The King in the Carpark Video & A Voice from the Past


In case you are like me and you didn’t get to see the Channel Four documentary, “The King in the Car Park,” here it is on YouTube. Thanks to @Sinjoor for the heads up at Twitter!

I am downloading it, as it takes forever for anything over a few minutes to buffer here on my Not-So-High Speed connection, so I have only seen the first couple of minutes. Should make for fascinating viewing!

Now we know what the King looked like. But how might he have sounded?

When reading the second book in Deborah Harkness‘s “All Souls” trilogy (the series that feature the Matthew Clairmont character many are clamoring for RA to play) I was struck with just how difficult it would actually be to go back in time and communicate with people who lived centuries before you–even if you did ostensibly speak the same language.  The heroine is a 21st century scholar who believes she will be able to fit into Elizabethan society pretty effortlessly.
It’s not quite as easy as she thinks, from her size (as tall as most men of the day, if not taller) and the way she moves to the way she sounds (no one can understand her strange accent).   If you want a sampling of what scholars believe Richard III speaking the King’s (15th century) English would sound like, scroll down through this post linked below until you get to the 1:10 second Telegraph video. I tried to embed it but it kept disappearing on me. Sounds a bit Scottish, doesn’t he?

About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

40 responses »

  1. Thanks for the info! I can’t wait to take a look at this – seems like I’ve been putting out fires all day, and mother nature has a beef with my Wednesday evening class – snowing again – I could use a little RA related therapy! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the link Angie! I just watched the whole thing and was totally fascinated by it. I actually found myself becoming very emotional at times as I watched it. I can see why Philippa became quite overcome at times. Who could blame her!

  3. OMG!!! Thank you so much for this. I have ben following every discussion, messge board and news releases on this and now i can see it for myself. I find this story so amazing and facinating. Bless you from Memphis, TN. Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 20:31:31 +0000

  4. I felt very sad close to the end when they were discussing RIII’s battle wounds as they surrounded the table where his bones were spread out. I couldn’t help imagining those last few moments of his life and how brutal they were. Of course, it was a brutal age. But it does sound as if he was a valiant warrior and he fought right up to the end. Also clear now there was no hunchback but a sideways curvature that would have only meant an elevated shoulder and could have been hidden under clothes. And NO withered arm.

    Some people at Twitter complained there was too much of a reality show feel to it and not enough hard science, but this was made for a general audience’s consumption. I think you have to take that into account.

    • I’ve no doubt the hard-science stuff will appear in Nature and other refereed journals. I had no objection to the tone and level of the program, which was, after all, geared to a general audience.

      Of course it was a brutal age; look at what is done to people in war zones even now. However, the gratuitous viciousness of the multiple head wounds and the way they must have been inflicted *shudder* — it was one thing to be fighting as a yeoman, archer, pikeman, or foot soldier, but another to be mounted, heavy cavalry style, leading from the front, and attacking and defending face-to-face. It would not surprise me to learn that Richard III’s horse was killed to force the king to the ground, where he was attacked from the rear. To thrust a misericord into his brain then was just foul, not the coup de gras the weapon was meant for.

  5. I’ve recorded it and I can’t wait to watch it – hopefully tonight if I can get my 2 cherubs into bed on time!
    I’ve been looking for a really good book to read – do you recommend the All Souls Trilogy?

    • She’s only published two of the books thus far—saw a post on her website recently where she said her muse couldn’t be rushed, or something to that effect—but yeah, I enjoyed them. There are certainly a large # of ppl who want to see RA play the lead role in a film version of “A Discovery of Witches,” the first book. The hero, Matthew Clairmont, is a very old vampire (but he looks Richard’s age since that’s when he was made) and the description is very like RA down to the height, the hypnotic eyes and aquiline nose. (Think Lucas with a bit of Harry’s floppy fringe). He’s a professor/physician, so brainy and he does yoga . . . I think I enjoyed the first book more than the second one, but I am interested to see how everything plays out in the final installment.

