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To go to Leicester…or not….

statue at sunset or sunrise

(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.

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12 thoughts on “To go to Leicester…or not….

  1. Geoff Ollerton on said:

    You are expressing it very well I feel exactly the same

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jasmine on said:

    I am looking forward to being in a place with lots of other Ricardians celebrating that our king has been rescued from a forgotten grave and will be reburied with honour in the light so that people may visit his tomb and reflect on his life and come to know the truth.

    But we are all different.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Iris on said:

    It’s as good a choice and motivation as any other. My husband and I will be in the crowds because our happiness at Richard being laid to rest is too big not to share it with the rest of the Ricardian community, which does not mean we might not go back for a more private moment of prayer later on

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Stefanie on said:

    We are coming all of the way from the US, but not just for Leicester. We are going to many places throughout the English countryside that were factors in his life, including Gloucester, Ludlow, Middleham Castle and what remains of Fotheringhay. I do hope not to miss anything due to the crowds, but I planned this long ago, when they first announced his burial dates, not thinking that it would turn into a tourist attraction. I hope it is only Ricardians who care about the history of the man. I will feel amongst my people, since few of my American friends understand my obsession:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How wonderful for you, Stephanie. I’m a Yank as well with a bit of an obsession. I quite jealous of your trip!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a very sensitive and understandable reaction, I believe. As I live thousands of miles away, I have no choice. If I was able to go, I would. But I find your preference utterly admirable even if it differs from my own. I would hope that I could attend and remain privately emotional within myself, as I have at family funerals. But we all have different needs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. blancsanglier on said:

    I cannot go to Leicester for not only the exact same reasons you have so eloquently expressed but also because of their handling of this momentous occasion which has been disgraceful. He ceased being ‘an anointed King of England’ from the moment he was uncovered – he became vulnerable, exposed – and a possession. I have no wish to destroy 42 years of thoughts of King Richard, years of reading about him and building up a picture of the man I think he might have been. I have no wish to see this King’s dignity and Royalty reduced to no more than a self obsessed publicity stunt. I do not want to hear sermons of Sin and Redemption and how much Leicester meant to this King. It is only his mangled bones which lie there so I will go to York where I believe his Spirit will be, where he was happiest with his family. I can look at the buildings that he looked upon and visit the places that he did and think about him being there and how he must have felt – especially how proud he must have been when his son was invested as Prince of Wales. I will then visit Middleham and the Church for which he wrote the ‘Statutes for a Collegiate Church of Middleham’ and will sit and say the Prayers that Richard himself wished be said for the ‘’day come of my deth’’ . I do not need fireworks, theatre groups or children waving flags.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jasmine on said:

      The idea that, had the decision been taken to rebury Richard in York, that somehow there would not have been any events along the lines of those proposed in Leicester is extremely naive. York is a city which thrives on tourism. The reburial of a former king would not have been seen any differently.

      As most pro-York people seem to think that Richard’s spirit is no longer with his bones, I cannot see why they are making such a fuss over where those bones are to be reburied.

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      • blancsanglier on said:

        York doesn’t have the same desperate authorities/university I would imagine – they have more diverse history so can be more relaxed about it. These are my personal views re his Spirit, I would not presume to speak for ‘most pro York’ people. Anyway, it goes beyond that – he was an King of England who did his best for the common man, we have not discovered his Will so we have to look at his life. That life was in the North parts sometimes because of his duties sometimes of his own choosing so surely that be taken into account?

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      • Jasmine on said:

        We will never know what events York might have organised. However, I am sure there would have been a mixed bag of them – after all not every Yorkshire resident is a history enthusiast (just like Leicester and other UK towns and cities) so any event (s) would have to appeal to everyone, not just a selection of Ricardians.

        Neither do we know, had York University excavated his remains, what sort of testing they would have done – they would have done it, of course. Nor do we know where he would have been kept prior to reburial.

        Then, there is the fact that to be buried in York Minster requires an Act of Parliament. Given that it took the Minster 15 years to agree the memorial window, I wonder how long it would have taken for a reburial.

        Interestingly the study of Richard’s remains show that he spent his growing years in the south. Modern research shows he spent less time that previously thought in Warwick’s household. Edward IV originally intended him to look after the Welsh Marches before changing his mind and sending him north.

        No one disputes the fact that Richard ruled in the north for around 12 years. However he did not die as Lord of the North, but as King of England. Leicester is in the middle of his kingdom which seems fitting somehow.

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      • I have to say Jasmine makes some good points. I am not pro-York or Pro-Leicester regarding the re-interment. I think if it were my choice (ha ha!) I would have chosen Fotheringhay, although having Richard buried there would probably ruin the peaceful atmosphere of the place.

        I do feel that Leicester can’t do anything right according to some pro-York Ricardians, however, I have to concede that some of the events (both official and unofficial) are in extremely bad taste. Some are very well-thought out and touching. Also, I feel that PL and JAH, whatever people think of them personally, were the driving force behind the success of the dig and have been rudely pushed out and Leicester Uni and Council have taken over.

        I just wish that all Ricardians could just agree to differ about this and not be at each other’s throats all the time. It is decided now, let’s just see what happens!

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I fully understand your position and, as has been said, we are all different. I will be in Leicester and hope to use it as an opportunity to meet other Ricardians, as I am fairly new to it all. I feel compelled to be there, even though I am wary of the ‘circus’ that it may become. I hope to be able to pick the respectful events going on and detach from any others.

    Likewise, I visited Fotheringhay, Middleham and York last year and I loved them all.

    I believe that the spirit is able to be in multiple places at once, so maybe he will be in York and Leicester on the day! 🙂

    Like

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