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Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Although (or because) I have a deep interest in Richard III the latest shindigs in Leicester were not at all to my liking. This circus makes me almost wish we had never found his body.

The obvious place for his final resting place would have been York Minster and the internment should have been a dignified and quiet one. Having been paraded around the streets of Leicester his coffin is now to be interred in Leicester "Cathedral" - once a parish church smaller than many town churches I know.

However, no doubt the town (hardly a city) worthies are already counting the income generated  (they are hoping for £150 million a year) 

An article in the "Telegraph" just about sums it up:

"To judge by the brouhaha, the reinterment of Richard III is the most exciting thing to have happened in Leicester since the king’s death at the nearby Battle of Bosworth over 500 years ago.

The Plantagenet monarch, whose remains were discovered under a Leicester city car park in 2013, will be reburied in Leicester cathedral on Thursday.

The reinterment is a big deal for Leicester, which – to put it politely – has never been much of a honeypot for tourists. Tickets for the service have sold out, but it will be shown live on Channel 4 and on two large screens in the city centre. Visitors can also get a glimpse of Richard’s coffin in the cathedral from Monday to Wednesday.

As if to shore itself up for the next 500 years, Leicester and its surrounding villages have gone all out to make the most of Richard’s last hurrah, with a week-long programme of city, castle and battlefield tours, talks, church services and an art show. A local escort agency, Midland Belles, has even cashed in by offering people the chance to visit the reinterment with one of its “educated and beautiful” team.

All of which has caused howls of disapproval from those who feel that the royal remains deserve more respect and should have been left in peace under the car park. Not to mention the Yorkists who want Richard to be buried in their city, or the lobby calling for a state funeral and burial in Westminster Abbey.
Despite this, there will be no halting the pomp and circumstance in Leicester next week.


Anonymous said...

After Richard's death at Bosworth, his back was broken and his naked body flung over a pack horse to be paraded through the city. This present day 'circus' to reinter his remains and garner the cash therein, could be seen as history repeating itself!

Daughter x

Lucy said...

I must say it all seemed most bizarre and baffling, goes to show if you hype anything enough people will buy it, and queue for hours to do so.

We watched the programme the night before about who did murder the princes, with various historians arguing for and against and blathering an awful lot about nothing, and concluded the one theory no one had given sufficient credence to was the most likely, that David Starkey went back in time and did it himself. We also wondered if when they lugged him back to Bosworth Field they might find a horse to give him at last...

On this side of the Channel they take a rather more low-key approach to the mortal remains of long dead kings, this is an odd tale:


Thanks for your last comment on mine, I've left you a response.

Tom said...

They (the 'authorities') were recommending that the public should not queue to see the box carrying the bones of Richard III, because there was already a FOUR HOUR queue waiting. Now really! What were the crowds expecting to see?

And the parading of the coffin, if the box really deserves such a description, around the various places associated with the king, left me speechless. Do the Army and the Church have nothing better to do with their time and taxpayers' money? Call me a cynical spoilsport, but I do wonder how many of the onlooking crowd actually have any genuine interest in the history of the period.

It seems to be so typical of the Church, that they are more interested in the pomp and circumstance of the material world, than they are of a genuine seeking of the spiritual dimension of mankind. In Richard's case, that aspect of his being is long gone. Still, it all helps to fill some otherwise, seemingly empty lives I suppose.

Avus said...

Lucy & Tom

You are kindred spirits! The "princes" programme was really dire. I loved your "Starkey" comment and the "Henri IV" is really bizarre.

As to the Church, Tom, I think if Christ were to turn up at such a do they wouldn't let him in!

Roderick Robinson said...

I suppose I'm a Yorkist, but only a lapsed Yorkist. It's not a status I'm proud of and that's why I renounced my birthright. A joke, of course, since there was no recognised ceremony; but if I didn't make it clear at the time let me do so now. For some years I've wanted shut of that collection of mealy-mouthed, narrow-gutted, pathetically self-conscious, prating, under-achieving, low-browed maggots. Anyone is entitled to think he or she is unique for we all are. But imagine claiming, in effect, to be unique because of being born in Luddendenfoot. Or Heckmondwike. Or its lesser sibling Wyke.

Alas, I'm not a monarchist. My reaction to the disinterment was pure irritation; at least RIII was serving a useful function in supporting a car-park. Perhaps he thought such a role was beneath him. In which case the joke's on him - he was beneath it. And now he's fulfilling the role all Royals were born to do. Encouraging fuzzy-minded foreigners to take massive detours during their inevitably MetroCentric tour of Britain.

And I would caution you about bad-mouthing Leicester. It may not be as pretty as York but who in their right mind would wish to live in a tourist honeypot? Also Leicester's nearer London which means property values will be higher, probably within a month two. It may take York all of a couple of years to catch up.

I urge you to be more Christian about all this. For years Leicester's been in the dumps, a synonym for urban anonymity. Isn't it entitled to a bit of fake gloss? A bit of compensation for the awful stigma of having such a titchy cathedral of dubious provenance? OK, I'm not a Christian either.

Avus said...

you definitely dislike your roots, don't you RR.

Monarchy and "Christianity" aside - all this moneygrubbing with our heritage upsets me.