Monday, March 23, 2015

Richard Reburied

As it was all happening on my doorstep (specifically across the park opposite my doorstep) it would have been a shame to miss Richard III's funeral cortege. It was a sunny afternoon as well which certainly made it more fun. 

There's something timeless about a crowd, it may be that much of the action is now viewed through the lenses of other people's smart phones and iPads (believe me, it was) but the atmosphere, colour, and Morris dancers don't change so much. A brief altercation between a couple of dogs behind me only heightened the medieval atmosphere. I joined the crowd besides the holiday inn (back to it so I could ignore it) where there's a very good view of St Nicholas', Leicester's oldest surviving church and where the coffin was due to change from a hearse to horse drawn gun carriage. It duly did that and picked up some police horses, two Knights in armour, and a modest compliment of city dignitaries. 

Cutting across town to find a way home not subject to a road block I found myself on the procession route again so waited to see the coffin pass by. The Knights were impressive, the police horses impeccably behaved, the city dignitaries appropriately dignified, the coffin very much in view - and strewn with white roses thrown by the crowd - the crowd itself excited but surprisingly solemn, and clergy all dressed up in their finest. I'm guessing a large chunk of the budget for this has been spent on cleaning the city up (it positively sparkled) which is money well spent.  

There will undoubtedly have been people there for whom it was an emotional occasion, plenty watching to complain about how pointless it all was, as well as a fair few like me just interested to see what was going on - hence a decision not to waste time trying to take a lot of pictures but to see what was happening in front of me whilst it was actually happening. It was oddly moving, not so much because of the remains of a 500 years dead king passing by, but because it bought the city to life in a way I seldom see and enjoyed being a part of. Some of it was a bit crazy - though I'm guessing those were the people having the most fun too, generally it all seemed very well organised and as dignified as could be hoped for.
A roaring trade being done in white roses

And normally quiet streets crowded.


  1. It has been good to read of it from someone who was really present. I don't know why, but I have felt very emotionally involved since his bones were found. Thank you so much.

  2. I've been intrigued by it, partly because it happened on my doorstep ( well within 1/4 of a mile of my doorstep) and partly for the combination of history and science. Hope to catch the highlights of the funeral service on the news tonight, and looking forward to fireworks tomorrow!

  3. I find it very moving that so many people care about it. It's reassuring too - if we can show such respect for the past, we may think more carefully about the future too.

  4. Interest in the history, excitement over the science, respect for tradition, and hope for the future - it was an exciting week to be in leicester. It was particularly good that the Richard history was old enough, and the significance of the DNA work a new enough part of Leicester's collective history that everyone in this exceptionally multi cultural city could claim a part of it.