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Old 6th Feb 2013, 14:58   #3
Colyngbourne
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Join Date: 30 Apr 2003
Location: England
Posts: 10,735
Default Re: GOTCHA! (your Majesty)

Anyone with an opinion that Richard's remains be re-interred in York, there is an e-petition here http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38772http://. There may be little chance that it will make it to the 100,000 signatories it needs for a question to be raised in the Commons but I can but wish. If you know of anyone who might also agree that RIII's remains be re-interred in York, please direct them also to the petition.

Prof Mark Ormrod, history prof at York Uni (and also a Trustee of the Richard III and Yorkist History Trust) spoke last night on the 6pm news, expressing how Richard regarded the north as his adopted home: from early youth he was in the household of Warwick the Kingmaker in North Yorkshire, from his marriage aged 20 to Warwick's daughter he 'inherited' castles from her mother and essentially made his home in the north of England. He founded the Council of the North which met at York (devolution and economic growth for the north of England in the 1470's) and was a much lauded arbitrator in disputes arising in and around the lands of his jurisdiction. He planned three major religous foundations, colleges, in only three churches, all of which were in the north - Middleham, Barnard Castle (double the size of Middleham's College), and York Minster (17 times the size of the one at Middleham) - many academics consider that he was planning York to be his mausoleum. Mark's webpage on this is here

My own personal feeling, beyond this, is that Leicester have established their claim to his remains as a fait accompli, which doesn't seem reasonable seeing as we have only just had announced that they have officially found his remains: I understand that there are stipulations around a dig which mean any bodies found have to be re-interred in the nearest consecrated ground, but in the case of a long-lost king, I think it reasonable that the stipulation be set aside. It would be set aside if this were Elizabeth I's remains, for example. And many many people, now they know that the remains are Richard III, are very keen that he be returned to the Minster he actually knew and loved and hoped to be buried in, rather than a church he never visited, which was only made a Cathedral in 1927. The circumstances of his death and post-mortem injuries, the indignity of his naked body's public display in Leicester and then a rude and hasty burial in the chancel of Greyfriars, naked and still with his hands bound together and squashed into a grave dug too small - all of this makes me feel it is appropriate that he be finally re-interred elsewhere, and actually somewhere that is relevant to his own history and possible wishes, rather than the demands of C21st archeological legalities.

I know that Leicester as a whole maybe feels that he is "theirs" but he is a King of England, not just of Leicester, where he happened, unexpectedly (and tragically), to die. I know Leicester University have put the effort into the exhumation and analysis - all credit to them, but it shouldn't mean they have the last say on where a King's remains should finally rest. I know Leicester Cathedral is also trying to do the right thing by Richard and assure a dignified burial and memorial service: I don't doubt they would do it excellently and would keep a fine tomb in their building for tourists to visit. But it shouldn't be just down to Leicester because he randomly died and was buried there (dreadfully and on the order of his enemies) to have the right to "keep" the king.

It was only the Richard III Society who asked for, raised funds for and installed a memorial stone in Leicester Cathedral - Leicester Cathedral and citizenry were not "interested" to do it of their own interest in the long-lost, long-dead king. Similarly, the statue of Richard in Leicester Castle Gardens was thought of and paid for by members of the Society. Leicester - which now with his discovery, is rather jumping on the RIII bandwagon with displays, exhibitions, medieval music concerts, etc. Before Sept 2012, there weren't places where you readily could buy Richard III memorabilia (eg postcards) but now they can be found in certain shops in Leicester. I don't think it should be the Society who decides anything either - there are mixed opinions within the Society at every level - but I think the matter should not be finally decided until further consultation has been heard, with e-petitions and official petitions to the Queen (York City Council have just officially requested that Richard be buried in York).

Obviously this is a once and only chance which most people interested in Richard III never thought would ever happen. But if you asked the man when he was dying on Bosworth Field, "do you want to be buried here in Leicestershire, not just for now but for eternity?" the odds are not great that he would have nodded his head. After all, Richard had experience of re-interment: in 1485 he organised the re-interment of Henry VI's remains, removing them with great ceremony from Chertsey Abbey, with a slow dignified progress and re-burial finally in St George's Chapel, Windsor. Sadly Henry Tudor didn't give Richard's remains the same respect.
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