King Richard III is interred. Requiescat in pace.
This is my last blog post as I return to Canada early tomorrow afternoon and my Ricardian pilgrimage will be at an end.
Two days ago, I arrived back in London after two days in Suffolk for the last part of my trip. I turned up early to met up with two friends who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years and decided to check out the National Portrait Gallery‘s shop for a few minutes. There was a pillow with King Richard III’s head on it, among others. I could not resist, so I lugged that around with me for the rest of the day. I met up with my friends on the stairs of St. Martins-in-the-Fields Church (where apparently two of my ancestors married) and then we went into the National Portrait Gallery itself. It was jolly crowded as it was a Sunday and as my friends are new parents, they had a stroller with them, so it was a little hectic. Fortunately, after paying our respects to King Richard III’s two portraits (his well-known NPG one and the one that is part of a series that was on display), we retired to a pub for a lovely meal and wonderful conversation (with a well-behaved child).
My mother had a mild shock later that evening when she discovered the King Richard III pillow in her bed (it’s good for her cardiovascular system to have the odd jump-start). Sweet dreams, mother dearest! (Yes, the symbolism of a pillow with King Richard III’s handsome mug on it is not lost on me.)
Yesterday, we went to the Victoria & Albert Museum. We tackled the British galleries as well as the reproduction casts. I was delighted to suddenly realise that I was in front of the cast of Ralph Fitzherbert‘s effigy, which features a boar pendant on his chain underneath his hands clasped in prayer. (The original effigy has a clearer image of a boar, but one must make do.) Later, we went to the British galleries (1500 to 1760). There, in all his grumpiness was the bust of Henry Tudor. In front of him were two men chatting away about King Richard III and Leicester. I didn’t interrupt as I was with my mum and didn’t want her to get bored, so I just took satisfaction that instead of talking about Tudor, they were discussing Richard.
Last night, we went to see The Mousetrap. Because of the weather and general timing, we caught a cab and got a chatty cabbie, who said that in his 22 years, we were the first ever passengers he had taken to see The Mousetrap. He asked why we were over and I said that I had been in Leicester. Anyway, our London cabbie was very knowledgeable about King Richard III. My poor mother had to sit through yet another Richard III conversation. I jokingly said that the cabbie’s tip depended on his belief in King Richard III’s innocence concerning the disposal of his nephews.
Alas, there were very few Ricardian moments today. I went to the Sir John Soane’s Museum, which had nothing King Richard III related. However, I did spend the afternoon at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was designed by the son of the man who recorded in the early 17th century that there was still a monument to King Richard III in a garden park in Leicester, meaning that his body had not been disinterred during the dissolution of the monasteries. A rather neat little coda. However, there was one more Ricardian moment, on the way back to our hotel I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard. Apparently, there will be a King Richard III musical in the autumn, RichardRocks. (Let’s just hope that it is not as bad as Viva Forever.)
As Dr. Phil Stone, Chair of the Richard III Society, said at the end of the Richard III Society’s Memorial Service for King Richard III last week, “Let me quote to you from a play by Shakespeare. No, not that play. ‘Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!'”
My work is done and so I must rest my own weary head.
– 30 –