David Hipshon outlines the career of the most controversial king ever to have occupied the English throne.
Condemned to suffer the notoriety heaped upon him by the Tudor propaganda machine and the brilliance of Shakespeare, Richard III has been remembered for centuries as the evil hunchback who murdered the Princes in the Tower. Societies dedicated to revising his reputation have sought to overturn the traditional view and he now has many champions prepared to swear he was a saint. The lack of reliable evidence will always leave room for a wide spectrum of speculation and belief, but it is nevertheless possible to step beyond the mystery of the fate of the princes and consider more fundamental historical questions. One important issue is whether the kingdom and the institutions of government benefited from his usurpation and rule, both in the short and the long term.