The lines to pay last respects to Richard III’s body circle the block, standing in line up to four hours. By early Monday morning, nearly 3000 people had seen his body. After all, you don’t get to see a king’s body lie in state every day.
The internment starts tomorrow at 10:30 AM UK time. Apparently, you can watch it on BBC Channel 4; this may be tricky from overseas. There is an official site for the burial here and the timetable of events is here. Dame Caroll Ann Duffy, the UK’s poet laureate, wrote a poem commemorating or celebrating Richard for his burial, which Benedict Cumberbatch will read. The mellifluous Cumberbatch is Richard’s 2nd cousin 16 times removed.
Richard’s reburial, like every other aspect of his life, has been controversial. The UK newspaper The Guardian published an editorial arguing that he should be buried with dignity. Even the location of his burial has been notoriously controversial. Westminster Abbey could not find space for him. His ancestors lost a suit to have him buried in York. Leicester is thrilled to be the site of his burial. They have built a new tourist center, featured above, and it has received 40,000 visitors since last July. Frankly, the tourist center looks gorgeous and, at least in the photo, looks like it will do the monarch justice.
- Archaeologist and screenwriter Philippa Langley raised £34,000 to locate Richard’s grave through “sheer will” as The Guardian puts it.
- Shakespeare’s immortal line “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” may not have been simply fiction. Curator Toby Capwell believes that Richard and his horse became stuck in mud around Bosworth field and that is when Henry Tudor’s men attacked.
- Richard’s cathedral tomb cost $5 million dollars.
- The tomb’s design will not be revealed until Friday, after Richard’s reburial.
- In 1495, Henry VII paid roughly £60 for an alabaster or buff-colored tombstone to mark his slain predecessor’s grave.
- Richard’s grave was found only 5 feet (1.6 meters) beneath the surface.
- Richard’s remains were found exactly 500 years after his original burial. Ironically, his remains were found under a reserved parking spot with the letter “R” on it.
- Nerdalicious has an interview with the esteemed historian, Michael Hicks, about Richard III and his family. Nerdalicious is running a series of articles this week. Be sure to check them out by going to the Richard III tag.
- Benedict Cumberbatch to read poem at Richard III’s reburial
- There is an excellent photo gallery here on the official site.
- Match wits with the BBC and see how well you know your Richard III history.