      And something else you might enjoy are the Lady Julia/Nicholas Brisbane period mysteries by Deanna Raybourn. Nicholas is an inquiry agent, half gypsy, half Scot and other than the black eyes and swarthy skin, some of the descriptions sound so much like RA . . . and he’s mysterious and enigmatic and plays the violin beautifully. Imagine RA’s long fingers at work. Lady Julia is also a very spirited heroine with a mind of her own, in spite of being a female in the Victorian era. And her family is wonderfully eccentric.

      • May I say, Bechep, that I second the Deanna Raybourn recommendation! I was introduced to them by fedoralady and have all of them. I always Imagine Richard as Nicholas Brisbane while I’m reading! I’m actually re-reading them for about the third or fourth time and without giving the stories away, let me say that her descriptions of them together are quite delicious! 😉 *sigh*

      • They sound right up my alley!! I will definatley get the Deanna Raybourn ones – thanks for the recommendations ladies. It always helps to have a picture of a character in your mind when reading and RA is definately an inspiring picture to have!

        • It’s not as light as the ones recommended thus far, but have you read ” Wolf Hall” by H. Mantel? I found it riveting (once I got past a thing she does with pronouns). I can’t wait to read “Bringing up the Bodies”, her next novel. The RSC is adapting them for stage and I believe the BBC is producing mini-series.

  6. Thank you very much for this link! I really enjoyed watching it. I got several phone calls while I was watching and had to pause so I wouldn’t miss a thing! I got very emotional as well. He had a horrible end! I thought that it was incredible that they found him on the first go around! It was as if someone was pointing Phillipa in the right direction! She was so upset when she saw he really had a curvature! It could disprove all the theories that they’d lied about his true nature! But it was great to see that it was undetectable with his clothing on! I really hope he didn’t kill his nephews. I’ve read historical fiction where it was speculated that his wife or another of his supporters ordered it done behind his back because they new he wouldn’t do it. He also would never be secure on the throne with the boys alive. But if that was the case, it backfired and made him seem like a monster! It’s such an interesting story made even more so by recent events!

    • I believe Richard III could have been secure on the throne with the boys alive, but there were others who coveted the crown who, if they could dislodge Richard III and destroy the boys, would have a chance at the throne. Henry Stafford for one had a stronger claim than Henry Tudor.

      Suppose the boys died of natural causes, but a false friend concealed the information from Richard III. Richard III would be made to look the villain when the tale came out, wouldn’t he, even though he had no reason to harm his nephews?

        • Especially because there’s no evidence of the identity of the two skeletons found in the Tower in 1647, even if modern forensic examination could give us carbon dating and cause of death. To try to get a mitochondrial DNA match, you’d have to get permits to exhume the skeletons (unlikely to be granted) and then trace the maternal Woodville line to get a subject for comparison. After all that, the remains might not be those of Edward IV’s sons.

            • But if it’s now accepted and certain that the skeleton in the carpark is RIII, then he is the princes’ uncle. If they could link the skeletons in the Tower with the skeleton in the carpark using Y chromosome DNA, which follows the male line rather than the female line as mitochondrial DNA does, they might be able to show that they were related – which would provide at least a strong probability that those were the Princes.
              It still would not show the cause of death, unless it was something like stabbing which left cuts on the bones. A natural cause like a fever would be indistinguishable from a murder by, for instance, suffocation. And if it was a murder it would not show who did it.

              • Yes, they may be able to tie them to RIII through DNA, assuming they were able to exhume the bones, but it does seem unlikely we’ll discover how they died and “whodunit.”

              • Yes, the whodunit is likely to remain a mystery. One fanfic author suggested Margaret Beaufort; she did have motive and opportunity.

              • If I were writing the screenplay, I would have Margaret Beaufort instigate the murder, to discredit Richard and clear her son Henry Tudor’s path to the throne. But I don’t know if there’s any historical justification for it.

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