Crown Your King

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Richard III

Richard III was King of England from 1483 until his death in 1485, at the age of 32, at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last Plantagenet King of England.

Popularity in England - 5

Although Richard was proven to be a good soldier and had strong support in the North of England, his popularity was fading by the time of Bosworth, with many of his brother's former supporters now lending help to Henry Tudor. The uncertain fate of his nephews during his rise to the throne did not help his public image.

Army Size - 10000

The exact numbers of the armies at Bosworth is debated as the writers of the time give conflicting reports, but many believe that Richard's army numbered around 10,000.

Military prowess - 8

Richard successfully commanded the vanguard (right flank) in two battles prior to Bosworth.

Battle Tactics at Bosworth - 3

He would have read the military manuals of the day, but his enemies at Bosworth appear to have had stronger tactics, which restricted Richard's options on the day. This restriction, combined with the lack of support from some of his supporters led Richard to make some unusual tactical decisions, such as the final charge against Henry.

Casualties Sustained at Bosworth - 1000

Polydor Virgil, who wrote the first official history of the Battle, tells us that 1100 men were slain, only 100 of which were on Henry's side. It was common for a defeated army to lose far more men than the victors and many were killed in the rout as the soldiers fled the field.

After the Battle of Bosworth - 0

King Richard was killed in the Battle.

Financial Governance - 6

Having inherited a pretty much empty Royal Treasury following years of civil war and lavish spending by his brother Edward, Richard’s short reign could not have much impact on reviving the economy, but Richard understood the need for strong domestic trade. He banned certain foreign imports and ensured that foreign merchants always left with English goods on board.

Foreign Policy - 4

Richard and his brother both had a difficult relationship with France. Under Edward’s reign Richard had been keen to take back some of the French lands and was disappointed when his brother accepted a payoff by the French. Richard also supported a pretensided with Brittany in their own quarrel with France, with the exiled Henry Tudor used as a bargaining piece between Richard and the Duke of Brittany. Richard also supported a pretender to the Scottish throne, resulting in Scottish royal support for Henry Tudor. Ultimately, the king of France paid for Henry’s Bosworth campaign to secure a friendly English King.


Henry VII

Henry VII was King of England and the Principality of Wales and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509.

Popularity in England - 5

Prior to Bosworth Henry was charismatic enough to recruit many soldiers to his cause. As King he was by no means popular due to his swift and tight control of the nobility and gentry. He did however shrewdly and systematically refill the Royal Coffers to make the country solvent again.

Army Size - 5000

Henry's army had a hard core of French paid mercenaries, who seem to have fought as a slightly separate unit. The rest of his army was made up of former Yorkist supporters and a few dyed in the wool Lancastrian supporters, including his commander, the Earl of Oxford. His army was said to be half the size of Richard's.

Military prowess - 4

Before Bosworth, Henry Tudor did not have any military experience. He did, however, have John de Vere, the Earl of Oxford and other capable commanders to bring him military success. He is said by sympathetic chroniclers to have surprised even his own soldiers in his energetic defence against Richard’s charge at Bosworth.

Battle Tactics at Bosworth - 8

Given Henry's lack of battle experience, the Earl of Oxford commanded his army at Bosworth (and again at Stoke Field). Henry's French mercenaries are likely to have had modern Continental tactics, which may have led to Norfolk's defeat. The decisive positioning at Bosworth was the tactical side line positioning of the Stanley army, which potentially threatened the flanks of both Richard's and Henry's forces. This arrangement may have been agreed with Henry in advance.

Casualties Sustained at Bosworth - 100

Although many more men would have been injured, the official report of Polydor Virgil mentions that 100 of Henry's men were killed in the fighting. Some of these would have died in the clash against the Duke of Norfolk, while others were killed during Richard's charge against Henry.

After the Battle of Bosworth - 10

Henry was unofficially crowned King of England at Stoke Golding immediately after the Battle and was officially crowned at Westminster Abbey on 30th October 1485.

Financial Governance - 10

Through very careful personal scrutiny of all the royal accounts, the country’s import and export markets, avoiding expensive foreign wars and by levying heavy fines on those who offended him, Henry managed to refill the treasury of England.

Foreign Policy - 9

Henry arranged marriages among his family to many of the royal families of Europe and employed careful tactics to avoid hugely expensive foreign wars. Under Henry’s patronage John Cabot set off to find a passage to China, instead landing in North America in 1497, starting England’s period of world exploration.

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