[[caption-width-right:275:"[[Theatre/RichardIII And every tale condemns me for a villain]]."]]

-->''Can you imagine it,''\\
''I'm the last Plantagenet,''\\
''Beaten by Henry in the Wars of the Roses''\\
''The Tudor dynasty''\\
''Didn't care that much for me,''\\
''[[HistoricalVillainUpgrade Now I'm painted as a baddie]], that's why, one supposes.''
-->-- ''Series/HorribleHistories''

Richard, Duke of Gloucester (1452 - 1485), crowned '''King Richard III''' in 1483, was the sixth son of Richard, 3rd Duke of York, and brother of King Edward IV of England, who had seized the throne from the reigning Lancastrian king, Henry VI. (The complicated relationships of the various branches of TheHouseOfPlantagenet were the principal cause of the "UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses", in which Richard distinguished himself.) On Edward's death, he seized the throne from Edward's son (called Edward V, though he was never actually crowned), declaring him and his younger brother Richard of York bastards. (Traditionally, Richard had his nephews murdered in the Tower of London; this has been much disputed since at least late Tudor times.) A rebellion led by Henry [[TheHouseOfTudor Tudor]], Earl of Richmond, arose, and Richard was killed fighting for his kingdom at Bosworth Field.

Richard's traditional reputation was largely formed by Sir UsefulNotes/ThomasMore's ''History of king Richard the thirde'', which (possibly based on the reminiscences of John Morton, Bishop of Ely) depicts Gloucester as a [[RedRightHand hunch-backed, withered-armed]] Machiavellian villain. More's account formed the basis for Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Theatre/RichardIII'', which has probably been the most influential account of Richard's life and character -- despite its obvious historical shortcomings -- and has indeed tended to color perceptions of the entire [[TheLateMiddleAges Late Mediaeval period]].

Nevertheless, Richard's [[{{Retcon}} rehabilitation]] started fairly early. In the reign of James I (''i.e''., after the death of the [[TheVirginQueen last]] of the [[TheHouseOfTudor Tudors]]), the antiquarian [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Buck Sir George Buck]] discovered the suppressed ''Titulus Regius'' that set forth the Parliamentary explanation for Richard's assumption of the throne and claimed he had seen a letter (now lost, if it ever existed at all) from Edward V's sister, Elizabeth of York, which established the friendly relations between them, and wrote his ''History of King Richard III'' in an attempt to moderate the king's negative image. Unfortunately, Buck died insane, and his history was published only after his death, by his grandson (1646). Nevertheless, the concept of a Richard slandered by Henry Tudor (considered by most a man of few scruples) gained a strong following, and has influenced historians, either positively or negatively, ever since.

The fate of the Princes was never certainly established. The last sighting of the boys alive seems to have been around July 1483, shortly before Richard's coronation. Stories of their death varied wildly: some said they had been poisoned, others drowned, others stabbed -- but the most accepted version was that attested by Thomas More, that the princes had been smothered and buried secretly under a staircase in the Tower. Bones found there in 1674 under a staircase (as More had said, though he also said he had heard that Richard had had them disinterred and buried elsewhere) were declared to be theirs by the then king, CharlesII. The identification is by no means certain; the bones were last examined in 1934, and it was determined at that time that not all of them were even human. Their age, sex, and date of burial have been disputed (though most experts agree they are pre-pubertal); there has even been some [[WildMassGuessing speculation]] that they're the remains of ceremonial sacrifices from Roman times. The dean and chapter of Westminster Abbey, where the bones are inurned, have refused to allow further testing, as has Queen Elizabeth II, who will not allow DNA analysis of the remains ''or'' of available remains of any known relatives of the Princes.

Popular depictions of Richard since Shakespeare's plays have generally veered back and forth from outright evil (Richard may be considered the patron saint of the HistoricalVillainUpgrade) to a revisionist version in which Richard, though appearing a somewhat cynical DeadpanSnarker, is nevertheless a fundamentally decent human being -- often the only decent human being in what is otherwise a DeadlyDecadentCourt.

He is often portrayed as a creepy old man even though he died aged only 32. He was also a WarriorPrince and the best warrior in England, second only to his brother Edward.

To everyone's surprise, Richard's remains were [[HistoryMarchesOn unearthed from a carpark in 2012]] and, using DNA from two descendants of his sister, identified as his in 2013. Whether the popular view of this divisive king will change (and if so, how) is anyone's guess at this point. The remains showed signs of scoliosis (a curved spine) - which could have given him uneven shoulders but certainly not a hunchback - but there were no signs of the other deformities claimed by Tudor propagandists. It has also been claimed his preferred weapon in battle was a mace, which can be quite heavy, and thus would have enlarged the muscles of his fighting arm significantly. This oversized extremity may have formed the basis of the hunchback legend.

It was also found that he did indeed go down fighting, his body showing that he suffered over a dozen injuries, three of which would have been fatal fairly quickly. Of those three injuries, one could have only been inflicted after death. This was the blow to his pelvis, which would have been armored at the time of his death. The other two; a blow from a sword, and a a halberd-type weapon, both to the skull, were more likely the fatal wounds.

