The Richard III Society Essay Prize 2023

The Richard III Society is offering a prize of £200 for the best essay on a topic relevant to

The Life and Times of Richard, duke of Gloucester, Richard III, 1452-1485

There will be second prize of £100 and a third prize of £50.

We are open to receiving entries in the format of NEAs, EPQs, IB EEs or closely similar, well-researched and referenced essays of between 3,000 and 5,000 words by a student under the age of 19 on 31st August 2023.

The broad topic may be interpreted to include discussion of questions about the political influence of contemporaneous individuals; social conditions in England in the second half of the 15th century; international relationships with European powers under either Yorkist king; marriage policies of monarchs and the nobility and so on. Other suggestions may be found within this website.

Send your essay as a pdf to essay@richardiii.net

Deadline for entries is 31st May 2023.

Include the name of your school, your History teacher and their contact email.


Feedback on the 2022 prizes.

Grateful thanks go to our judging panel of Dr Joanna Laynesmith, Reading University; Dr Gordon McKelvie, University of Winchester, and Julie Bungey a recently retired sixth form teacher.

The number of entries received was similar to last year and after careful reading, the judging panel agreed to make the following awards.

First Prize of £200 is awarded to Jake Manketo, Westminster School, for his essay:

The collapse of Richard III’s regime at Bosworth in 1485 was the consequence of his approach to kingship. To what extent is this the case?

Second Prize of £100 goes to Fatima Abras, Edgbaston High School for Girls, for her essay: To what extent does Richard III deserve his negative reputation?

Third Prize of £50 is awarded to Patrick Maxwell, St Edward’s School, Oxford, who wrote on  Richard III and foreign policy: an attempted resurrection of the Hundred Years War?

The panel’s comments on the winning essay were:

It was well-argued and interesting to read. He used a wide range of primary sources to support his views. Additionally, he referenced an extensive range of secondary historians, which also enhanced his work. I felt he was very clear about how he wanted to approach his task and deal with each factor logically and coherently, which resulted in a well-sustained analysis, argument, and a cogent conclusion.

Clear line of argument, persuasively made using secondary and primary sources effectively.

A very good essay that covers many of the key aspects of late medieval kingship. There is good engagement with a wide body of primary and secondary sources. On the secondary sources, it is good to see the student engage and evaluate the arguments rather than reading for information. In general, a good, solid essay. 

Jake writes:

I will be studying Spanish and Russian at University College, Oxford next year. I very much hope to keep up an interest in all things Ricardian while there!

I must credit my history teacher for introducing our class to Richard’s tumultuous story. Wishing to uncover more about his life led me to write my essay. 

Fatima writes:

Next year I hope to go to Queen’s College, Oxford to read Classics.

I really enjoyed studying and learning about the Wars of the Roses in my History lessons and I think that started my interest; then after reading Conn Iggulden’s Wars of the Roses series, I definitely took more of an interest in Richard himself, so I decided to do my History coursework on him and became a little obsessed! I was especially inspired by the mystery surrounding the Princes in the Tower and Richard’s treatment by Tudor propaganda.

Patrick writes:

Next year I hope to go to either Oxford or Durham universities to study Music, with a view to becoming a journalist in the future. 

My inspiration for investigating Richard III was largely the myth: I know that shelves of books have been written about certain elements of his reign, and the Olivier image has stayed in most people’s minds. Fascinating as that is, the incentive to look at his reign through a different lens and to imagine the circumstances with which he was faced from 1483. As a broader view, the idea of the historical framework within which he worked was the topic I tried to nail down, and which has given me a much greater understanding of the period.

With thanks to all the History teachers who encouraged their students to submit an essay for this prize.

The 2023 essay competition invites a broad interpretation of the same title.

Iain Farrell

Education Officer

Richard III Society