When British archeologists announced they identified remains as those of King Richard III last week, it brought a host of questions and an awesome opportunity for downtown Fairfield.
KR3, as he was likely known by his followers, allegedly died in 1485 – about a century before Shakespeare famously quoting him as saying, “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” in “The Tragedy of King Richard the Third.” Shakespeare pointed out Fairfield’s role in KR3’s life, too – but more on that later.
The king was buried under a city parking lot in Leicester, England (perhaps the parking lot of a Ye Olde Sayfe-way grocery store) and his bones were recently exhumed. DNA testing all but cinched that it was indeed KR3.
KR3’s alleged death ended the Wars of the Roses, which was not nearly as bad as the 1989 Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas film by a similar name. He was killed in battle and his nude body was exposed to the people of Leicester to prove the battle was won by the future King Henry VII and the House of Lancaster.
There were plenty of other details released last week about the king’s body, including how his wounds were consistent with the reported wounds to KR3 and that his DNA matched a skeleton of a Canadian-born furniture maker known to be a direct descendent of KR3’s sister, Anne of York.
Shakespeare plays a major role in the legacy of KR3, portraying the king as “deformed” and “unfinished” before subtly pointing toward Fairfield in “The Tragedy of King Richard the Third.”
Supporters of KR3 have long complained that Shakespeare’s portrayal was “propaganda,” inspired by the House of Tudor, which traces its history to Henry VII.
And the controversy continues: Leicester and York are in a spat over who gets to be the next city that keeps his bones. He allegedly died in Leicester, but his strongest ties were to York – and wherever his body is stored will likely become a tourist spot, where people will visit from around the kingdom. Crafty business leaders will make a healthy profit, selling KR3 T-shirts, ashtrays and snow globes.
But they shouldn’t be alone.
Fairfield should jump into the fray – with good reason. And if you don’t believe me, listen to Shakespeare, because it’s obvious that KR3 visited here between his presumed death during the Wars of the Roses and his actual death.
Don’t believe it? Consider this: In the final scene of Shakespeare’s play – Act V, Scene IV – Sir William Catesby prefaces the “My kingdom for a horse” line by telling the king, “Rescue fair lord or the day is lost.” And the scene takes place in “another part of the field,” according to Shakespeare.
“Fair” lord? In the field? Fair? Field? Fairfield?
Might KR3 have staged his death, traveled with Christopher Columbus in 1492 and made his way to the West Coast for a visit? Is it possible that he lived on Texas Street, between Math Masters and Gordon’s Music and Sound, where you can purchase a trumpet (an opponent to the Tudors who lived between a tutor and a tooter?).
Isn’t it obvious? Shakespeare was trying to tell us that KR3 actually died on Texas Street. Then his remains were carried back to England, where he was buried under a parking lot.
It’s time that downtown Fairfield lay claim to KR3’s bones, start printing postcards, making souvenir tea sets and ordering bobble-head dolls to sell to the eager public. It’s the least we can do for the king who (probably) died here.
If you don’t think so, tell Shakespeare, not me. It’s so obvious!
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.