Not to be confused with the current [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Richard,_Duke_of_Gloucester Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester]], Queen Elizabeth II's first cousin, who is ([[TemptingFate so far as we know]]) not planning to usurp the throne. He is, however, a patron of [[http://www.richardiii.net/ the Richard III Society UK.]]
!!Richard of Gloucester provides examples of the following tropes:

* Archenemy: He hated the Woodvilles and they hated him.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: One of the facts that has never been disputed is Richard's battle prowess.
* AwesomeMomentOfCrowning: His joint coronation with his wife Anne Neville, which was the best-attended coronation in ''years''.
* {{Badass}}: Like his big brother Edward, he was a dedicated asskicker.
* BadassLongrobe: Richard's surcoat which he wore over his armor during battle.
* BeamMeUpScotty: Richard ''probably'' didn't cry out for a horse right before dying, as reported by Shakespeare. (We think.)
* CavalryBetrayal: Lord Stanley and Northumberland to Richard at the disastrous Battle of Bosworth Field.
* CavalryOfficer: Richard both before and after his coronation. This makes sense, because Richard's scoliosis infringed on his breathing, making him more easily fatigued, which would have been remedied on horseback.
* TheGoodChancellor[=/=]EvilChancellor: During his brief stint as Lord Protector. Which one he was is up for debate.
* ClearMyName: The whole ''point'' of the Richard III Society.
* CoolHelmet: Richard apparently wore his crown outside of his helmet.
* CustomUniform: Due to his scoliosis, Richard's armor would have had to have been custom-built.
* DecisiveBattle: Barnet and Tewkesbury, which earned Richard his reputation as a military commander and put his brother Edward IV on the throne of England.
** Bosworth.
* DefiantToTheEnd: Per Polydore Vergil: ''"He died fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies."''
* DiabolusExMachina: Richard lost his son, his wife, and his own life inside of a year after becoming king.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: Despite being very much a HandicappedBadass, Richard still goes down surrounded by his enemies.
** Even better: he came within ''a few feet'' of Henry Tudor during his cavalry charge and actually killed his standard bearer as well as unhorsing a 6'2" bodyguard of Henry's. Did we mention that Richard's height could not have exceeded 5'8"?
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: Getting part of your skull sliced off with a halberd sure counts.
* FinalBattle: Bosworth, again.
* FrontlineGeneral: As King of England, Richard definitely qualifies at Bosworth.
** Not to mention Barnet, Tewkesbury, and his campaigns in Scotland.
* FullBoarAction: His personal heraldic device was a white boar.
* TheGoodKing: Definitely seen as such by his contemporaries, thanks to his legal reforms for the benefit of the English peasantry.
** In fact, upon hearing of his death at Bosworth, the Aldermen of York wrote in the city records: "On this day was our good King Richard [[TheHeroDies piteously slain and murdered]], to the great heaviness of the city."
* HandicappedBadass: UpToEleven: In a time when painkillers did not exist, Richard had a severe case of scoliosis coupled with osteoarthritis that would have caused massive pain and, as shown in the documentary ''Resurrecting Richard III'', restriction of lung capacity due to the twisting of the ribcage, which would have made him more easily fatigued. Still an epic-level {{Badass}}? Hell yes.
* HappilyMarried: With his VictoriousChildhoodFriend Anne Neville. Uniquely for the period, it was a love match that didn't cause LoveRuinsTheRealm.
* HighlyConspicuousUniform: Richard's aforementioned surcoat, as well as the crown he wore outside of his helmet and clearly visible.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: The discovery of his body in 2012 makes it quite clear that the Shakespearean limp, withered arm, and hunchback (distinct from scoliosis) were fictional.
* HistoryMarchesOn: The discovery of his remains under [[CrowningMomentOfFunny a car park]] in Leicester.
* HopeSpot: When Richard comes close to killing Henry Tudor at Bosworth. [[ForegoneConclusion It doesn't last very long]].
* InTheBack: Both of the lethal injuries are to the back of the skull, and analysis has shown that they could only have been inflicted if Richard had been forced to his knees at the time.
* InvulnerableHorses: Averted: One of the main contributors to Richard's death was the fact that his horse was caught in a mire, leaving him open to being [[ZergRush Zerg Rushed]] by Stanley's soldiers.
* KilledOffForReal: This is the usual result when you have [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat part of your skull sliced off by a halberd]].
* OneManArmy: At Bosworth, he personally scattered many of Henry Tudor's bodyguards, killed several of his best knights, and struck down Tudor's banner. It took a ZergRush by Stanley's troops to actually bring him down.
* StraightForTheCommander: Came within inches of personally killing Henry Tudor.
* TheStoic: He was apparently a very tightly-wound man, and was described as being of unimpeachable moral character when he was a duke. He was less of a good time than Edward, but shared none of his vices.
* WarHawk: This is kind of a running theme for the House of York. Richard was very much in favor of Edward's 1475 campaign in France and was disappointed when it ended with the King of France bribing Edward to leave.

