Richard III rises from grave to issue charter regarding casting of Richard Armitage!

Richard Armitage turns 40 this week. What to get the man who insists he already has everything? Answer: more work for our beloved workaholic. Since watching his work gives us so much delicious fantasy fulfillment, we thought we’d turn the tables with a fantasy present: the job that he’s most repeatedly expressed interest in doing — a retelling of the Richard III story. We’re not agents or producers, and we can’t finance this project or cast him in it or write the scripts, so we’re doing the next best thing: a week of background, context, musings, and jokes about why we’re dying to see our Richard play that Richard. Would you like to share the fantasy more actively? Sign the manifesto: Richard Armitage for Richard III! We hope you enjoy the week!

See the posts of the other contributors here.


Channeling darlingdarling here, and here, and here.


Richard III’s royal coat of arms.

RICARDUS DEI GRATIA REX FRANCIAE ET ANGLIAE ET DOMINUS HIBERNIAE greets all Christian people (as well as Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and so on, the world becoming ever more complex) to whom these presents shall come, in the name of our Lord everlasting.

Know all men by these presents, that, after our short and tumultuous reign over the kingdom of France and England, and our sad demise at Bosworth on the twenty-second day of August in the second year of our reign, for our very great sins and deep iniquities, it having pleased Almighty G-d to put our historical reputation into the hands of lousy Tudor historians who sought to calumniate us, we have suffered very great martyrdom, yea, even torture, in the hands of a hack playwright –a man with an uncertain identity– with an axe to grind for his royal patrons. And our sufferings have extended even to the actions of five centuries of court fools who have made the manifest successes of our reign over into signs of madness; lo, in the name of dramatic effect we have been made into a hunchback, a psychopath, a fascist, a lunatic, and these many years a serial killer by men who would not have been sufficient in rank to be our potboys while we yet lived. But even in the midst of our suffering, we have prayed mightily unto the blessed Lady Mary and sought the counsels and intercessions of the mighty confessor, Saint Bernard, to discover what our faults might be. Remembering daily and hourly through such devotions that all succor comes from the Lord, we have waited upon our salvation until it might be at hand, regularly doing penance as our body decayed into dust and scheming about how to get our name cleared.

The same Almighty G-d, having chosen to call forth a Richard after us; verily, on the same day of our own destruction in the four-hundred-eighty-sixth year after our reign, has sent to us a potent sign of his divine favor and forgiveness and an omen that he has weighed the slanderous stylings of the Tudor historians and that faker, Shakespeare, and found them deserving of erasure. And it seems to us that the etymological derivation of the name of this new Ricardus — Armitage — says that he will understand the lonely fate of a centuries-long monarch whom everyone loves to hate. And we have read the proclamations of the said Armitage about his interest in us, and we acknowledge that he seems to understand us and our woes. And we have looked upon the countenance of this man, and we find it likely to attract hordes of television viewers who will be convinced of the rightness of our cause because his body is like that of a young Arthur, called forth to drive back the enemies and inspire many romantic stories suitable for soap operas.

Let it therefore be known that, owing to the loyaulte that manifestly binds the said Armitage by emotions and family ties to us and our reputation, that we, the said Richard, by the authority foresaid, appoint the casting of the said Armitage in the role of our person, with all the rights and privileges, obligations and duties, thereto appertaining, including generous remuneration to be paid for from the hands of the successor monarchs of England, who are in a certain sense still profiting from our destruction and should seek to make redress lest their souls be consumed in the eternal fire, which seems like it might be imminent given the recent weather and other frightening portents such as the dip in the world financial markets.

We also grant to the same Armitage and his heirs in perpetuity the right to conduct script approval and verify the correctness of our reputation as it is presented in public.

And we charge the said Armitage to find an appropriate actress to cast as our beloved wife, Anne Neville, leaving the choice even open unto him, although we insist that it be someone with whom he experiences a strong screen chemistry, wishing at the same time to express a slight preference for the luscious Katherine Winslettius, whom we note is approximately his age and really attractive.

We further make and ordain that hereafter, and that no actor, man, or any other being, unless he be the said Armitage or one of his sufficiently handsome issue in perpetuity, shall have the right or privilege to portray us or our reign.

