Countdown: 3 days to go to King Richard III’s reinterment.
I hardly sleep last night as I was so excited. Perhaps the night before Christmas was once something like this for me.
Anyway, after writing the cards for the single white roses (I was getting one for myself, one for my friend and fellow Richard III Society of Canada member Ray, one for my Ricardian friend Amber who died in 2013, and one for those who could not be there) I picked up the Richard III Society of Canada’s dozen white roses at nine-thirty and there was a line-up for the Cathedral around the block. Apparently people had been there since six in the morning and even then the line-up didn’t let up as people were waiting two hours in the afternoon.
I went up to the front of the Cathedral and asked one of the volunteers if she could tell me what to do with the flowers. She said to drop them off inside as I wasn’t staying for the viewing and I got a chance to met the woman who was so helpful with the flowers over Facebook. (The Cathedral never answered my email about flowers, so I was glad she was so helpful.)
I then left as I had offered to volunteer for the Richard III Society. I caught the eye of a man watching the crowds and I asked him what he thought of the event. We started chatting and then I asked him where the Holiday Inn was as he was a Leicester man and that I was due there at ten-thirty. Another man overheard me and said that he was meeting someone at the Holiday Inn at ten-thirty and that he was one of the Secretaries of the Society, who turned out to be the man I was meeting. Even though it was not yet a quarter to ten, I offered to start then. As I was helping set up, I bought a Richard III funeral badge, apparently they were sold out later that day, so I am glad I got one despite being so busy.
I was assigned to give out the tickets and invitations to international members as both had been issued too late for the post and there was a danger they would not arrive in time. I had a lovely time chatting with people from the UK, the USA, New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, and, of course, Canada. For the overwhelming majority, everyone was happy and excited! I was also rather pleased that some big-wigs in the Society knew who I was. It’s nice to be remembered!
After lunch with my dear friends, I joined two fellow Canadians to check out St Mary de Castro, where King Richard III might have once worshipped. The door we tried was locked, so we went over the Great Hall of Leicester Castle. We were offered the chance to join a tour, but I was suddenly tired, so I begged off and left my companions. However, as I was walking away, I discovered that St Mary was open as the entrance was to the north! I went in and have a lovely nose about and quite forgot about my nap. I then realised that I was only steps from the Castle Magazine, so I popped along there and was able to join a tour that had just started.
I finally got back to my hotel at four-thirty and began the labourous process of getting ready for the Memorial Service at seven. The hat had survived its transatlantic voyage and my dress was wrinkle-free. Even though the Service started at seven, we had been told be there for six, I went along for six and once more there was already a huge line-up, but again I got chatting with the people next to me and the time flew.
The Memorial Service was lovely, both Phil Stone and Philippa Langley spoke, along with other Ricardian celebrities and there was a lovely bit of choral music. I must admit that I shed a tear; not because I was sad, but because it was the culmination of so many plans. My parents offered to send me over for the reinterment more than two years ago, so I have been looking forward to this trip ever since. Afterwards, we were allowed to file by the coffin, but by the time I was at the front of the queue, we were getting barked at to only take one picture and not dawdle. I know it was a long day, but if it wasn’t for the Richard III Society, the Cathedral would be short one king. (I think the Cathedral needs to work on its public relations a bit.)
I asked about the white roses that I had bought earlier as I couldn’t see any and apparently all the flowers are being made into various large displays for the reinterment.
I then walked back to my hotel with two of my new Ricardian pals and had a lovely post-Memorial Service chat.