!!Works associated with Richard of Gloucester:

* Creator/JosephineTey's ''Literature/TheDaughterOfTime'' is probably the 20th century work that re-started the [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation revisionist view]] of Richard. It involves her long-time detective hero Alan Grant [[SomethingCompletelyDifferent bored in the hospital]] and piecing through the evidence in search of the "historical" Richard.
* Richard of Gloucester is an ambivalent figure in Creator/RobertLouisStevenson's novel ''The Black Arrow'' (1888), which has been adapted for televison and film several times, notably in 1911, 1948, and 1985.
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Theatre/HenryVI'' (Parts II and III) and ''Theatre/RichardIII''. That last one is ''such'' a negative portrayal of the King that his name has basically become synonymous with villainy.
* ''Tower of London'', a 1939 Universal horror film starring Basil Rathbone as Richard, and its 1962 remake, directed by Creator/RogerCorman and starring VincentPrice.
** Notable in that Price played Clarence in the Rathbone version.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' [[Creator/BigFinish audio play]] "The Kingmaker" featured a ruthless, but fundamentally decent Richard III who [[MythologyGag sounded suspiciously like]] Creator/ChristopherEccleston.
** ...which may be a bit of FridgeBrilliance: Richard throughout his reign was associated with [[OopNorth Northern England]], which was, indeed, more detrimental to his popularity in South England than his (alleged) crimes.
* Sharon Kay Penman's ''Literature/TheSunneInSplendour'' is a DoorStopper epic detailing the UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses, which focuses on a very sympathetic Richard.
** Ripped off in Anne Easter Smith's ''A Rose For The Crown'', which is by no means bad but is definitely inferior to the above in every way that counts.
* Rosemary Hawley Jarman's ''We Speak No Treason'' is a long romance novel about Richard of Gloucester and [[MarySue the woman who loves him for all time]].
* The noted American playwright Maxwell Anderson wrote a little-known play called ''Richard and Anne.'' In it, the ghost of [[RichardOfGloucester Richard III]] interrupts a production of ''Theatre/RichardIII'' in order to [[{{Angst}} angst]] about his [[TheMourningAfter everlasting love]] for his wife Anne. And [[RonTheDeathEater Henry of Richmond]] shows up as a vulgar [[IncrediblyLamePun music tutor]].
* [[JohnMFord John M. Ford's]] ''The Dragon Waiting'' has a pretty sympathetic Richard III...in an AlternateHistory setting with {{Werewolves}} and [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampires]].
* A short story by Creator/CJCherryh has a young woman who's been sentenced to the Tower of London meet several of the ghosts haunting it -- including the two little princes. Edward V tells her that Richard was believed to have murdered them, but adds, "But he didn't, you know."
* [[http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=50 "Party Time with Richard III"]], an early ''[[HarkAVagrant Hark! A Vagrant]]'' comic.
* In the first ''{{Blackadder}}'' series, Richard III (played by Peter Cook) was actually a pretty good ruler who reigned for a long time (long enough for his nephew and heir, Richard, Duke of York to grow up and have fully grown children of his own) and was accidentally beheaded by his great-nephew Edmund during the Battle of Bosworth Field when he was mistaken for a horse thief. Most of his reign (and all of Richard IV's) were later {{Retcon}}ned by Henry Tudor to have never happened.
* ''Series/HorribleHistories'' gives Richard a song about how he's a nice guy who was unfairly vilified by Thomas More and William Shakespeare.
* "The Ballad of Richard III" by Gwydion Penderwenn which takes a pro-Richard stance.
* In the DCComics miniseries ''Knight and Squire'', Ricardian researchers create a clone of Richard, which [[GeneticMemory somehow has all the original's memories]]. But Richard really is a villain[[note]]In the annotations in the back, PaulCornell says the only "bad king" he feels he's being unfair to is John[[/note]] and is soon joined by other wicked kings. Together, they attempt to take over England through the power of... [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotHeinous Twitter.]]
* Alexander Tagere from the ''Literature/ArciaChronicles'' is a {{Fantasy Counterpart|Culture}} of Richard, portrayed in a very sympathetic light. His life up to the battle of the not-Bosworth Field is pretty much a word-for-word retelling of Richard's biography, transplanted into the HighFantasy setting of the series. That the author is an active Ricardian probably explains it.
* ''Literature/RichardTheThirdInTheTwentyFirstCentury'', a sci-fi duology in which a research team rescues Richard at his moment of death and brings him to the year 2004, where he must learn to adapt to a very different world than the one he left behind.
* In TV series ''The White Queen'', which is based on Philippa Gregory's ''Cousins War'' series, Richard is portrayed as a loyal supporter to his brother Edward IV.
* In the ''AnnoDracula'' series, Richard [[spoiler: is the villain of "Vampire Romance", and ''more'' of a monster than in Shakespeare]].
* Creator/GeorgeRRMartin's ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' is an EpicFantasy that is loosely based on the WarsOfTheRoses and is filled with echoes of "The Princes in the Tower" and several characters - Stannis Baratheon, Ned Stark, Theon Greyjoy - are loosely patterned or direct expies of the historical Richard, with the fan favorite Tyrion Lannister, a deformed DeadpanSnarker dwarf, matching the rhetorical splendor of Shakespeare's Richard III.