Just when you thought it was safe to form an opinion...

I have long been interested in the conflict commonly referred to as The Wars of the Roses and I am currently reading a book focusing on George Duke of Clarence, brother to Edward IV and Richard III. (The Third Plantagenet: George, Duke of Clarence - John Ashdown-Hill)

I am aware that the term The Wars of the Roses was only adopted to describe the conflict several centuries after it occurred. I am also aware that the emblems of the white rose for the house of York and the red rose for the house of Lancaster have gained popularity or been assigned after the event; the white rose was utilised by the house of York however the red rose is not utilised by the house of Lancaster until the reign of Henry VII during the Tudor period, some years after the end of the conflict. 

The introduction to this book alone though has provided further, significant insight into the subject and thrown into turmoil my assessment of the right and wrong of the conflict. As an example the author indicates that it would be more appropriate to refer to the conflict occurring between the houses of Lancaster and Clarence given the details of claims to the throne as made by Richard II 's heir presumptive, and Henry IV who ultimately deposed Richard II and took the crown for himself. 

Since I first started reading about The Wars of the Roses several years ago I have found it necessary to make a decision as to who was right and pick aside with which to align my support. It has been suggested to me that this is inappropriate and virtually impossible, and that entire families were divided and split by the conflict however, it still felt natural to do so and I have pursued that course of action throughout my reading.

This current book has already revealed to me detailed information with regard to rights of ascension to the throne that I either failed to glean from my previous readings, or that were not provided in sufficient detail. This last statement has not been made as a criticism and I would indeed need to re-read the books to confirm whether the information was made readily available.

One thing I have found through reading history books is that the sheer volume of facts and confusing family lines in each book make it very difficult to digest the full story and I quite often find I need to re-read and actually study the books making my own notes. There have been several instances where I have read multiple books with regard to one character in history, constantly finding out new information or revisiting information I have already read, in order to form a solid opinion.

As such before I have even reached the main subject matter of my current book I find my brain filled with new thoughts and questions with regard to this conflict. I still feel the need to pick aside, although this may ultimately be impossible, but I have already begun to question my previous conclusion.

I would be very interested to know what your thoughts are on the subject and if you feel one side has greater and more valid claim than the other. 


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