This Day in History: 1484-05-03

On 3rd May 1484 Richard III asked Niclas Von Popplau to join him at mass at a nearby church in York. Popplau, who on the previous day had discussed with Richard  the ‘stronghold castle ……. called in Latin pons fractus’,  wrote that he would hear ‘the most delightful music that I heard in all my life … with voices compared to angels’. Richard had had a tent erected near the church and this is interesting for the fact that it is one of the few insights we get to see the majesty of Richard’s court during his short reign. Popplau was struck by the lavish nature of the tent – ‘I saw the king’s bed covered in red velvet and a cloth of gold. And in the king’s tent there was also a table covered all around with cloths of silk embroidered with gold set up next to the bed”. At the king’s table, where Richard wore a collar of gold with many pearls the ‘size of peas’, were Richard’s princes and lords. According to Popplau, Richard continually talked to him and hardly ate, asking him about His Imperial Majesty (Frederick III) and the kings and princes of the empire. Popplau’s account of Richard’s court at York shows a king who was kind, learned and very passionate about events and people, a stark contrast to the Richard portrayed by Shakespeare.