RICHARD III, the man and myth, will be investigated as part of a year-long celebration of one of England’s most controversial medieval kings.

A series of events spanning 12 months will endeavour to shed light on the life and reign of Richard III, inspired by the level of public interest in the last Yorkist king since the discovery of his remains last year.

The Richard III: Rumour And Reality project will be led by archaeologists, historians and curators, and will probe York’s documentary evidence, artefacts and buildings which Richard visited, to celebrate the Plantagenet monarch’s connections and relationship with the city and county.

He played an important role in the history of Yorkshire and its capital. He was courted by The Lord Mayor and council of the day and his visits to York were celebrated with great pomp. Following his death in 1485, his legacy has been hotly disputed, and the project will investigate the fiction and truth, and bring to life that period of cultural change.

Alongside summer events, the first six months will be dominated by academic research into the myth and legend surrounding Richard, while activities in 2014 will reveal the truths of his reign and relationship with the city.

Residents and visitors will be invited to take part in these events which will be led by organisations including City of York Council, the University of York, York Minster, York Museum’s Trust, York Archaeological Trust, Richard III Museum, English Heritage, Richard III Society and York Theatre Royal.

Coun Sonja Crisp, the council’s cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “The discovery of Richard III’s remains last year sparked extraordinary levels of public interest in the king. From classrooms to kitchens, people all across the city, county and country were talking about him: who he was, what he did, where he went. We want these conversations to continue and be part of the legacy of Richard’s discovery.”

“So, we thought, why not couple this surge of interest to the abundance of knowledge and source material we hold in this city? Why not build on existing understanding, share it more widely and keep the conversations going? And so this programme of events – we believe it’s the first of its kind.”

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