Richard III

at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock

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'Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York.'

Of particular significance to the historic city of York, Shakespeare’s Richard III has contributed influentially to Richard’s reputation as one of the most colourful villains in British history. Shakespeare portrays Richard as more intelligent and more engaging than any other character in the play - a gleeful and treacherous villain murdering his way mercilessly to the crown before facing his own demons the night before the Battle of Bosworth.

The Duke of Gloucester (the future Richard III) has his eyes firmly fixed on the crown, and will stop at nothing to achieve his aim. He conducts a strikingly audacious love suit – wooing the woman whose husband and father-in- law he has murdered - and one by one eliminates the obstacles that stand between him and the throne. Having arranged to have his two young nephews murdered in the Tower of London, he is finally crowned King.

But his tyranny does not go unopposed. The Earl of Richmond arrives from France to challenge him at Bosworth Field. The night before the battle, the ghosts of all Richard’s victims appear to him in a dream, cursing him and praying for Richmond to be victorious. The following morning Richard is killed, and Richmond assumes the throne, promising a new era of peace for England by uniting the warring Houses of Lancaster and York into the new Tudor dynasty.

Blenheim Palace

  • Woodstock
  • OX20 1PP