Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Happy Birthday King Richard!

Yes, King Richard III was born on October 2nd 1452 at Fotheringay Castle, Northamptonshire.
He died, aged 32, on 22nd August 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth.
He was buried in Greyfriars Friary in Leicester 3 days later, and there he stayed until his remains were discovered by the University of Leicester archaeological team in August 2012.

So, history dictates that for 528 years he has been here in Leicester. It is only fitting then, that he should stay here for the next 528. It is not up to us to try and change history. History draws its own conclusions.

Still in the news is the controversy over the new tomb design. There is a very interesting interview with both Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society, and the Rev Peter Hobson from Leicester Cathedral. You need to fast forward and start listening at around 35.30 minutes in.

I must say that the new design is growing on me more and more. I have seen the extent to which the Cathedral has gone to try and accommodate Richard in a fitting and respectful way, re-organising the interior without too much disruption to their day to day running of a busy place of worship for local people and visitors. You can see from my photographs below how much has been achieved already, and the plans for the new tomb will fit in perfectly. Yes, the tomb will obviously be the focal point of the Cathedral, and that is to be expected. Surely it will be a fitting tribute for Richard that he will finally be given the respect and dignity of such a wonderful space to himself in the Chancel, and not squashed into some corner of another landmark cathedral which is full of other tombs and ledger stones.

The Cathedral have not entered into this decision lightly as you can see by the Architects Brief.
More has to be taken into consideration than "we want a tomb befitting a 'warrior king'!"
Yes, Richard was an anointed King of England. Yes, he was a brave and skilled warrior, fighting to his last breath at Bosworth. And so that indeed does make him a warrior king, no-one would dispute that. But what is the difference between a king's tomb and a 'warrior' king's tomb? What makes the Cathedral's design less fitting of a 'warrior' king than that of the Richard III Society's choosing?
It is not all about Richard III I am afraid. This is a working church of God, and not a shrine to Richard III. And Richard, as a very religious warrior king, would appreciate that I think.

  the Cathedral before the work started

                                         The Chancel where the tomb will be situated.

                 No entrance fee to visit Leicester Cathedral by the way, just a voluntary donation box.

And finally, another reason to celebrate today! The petition to keep King Richard III in Leicester reached 30,000 signatures tonight! And it is already climbing fast! Please sign if you haven't already done so, it is the only reasonable conclusion which ever way you look at it.

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