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    The winter of our discontent turns out not so bad after all

    This week the Internet exploded with the news that the remains found in Leicester were positively identified as belonging to Richard III, one of the most maligned monarchs in English history. The Tudor's propaganda machine was so incredibly effective - if you had the likes of Shakespeare writing for you, your propaganda machine might be top-notch too - that to this day the popular feelings against Richard III are probably surpassed only by the popular feelings against King John Lackland (because, as it turns out, nothing ever really tops losing half of France). But it speaks to the spirit of the age that nothing reforms a historical character faster than the sheer novelty of digging him out from under a parking lot. This does present us with a great opportunity to delve into this fascinating period of English history, so here are a few places you might want to visit to get the scoop on dear old Rick.

    The Tower of London, London - When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. No one knows that better than Princes Edward and Richard of York, who mysteriously disappeared while living in the Tower of London, during Richard III's early reign. More ink has run over this 'who dunnit' saga than over any other mystery in English history and no definitive answers were ever found, but Rick III remains as likely a suspect as ever. Despite its gory history - or maybe because of it - the Tower of London is one of the most popular tourist spots in the UK, and its attractions include not only the Crown Jewels, but also the alleged ghosts of some of the Tower's most famous inmates, such as the Princes in the Tower, Jane Grey and Anne Boleyn.

    The Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, Leicester - King Richard was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth, and while he may not actually have shouted 'A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!', he lost his kingdom all the same and with not even a palfrey to show for it. The exact location of Bosworth Field where the battle took place is not known, though several hypothesis exist. The Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre in Leicester is one of the best places to go to if you want to know more about not just the battle itself, but also the general background of the War of the Roses (which, by the way, inspired George R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, which was later turned into HBO's A Game of Thrones. Don't you just love history?

    Westminster Abbey, London - While Leicester Cathedral is one of the smallest cathedrals in the UK, Westminster Abbey is probably one of its largest abbeys. Richard III was crowned in Westminster Abbey, like all the kings and queens of England before and after him. The Abbey, as it turns out, would also be the final resting place of one of Richard's most famous detractors, a man who proved beyond a doubt that the pen is mightier than the sword. Shakespeare's depiction of the last Plantagenet king overtook historical accuracy to become the ultimate description of Richard III, a man bent on becoming a villain since he could not be a hero. Much like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey is also one of London's most popular attractions, and people come from all over the UK and the world to visit what is one of the most emblematic symbols of the English monarchy.

    Middleham Castle and York Minster, York - Richard grew up in Middleham Castle, which belonged to Richard Neville, whose efforts to place both Richard and his older brother Edward on the throne earned him the nickname 'Kingmaker'. Only ruins remain of the castle, but it is still well worth a visit, particularly for those who enjoy the open air and the soothing landscape of the English countryside. Middleham Castle is close to York, and Richard had strong ties to the city, who championed his cause during his short reign. Richard was so fond of York - the city was the seat of his House - that he even planned to be buried at York Minster. This was a particularly bold ambition when you consider that the traditional burial place for English monarchs was, even then, Westminster Abbey.I hope you found this article interesting.

    As always, you are welcome to leave your comments or questions in the comments section below, or come pay us a visit on Facebook or Twitter ;)

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