands surname. It is no good for todays modern databases – can you imagine how hard it was to search for a client named Bibi.

  3. Before I retired, I used to work with a director whose name was Richard. I frequently had to remind him to stop living up to his name. 🙂

  4. That tour looks fascinating! I would also need a tour guide to explain the book with so many Richards! It’s like that with Game of Thrones. My husband has to provide commentary to remind me of who is linked where and what the backstory was. I can see how the intrigues and moves and counter-moves would be addictive, though!

    How’s that pants-free history fact! 🤣

    • Game of Thrones is apparently based on Wars of the Roses. I got the characters on the Lord of the Rings movies mixed up. Many looked similar. Strange names which are also similar. Luckily Mr S explains things to me.

  5. When I read books like that, I sometimes stop trying to remember who’s who and make notes for myself. But I’m not sure if it would help in this case! Growing up, I knew a few guys called Rick or Ricky and one Richard. But an uncommon name now.

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