We command that in fulfillment of his obligation to us, said Armitage or his heirs or their assigns shall journey annually to the monument to us on the Bow Bridge, Leicester, and deliver to us an account of their activities for our approval, it being uncertain exactly what happened to our remains during the sixteenth century.

Contemplating the honor of G-d and the blessed Lady Mary with internal meditation, we adjure that for the satisfaction of these things we shall answer at the dreadful day of doom.

In witness whereof unto these presents we make our letters patent and set our seal, even this twenty-second day of the month of August, in the five-hundred-twenty-sixth year after our corporeal death, in the year of our sovereign Queen Elizabeth the Second the fifty-ninth.


Richard III’s great seal on a charter granted to Queens’ College, Cambridge.

[This is a spoof of a medieval charter, or grant of privileges or rights from a grantor to a recipient. It is the most frequent kind of historical document transmitted from the European Middle Ages, and it is one of the primary purposes of historical archives to house and preserve these. You may not think the spoof is very funny or interesting unless you spent unpleasant hours of professional training learning to transcribe and translate these, in which case you will understand the bitter hours of suffering that undergird this joke. Didn’t have the energy to write it in Latin because I am not a medievalist and, hey, my Latin sucks; as Duke of Gloucester, Richard also formulated some of his planned endowments in English. It begins with the Latin style of the monarch (in this case, “Richard by the grace of G-d king of France and England and Lord of Ireland”), states the grounds upon which the authority is vested, often makes a religious invocation or two, reproduces the grantor’s intentions, and makes a concrete enumeration and limitation of privileges granted. Late medieval charters were usually produced at the behest of petitioners or grantors, formulated or dictated by legal scholars, and written on parchment by scribes. Traditionally, in England and northern and western Europe, they became legally binding not with a signature, but with the impression of the correct seal (although signatures were emerging as a mark of validity toward the end of the fifteenth century). Above you can see a photo of the great seal of Richard III, borrowed from the pages of the Richard III Society, where Dr. John Ashdown-Hill (read an interview with him here) notes that the matrix for Richard’s great seal (the vessel used to cast it) was probably recycled from that of his brother, Edward. Richard also wrote letters and signed state papers with his own hand; you can see an example of his late royal signature below (where he signs himself as “Ricardus Rex”) and an analysis of the handwriting styles he adopted during his life here. In case you’re worried about the validity of the charter above: charters are only valid if they come from the person that they purport to be from; however,  medieval endowments created by charter persisted for centuries and some are still in operation throughout Europe.]

Richard III’s signature (1485)


Happy Birthday month Richard Armitage! In honor of this event, consider donating your time, energy, and thoughts / prayers to an effort that’s meaningful to you. If you need a suggestion, here’s a link to Mr. Armitage’s recommended charities at JustGiving, as well as a link to means of generating a charity contribution on his behalf at, and a link to Act!onAid, a child sponsorship organization for which he recorded a voiceover in December 2010. Donate to Christchurch Earthquake Appeal here.

~ by Servetus on August 27, 2011.

28 Responses to “Richard III rises from grave to issue charter regarding casting of Richard Armitage!”

  1. I love a good history lesson and I surely do believe that the original R III would heartily approve the casting of our Admirable Adonis with the Plantagenet Nose to play him as he should be played (certainly NOT the way the Brown-Nosing Faker wrote him) . . . and I really like his idea about Kate Winslet.

    Another brilliant entry. 😀


  2. Love this…made me chuckle. I sincerely hope we get to see RA as Richard III one day. I have grown up with the history of the Battle of Bosworth having grown up nearby and attended school in Market Bosworth itself. I was at school there during the 500 year anniversary of the battle in 1985. I now wish I’d paid more attention in class 🙂


    • If you live in the middle of a historical site it’s probably less interesting to you at the time, huh? I spent one summer living in a house of historic significance in Erfurt. It got a bit old to emerge from the house and see a group of tourists staring at me.


  3. Verily, I could find no fault with it. Tis truly a legal and binding charter.
    – judiangitus, High Chamberlain and Legal Lackey 😉


  4. King Richard himself supports Mr. Armitage. What a great charter he issued and I am glad to hear, that he comfortably sits in heaven and now has good support among the saints. That bodes very well for the filming project.
    How authentic, Servetus, even with seal and signature ;o)
    To compare RA with a young Arthur, how brilliant !!! I absolutely love King Richard’s charter and know how he must have struggled after all the years since his reign to issue one. Good that he did not use Medieval Latin, I would have greatly struggled to understand his charter ;o)


  5. In faith, His Grace the King’s proclamation is a revelation, for the dissemination of which by your goodself, I do humbly thank you.

