Royal signatures – from Richard II (via #RichardIII) to Elizabeth II

Today I came across this lovely image on Facebook, courtesy of a page called Medieval Merriment. It shows the signatures of monarchs from the fourteenth to the twentieth/twenty-first century.


Now, what did this remind me of….  Just a brief moment in April/May 1483, when two young boys rode together in the spring sunshine…
“On the morning that we rode to St Albans, Edward told me of an incident the evening before. Duke Richard had been urging him to practise his new royal signature, and to encourage him, had neatly signed his own name on a scrap of parchment, topping it with his motto.
‘Loyaulté me lie,’ I said promptly. ‘Loyalty binds me.’
‘I know,’ said Edward. ‘He wants me to choose a motto too, though I haven’t any idea for one yet. He says every nobleman should have one, and especially the King….'” 

If you know the story of King Richard III well, you’ll recognize the scrap of parchment as one that still survives, bearing the signatures of not only Richard (as Duke of Gloucester) and Edward V (as he then was), but also their cousin Henry, Duke of Buckingham (with the two Dukes’ mottoes also emblazoned on it). This scrap appears again, much later in the book The King’s Man, at a crucial moment for our young protagonists.

Richad III sig

How does such a small scrap of parchment survive for more than 500 years? Maybe Matthew Wansford, who hastily ‘tucks the parchment scrap into his pouch’ during their ride (or perhaps someone like him), did have a hand in it….

Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Manand a third in the sequence, King in Waiting, which continues the adventures of the young members of the Order in the following years. A fourth book, Sons of York, is due out in 2022.

Alex is also editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by King Richard, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK).

Alex has also published a standalone timeslip novel for readers aged 10+, Time out of Time, relating the adventures of Allie Turner through a doorway into history found under layers of old wallpaper at ancient Priory Farm.

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:

My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor


About alexmarchantblog

A Ricardian since a teenager, and following stints as an archaeologist and in publishing, Alex now lives and works in King Richard’s own country, not far from his beloved York and Middleham
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