Requiescat in pace

King Richard III is interred. Requiescat in pace.

Today, King Richard III, last of the Plantagenets and the last English king to die in battle, was buried in Leicester Cathedral in the presence of hundreds, including those who found him. King Richard III was given a dignified interment in 2015, one that was denied him 530 years ago.

I got up today at six and left my hotel by ten minutes to seven in order to secure a good spot for seeing the reinterment of King Richard III on the big screens. I should not have worried so much as I was the first to arrive at Jubilee Square by a long shot. Jubilee Square was just to the west of Leicester Cathedral and you could see its spire from where I was seated. I had paused on the way there in front of Leicester Cathedral to chat to the people already there, there was one man who had been there for twenty-four hours already. I was joined by several others in the early hours, but I was alone for at least fifteen minutes in the morning twilight and rain. One of the people to join me was one of the descendants of the former mayor of Leicester who once owned the land where Richard was discovered. Thank goodness her ancestor did not do any building on the site!

I was interviewed several times as I was for the first to arrive. I said having come from Canada meant that I couldn’t really sleep in on the day he was reinterred as I had come so far.

The fearless leader of the Richard III Society of Canada and her respected husband joined me for the screening — although I hadn’t saved them seats.

The service itself was rather nice. Although I saw one or two empty seats in the Cathedral and thought how nice it would have been to have been in that empty spot. When John Ashdown-Hill rolled his eyes at the mention of the University of Leicester’s research, a laugh rose from the crowd at Jubilee Square, so I hope it was because they knew the truth, not because Ashdown-Hill was so clear in his feelings on the issue. The service was not that long, but do reinterments usually pass by so quickly? For the most part, it was done well and I got a little misty-eyed at one point. All this plotting and planning had lead to this one moment in time, in history.

On the way back to the hotel, I stopped a smartly dress woman and asked if she had gone to the reinterment. We started chatting and she offered to get me a coffee as we were staying at the same hotel. She said how sad it was that Ashdown-Hill had not got the recognition that he deserved for his work on the project and I agreed as he had done so much and got so little credit in the end, but one might say that truth is the daughter of time.

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