    In faith, His Grace has languished long and has stuggled valiantly, waiting upon his salvation, for he has been greatly taxed with the wrongful blackening of his name.

    “And we have looked upon the countenance of this man, and we find it likely to attract hordes of television viewers who will be convinced of the rightness of our cause.” Marry, was ever truer word spoken?

    Servetus you are a genius, another brilliant contribution.


  6. Truely well said, Your Majesty-


  7. Reader issues forth great guffaw of spontaneous laughter causing tea to be sputtered over screen and keyboard. Desperate attempts insue to hide evidence before true owner of said artifact finds out…

    So glad I got out of bed this morning after all…

    Love the ‘in character’ responses.

    …and if that agent of his was worth his salt then THIS is the kind of thing he should be passing along to HRH… I can picture one of his genuine hand-clapping laughs right about now! (Similar reaction to Ex-Dwarf ‘editorial’.)


    • Whoops – too busy laughing and mopping up to spell “ensue” correctly!
      Also a bit harsh on hard-working agent though I remain a bit underwhelmed at moments of the CA premiere that may have fallen under his job description


    • hope your laptop is okay. A lot of us have problems with the spitting coffee thing 🙂

      Actually I’m a bit weirded out that Richard Armitage would read this stuff. I think most of the bloggers are. We try not to think about it.


  8. What a tremendous royal document for the Ricardus Armitage archives.

    A man with an uncertain identity – true that.

    Love the Katherine Winslettius casting idea.

    I am pleased that the RIII project is now sanctioned by the king himself. Now Armitage just needs to find some gold and I hope that someone in Middle-Earth will point him to the right mountain.


    • Richard III was slightly impecunious, but not as bad as the Tudors. It is unfortunate that he pushed payment off on the Mountbatten-Windsors.


  9. How wonderful of Richard III to come back from the ” the undiscovered country, from whoe bourn no traveller returns.” to quote that cursed playwright, and join King Richard Week.


    • I thought it was kind of him, too. Of course, he does have a vested interest. And one imagines he would come back to curse the wroong actor (Jack Black?)


  10. […] that Richard III has settled definitely the question of who should play him in any franchise reboot, we need to move on to the question of which actress is best suited to play Anne Neville, […]


  11. servetus, truly an amazing amount of work and research in contacting Richard III and obtaining this charter! Congratulations!

    While one would never question the King, I wish to point out in Para. VII of his charter where it states “that no actor, man, or any other being, unless he be the said Armitage or one of his sufficiently handsome issue in perpetuity, shall have the right or privilege to portray us or our reign,” It begged the question if an such man or being existed.

    Be it known that a letter received from The Linnean Society of London confirms, after exstensive research of the principles of great scientists/theoriests such as Anaximader, Maupertuis, Darwin and Mendel among others, in their expert opinion “another man or other being of sufficiently handsome issue and perpetuity” is with utmost certainty scientifically improbable.


    • Thanks for the comment, Carolyn, and welcome.

      You don’t think Mr. Armitage might have handsome offspring?


  12. Without doubt! 🙂 And that would likely be covered under the charter as “Armitage and said heirs.” I believe the study that was conducted was looking at the probablilty outside of the Armitage line. 😉


    • We could say, “all the more reason to make sure Armitage gets the role,” since the charter precludes anyone else from redressing the wrongs in the Richard III story 🙂




  14. […] on Richard Armitage’s best Anne Neville. Sadly for the actual King Richard, Kate Winslet looks like a non-starter, at least if we’re casting! Armitage’s own actress he’d most like to play a scene […]


  15. […] I heard you tried to issue a charter,” I say. “But nothing’s come of it.” I try to shut him up by […]


  16. […] be able to keep up with Richard Armitage very easily. They’ll be able to talk about when Mr. Armitage is going to be able to fulfill the terms of the charter and keep each other up-to-date about what’s going on with regard to Richard III’s […]


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