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Richard III to be honoured in France

Unexpected news has reached us from Saumur in the Loire valley. The local wine growers have decided to commission a top artist to honour Richard with a “reclining statue” (possibly an effigy) in nearby Fontevraud Abbey. The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud is the burial place of some of Richard’s most famous ancestors: Henry II, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and their son Richard I, “the Lionheart”.

A crowdfunding campaign for the statue, offering the chance to obtain bottles of a future Cuvée Richard III de Fontevraud wine and holiday stays at a four star hotel in the abbey complex, will be launched at the Grandes-Tablées de Saumur-Champigny open air festival. As a spokesman for the Grandes Tablées explained: “Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart did a lot for wine in Anjou [the old province centred on the modern department of Maine-et-Loire] and Bordeaux, so the wine growers had the idea of paying their respects to the family by offering a statue to Richard III in a few years’ time.”

The festival, which is going into its 15th year, takes place on 5 and 6 August and this year has a suitably British theme. British food made from local produce will be served, accompanied by local wine from 20 tasting points, and five bands will play British pop hits. Tickets, which include an engraved wine tasting glass, are available from the local tourist office. For full details see here.

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The effigy of Eleanor of Aquitaine at Fontevraud Abbey

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4 thoughts on “Richard III to be honoured in France

  1. Ooh, that will annoy Marguerite d’Anjou. Saumur being one of her dad’s chateaux.

    Only other thing I know about the place, apart from the eponymous fizz, is that they have a cricket club which I think Mick Jagger had a hand in setting up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While it would be nice to think it’s about something more than that, let’s be honest about the most likely reason they are doing it: Richard III is a great tourist attraction.

    If they wanted to honor a Plantagenet king of England for historical reasons, Richard II would be a more obvious choice, as he tried to have permanent peace with France (and not because a bribe), uncharacteristically for an English king during the 100 Years War.

    Nevertheless, this is another sign that Richard III’s image in popular consciousness has changed for the better.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lets don’t go into this deeply but the analysis on his teeth and bones done by the University of Leicester team did suggest he was drinking more wine in the last few years of his life, and had a high status diet. We can guess at how much alcohol there was in each bottle, but we do have an idea of how being the king changed his diet. It does not take much to be quite logical and infer he was ordering more wine from France as he was indeed banqueting more than he had done in the north of England. Odds are that he was happily buying wine from the Loire Valley. This isn’t a case of jumping on an already rolling bandwagon, instead, its the inferences around this all!!

    Liked by 1 person

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