Reinterment of King Richard III

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

King Richard III’s remains were reinterred in Leicester Cathedral in a dignified and moving service on 26 March 2015.  The service was conducted in the presence of the Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

The order of the service was designed in cooperation with Dr Alexandra Buckle.  Dr Buckle had found a manuscript, which contains details of a medieval service for the reburial of the human remains of a noble person.  She was researching Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who was reburied in Richard’s presence in 1475. This document served as a basis for Richard III’s reinterment service.

During the service, Richard was also reunited with his Book of Hours, about which I had written on another site, though before Richard’s reinterment.

Reinterment of King Richard III

Richard III’s tomb


On the following day, 27 March, Richard III’s tomb was revealed during a service.  Together with several friends, I had in the opportunity on that Friday afternoon, to see the tomb in all its glory.  For me, the floor tiles with inlaid Yorkist roses were a nice touch.

Reinterment of King Richard III

Floor tiles with Yorkist roses

Together with many, many other Ricardians, I was able to spend the Reinterment Week in Leicester, a profound and exhilarating experience.  The week started for me by watching the cortege passing at Jubilee Square.  On Monday, 23 March, Memorial Service for members of the Richard III Society was held in Leicester Cathedral. I had been lucky in the ballot and received an invitation to this beautiful service. From where I was seated my view of the proceedings was obscured, but I had a clear view of the reason for the service, the coffin of Richard III. It was covered with a beautifully embroidered pall, on the one side displaying figures from the 15th century and on the other side figures involved in the 21st-century discovery of the King’s remains.

The Choir sang In Memoriam: Ricardus Rex by Graham Keitch.  Many of us remember this from the 2013 Australasian Convention in Sydney, where we were able to play it by permission of the composer. There can be no doubt though that to listen to it in a church sung by an outstanding choir beats a recording played over a loudspeaker system.

We all would have liked to attend the actual reinterment service in the Cathedral, but space did not allow that.  However, along with several of our branch members from NSW, I was able to watch the service on TV live at our hotel in Leicester.  The most memorable part for me was a natural phenomenon:  It was an overcast grey and drizzly morning, but at the exact moment, when Richard’s coffin was lowered into the ground, the sun broke through. His troubled afterlife had finally come to rest.

It should also be mentioned that the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society made a donation to Leicester Cathedral to help cover the costs of the reinterment.  This was received by Revd Peter Hobson with thanks to all members of the NSW Branch in the name of Leicester Cathedral.

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