Last weekend I did something completely different with my Sunday, I went to the reinterment of a King who died over 500 years ago, a bit different from searching Netflix in my PJ’s. In case you aren’t aware, Richard III was found in a car park in Leicester in 2012 and was finally put to rest last week. My friends Darren and Will are also massive history nerds so we jumped in the car and headed off to Leicester to see what really was a once in a lifetime event.
Once we got into Leicester the crowds were already starting to build, luckily it was also a really beautiful day. We headed off for something to eat, got a map from the people on the information stands and headed for a wonder around, before getting to the new Richard III Visitor Centre in plenty of time for our tour.
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical when I first looked into the Richard III Visitor Centre, looking online there wasn’t really any information as to what’s actually exhibited (they really need to improve their website, it’s a massive injustice to the place) so I thought it might have been a really small affair that was hastily put together to cash in on their new-found tourism. Luckily I was very wrong and was very pleasantly surprised.
The ground floor in this mini museum is dedicated to the history of Richard III and the famous battle that took his life, and it is presented in a really modern way that stops it falling into the boring museum category. There’s a great use of technology to bring the story to life in an interesting and understandable way. Upstairs the museum is focused more on the legacy of Richard III. Why we have certain (often untrue) impressions of him, how he is portrayed in films and tv, and how they found the famous ‘king in the carpark’ after so many years, including how they certified that it really was him and how they used modern technology to show what he would have looked like.
Afterwards, you can go to the area where they actually found his skeleton. This again was really well done, the area it was in was so nice with quotes and people on hand to ask any questions you had. I really would recommend this to everyone, it was such a good day and we all admitted we were impressed.
After this it was time to pick our spot for the big event, seeing the King’s coffin go through the city. We chose a spot close to where the procession begin, the atmosphere was electric, everyone around knew this was the kind of thing you would only see once in your life, the funeral of a king who died over 500 years previously. We waited for over an hour and luckily, the weather held out. There were lots of people with white roses at he ready, either attached to their clothing or to throw at the coffin as it went past. Soon they were finally here, after the obligatory police the first things we saw were a couple of medieval Knights, which even with the given time period I have to admit took me a bit by surprise. Next it was the coffin itself, pulled behind a horse-drawn funeral carriage. I took a quick snap as you can see above but after this I wanted to put my camera down and experience it first hand, as this was the kind of thing I wasn’t likely to repeat in my lifetime.
It really was a unique day, did you see it on Channel 4?