Richard III – and Leicester’s Joy

English: Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth...

English: Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, it seems as if a decision has finally been made on where the bones found at the carpark excavation will be laid to rest – if of course the DNA testing proves them to be those of Richard.  Richard ranks as one of the most famous/infamous kings in English history, depending on which version of the historical narrative you subscribe to.  The debate on where he should be laid to rest has raged just as fiercely as that on his character and achievements.

I have to declare my interest here – I am not on the anti-Ricardian spectrum, but neither do I perceive him as totally innocent.  In that respect, I think an interrment at Leicester cathedral is the closest thing we’re likely to get to a compromise.  Sure, the inevitable rush by Leicester council to cash in on this will seem a bit crass, but that is the world in which we live unfortunately.  I can’t see Richard getting the quiet and dignified burial he deserves – not when there’s so much financial and political capital to be made.


One thought on “Richard III – and Leicester’s Joy

  1. midgardarts says:

    At some level (be it the scale of the historical event, the chronological distance from it, or the long social and cultural influence of the event over time), it’s almost impossible to treat something like this in a manner remotely appropriate to human dignity. History, and material history in particular, is a commodity and a political one at that. Medieval history is inherently political and that is inseparable from its treatment. Here, we have an event harnessed to the political (and economic) needs of the present and, in time, it will be adopted by new political and economic actors. Mutatus mutandis, or something like that.

    On the other hand, this was once a living man, with a real, but unknowable personality, who walked and breathed, and swung a sword with confidence and pride. This is his most personal and ‘real’ historical legacy and, no matter what his moral failings, he was (and is) part of our shared identity.

    Maybe we can just enjoy the bizarre inversion of the medieval cult of martyrdom.

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