To go to Leicester…or not….
(I cannot acknowledge the photographer of the above illustration, because I do not know, but whoever he/she is, thank you. It expresses something inside me.)
I read everywhere of the countless Ricardians who intend to—or long to—go to Leicester when Richard is finally laid to rest. Their desire to be there is more than understandable, even truly admirable, so I am not criticising them in any way whatsoever. Please, never think that. But am I the only Ricardian who does not want to be there? Am I the only one marching out of step?
It is not that my loyalty to him is of a lesser quality than theirs, because I am sure it is not. I would go into battle for Richard III. So, why do I not want to go to Leicester? My reason may seem strange to most people—weird, even–but I don’t want to share my respect and emotion with thousands of others. My idea of Richard remains in my head, and I want to keep him there. It’s like going back to the house you lived in as a child, but not daring to go inside because you know strangers have changed it beyond recognition since then. And those you loved have gone anyway.
My fear of that week in March would be of finding myself crushed in among those huge crowds and perhaps not glimpse anything at all. It would grieve me forever that I had not been alone, with my thoughts and my private loyalty. Staying at home, I can see everything on TV, do it in comfort, and have my imagination and thoughts of Richard. It matters to me. Just me.
Leicester will indeed be visited, but when the furore has died down and I will be able to go to the cathedral and stand by his tomb, without the fear of being moved on because of the long queue. My moments close to him, not governed by others.
Maybe I’m not expressing this very well, but I do feel quite strongly. It’s a very personal thing.
Footnote: For fear that because Leicester is specifically mentioned in this blog, it is therefore that city that makes me react as I do, please let me say that if he were to be buried in York, or anywhere else, my feelings would be the same. I am not pro one city or the other, just a Ricardian who is glad he has been found and will be laid to rest as he should have been in 1485. I simply cannot go to the occasion, because of all the personal reasons stated above. To everyone who intends to go, or wishes so much they were going, I really do understand how they feel. Just because I respond in a different way, does not mean I do not appreciate their desire to be close to him or the places he loved. So please do not misunderstand or be offended by what I have written. I did not mean to imply, even obliquely, any derogatory opinion of anyone or any place.