So the latest phase of the reburial of Richard 3rd is underway. Yesterday his mortal remains were paraded around west Leicestershire before being brought back to the city that probably represented the Lancasterian enemy more than any other in England, Leicester. What seems to have been missing in all this historic pageantry is that Leicester was the main seat of power of the Duke’s of Lancaster for the best part of 200 years. Many of them were buried in a church which has now been built over and forms part of the De Montfort University. In fact it can be argued that the War’s of the Roses started in the bed chamber at Leicester as the usurpation of a King was established by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster’s son Henry Bolingbroke. The Tudor line’s slim claim to the throne also come out of this bed chamber due to John of Gaunt’s affair with the nanny. Of course seeing the War’s of the Roses as a geographical battle throughout northern England is nonsense, rather it was a dynastic struggle for power and use of the names of great northern English shires is really missing the point.
So I wish King Richard a long rest in the parish church of St Martin, but seeing as his previous ignominious resting place ended up a manor house and then eventually probably one of the most famous car parks in the world you can’t be certain of this. He is only the second medieval King of England not to be buried in Westminster Abbey (that is if you don’t count all the Norman and Anjou Kings). The site of Edward 2nd’s burial in the abbey church of St Peter’s in Gloucester soon became a pilgrimage site, which in turn generated a huge amount of money for the monks. I am sure that the tourist authority in Leicester hope that Richard does the same.
God rest his soul.