The Queen has issued a message on the occasion of the reinterment of her predecessor, King Richard III, who was buried at Leicester Cathedral today. Her Majesty mentions The King’s death in the Battle of Bosworth, and her memories of Leicester Cathedral. She also issues her thanks to the people who made this historic event possible.
The complete message reads:
“The reinterment of King Richard III is an event of great national and international significance. Today we recognise a King who lived through turbulent times and whose Christian faith sustained him in life and death.
The discovery of his remains in Leicester has been described as one of the most significant archaeological finds in this country’s history.
King Richard III, who died aged 32 in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth, will now lie in peace in the City of Leicester in the heart of England.
I have fond memories of my visit to Leicester Cathedral in 2012 and I am delighted to learn that its re-ordering has been completed in time for the reinterment Service.
I send my sincere thanks to the University of Leicester members of the Church and other authorities in Leicester who have made this important occasion possible. ELIZABETH R.”
King Richard’s coffin was placed inside a stone tomb, and a service of reinterment led by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Technically, this cannot be considered as The King’s funeral, as he has already been buried before – at Greyfriars Priory, shortly after his death.
In attendance were descendants of King Richard, as well as the descendants of the men who fought by his side during the Battle of Bosworth and two hundred members of the public. The Queen, who is unable to attend the service herself, was represented by her daughter-in-law, The Countess of Wessex. Her message is printed in the order of service.
Also, present today, the academics who discovered the Plantagenet ruler’s skeleton. They represented the Richard III Society in an effort to promote the late Monarch as a ‘warrior king’, and not the villainous hunchback he is made out to be by Shakespeare.
Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch read a poem written for the occasion by Carol Ann Duffy. Cumberbatch is a distant relative of Richard III and will play The King in the BBC’s upcoming adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays, The Hollow Crown.
The service concluded when children from Market Bosworth presented posies to The Countess of Wessex and Duchess of Gloucester. Market Bosworth is the town nearest to the site at which the Battle of Bosworth took place in 1485, and King Richard probably passed through the town either before or after his death on the battlefield.
Featured photo credit: Bank of England