They've found him! Or rather, I should say, we now have conclusive proof that the skeleton found in the Leicester car park is, indeed, that of Richard III, the last Yorkist king, cruelly maligned by the Tudors. It's the most exciting and moving news for Ricardians everywhere and for the past two days, I've felt quite obsessed.
As I said in my earlier blog, I went on the Richard III trail in the autumn of 2011, something I'd wanted to do for a very long time. We began at Bosworth, aware that there is now considerable dispute as to the location of the battlefield, but very much enjoying the displays at the Centre. After that, it was on to Leicester, first to admire the heroic statue of Richard, and then, armed with a map, I went to look for the possible burial site. (It was at this point that my husband, who was looking for a chemist so that he could buy painkillers for his back-pain, somewhat peevishly complained that I seemed to care more about long-dead Richard than I did about him. Not true, of course, but the irony of that remark does not escape me, particularly now we know how Richard may have suffered discomfort from his scoliosis!) Anyway, I found the plaque on the wall put there by the Richard III Society, and looked down into the car park and reflected, once again, on the unfairness of it all. He, that is Richard III, really didn't deserve such an ignominious fate and I'm glad there's been some redress.
My first reaction on hearing the news was to sign the petition for Richard III to be interred in York Minster. Decades ago, when I was young and naive, and had mis-remembered the account of Richard's burial place in Rosemary Hawley Jarman's historical romance, "We Speak No Treason", I actually went there to see his tomb, the place where I thought it should rightly be. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Now, however (updating my own blog in August 2013) I think it's right and proper that Leicester City should keep him. They've done a great forensic job, and, although Leicester Cathedral lacks the grandeur of York, perhaps it should be remembered that Richard did ride out from Leicester for the Battle of Bosworth and returned there in an ignominious fashion, as an abused corpse flung into a hole in the ground. Time now to give him the respect he deserves and Leicester will do it.