Monday, 23 March 2015

Richard III Reburial

King Richard III of England (1452-1485) is being reburied in Leicester this week.  The full story of his body's exciting discovery in a car park in Leicester by the University of Leicester, in collaboration with The Richard III Society and Leicester City Council in 2012, can be found here, together with the science behind the genetic proof that the skeleton found was indeed Richard. It is astounding that the archaeologists found the body within only 6 hours 33 minutes 13 seconds of digging. 

Yesterday a day of pageantry took place when his coffin, made by cabinet maker Michael Ibsen, the King's 17th great grandnephew, made it's way through Leicester from the University to the Cathedral taking in Bosworth Field where he died.  The coffin is made from oak from the Duchy of Cornwall estate lined with yew and lead. Details of the day are here.

Canadian connection

The coffin was covered in an embroidered pall (cover) made by Jacquie Binns who uses free embroidery and has made vestments for St Paul's Cathedral.  White roses, the symbol of the House of York, were on the coffin and thrown by the crowds as it passed by. John Ashdown-Hill, a historian who was involved in the dig, commissioned George Easton, a medieval jeweller, to make the funeral crown.   He says “The crown is plated with gold, with the circle set enamelled with white roses and pearls. On the roses are set rubies and sapphires, representing the livery colours of the house of York. The crosses of the crown have more enamelled white roses, set with emeralds and turquoises.”

The burial will take place on Thursday, but meanwhile the coffin can be viewed by the public in the Cathedral, although there is a very long queue.

Research on Richard III will carry on.  Some think Richard III, the play by Shakespeare, is actually a satire on the life of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester - see the Shakespeare Code.

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