Shakespeare in his day was a poet with a living to make he certainly wasn't considered a historian by the people around him he was simply writing what Elizabethan theatre goers wanted to hear and see. The Elizabethans liked their
"villains to be villainous," the audience had a "constant demand for a really bloody gangster play just as today there is a similar demand for a sadistic gangster film. Shakespeare's Richard is nothing but a royal gangster who had been
presented to him ready made by Tudor chroniclers"
said V E Lamb writing in 1959
Shakespeare wasn't concerned with historical accuracies, he just made the facts fit his plays. In The Betrayal of Richard III it is suggested that it was of no consequence to Shakespeare that he presents Richard as a monster, a grown man who was "reveling in the bloodshed at the Battle of Towton" when in fact he was an eight year old exiled in Utrecht, or that he makes Margaret of Anjou wander around the Palace of Westminster in 1483 foretelling Richards downfall when she actually had been in France since 1475. None of these were actual facts, Shakespeare simply used what he knew to make his plays more exciting. After all we have seen it done today, you have only got to watch any television series or film to see that. Shakespeare portrayed Richard III as the villain his public loved to hate, a murderous, lying, ruthless hunchbacked king.
I read recently that the English take their religion from Milton and their history from Shakespeare how true is that. Not only have I fallen into that trap, but many accredited historians have done the same such as James Gairdner, a British historian who studied the early Tudor period relating to Richard III, Henry VII and Henry VIII. As an introduction to his work entitled Lancaster and York he writes
"For the period of English history treated in this volume we are fortunate in possessing an unrivalled interpreter in our great dramatic poet Shakespeare. A regular sequence of historical plays exhibits to us not only the general character of each successive reign but nearly the whole chain of leading events from the days of Richard II to the death of Richard III at
Bosworth. Following the guidance of such a master mind we realise for ourselves the men and actions of the period in a
way we cannot do in any other epoch"