Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Paying my respects to Richard III

Alarmed by stories of long queues, I arrived at Leicester Cathedral at eight this morning. That proved early enough to beat the rush and it took me only an hour to pay my respects to Richard III and leave.

It was such an English queue that you could buy a cup of tea as we snaked around the Cathedral Gardens, and someone close by was making a lot of money selling white roses.

When you got inside the cathedral, Richard's coffin, with its black pall and a servicemen at each corner, looked entirely regal.

We were a modern crowd, with phones and cameras and tablets - someone's phone went off with Call Me by Blondie as its ringtone while I was trying to be all solemn - but I like to think we did the King proud.

It has been a remarkable week for Leicester and Leicestershire. 

When the plans for taking Richard's bones around the Bosworth battlefield and the villages associated with it were announced, I wondered if it was a good idea. But it turned out to be an act of genius and I found myself ridiculously moved.

This, I think, had less to do with Richard III and more to do with the community involvement. Councillors, ex-servicemen, Scouts and Brownies... 

What we saw on BBC News and heard on BBC Radio Leicester was the sort of civic England you fear had been lost to modernisation and the turbo-capitalism.

Because the day was not about celebrating Richard III or the monarchy: it was about celebrating our pride in Leicester and Leicestershire. In the end, the day was about ourselves.

And then Richard's returned to Leicester in triumph, rather than naked over the back of a horse.

Let no one tell you that history cannot be rewritten.


wolfi said...

A bit OT:
Reading how those kings behaved in England I'm wondering how can anybody be proud of the British Monarchy and its tradition?

And associated with this:
As I understand it, the Anglican church was founded on a whim - so there's the same question there ...

Of course I know that the present dynasty is not connected to the middle age kings - that makes it even stranger for an outsider to understand the hype about your Royals ...

wolfi (now in Hungary)

wolfi said...

Well, it seems that I'm not the only one who's wondering what's it all about - just found this:
Really funny and kind of satirical!