Since childhood my fascination with King Richard III has never waned. His enigmatic life, shrouded in dark mystery, only to be compounded by the shady portrayal of the man by William Shakespeare, still has a pull on my curious nature. Sir Laurence Olivier’s depiction at the hands of Hollywood only served to fuel the fires of my intrigue. Premeditated evil plotting: cruelty: how could such a man become a King of England? And what of his demise? Well, over the centuries there’s been a great deal of folklore mixed with exaggeration, hearsay and rumour about the man, which has all acted as a convenient replacement for reality to feed what probably formed and became just a few parts of the worlds first conspiracy theory. However, one man, John Harvey, in his book The Plantagenets (1948), had finished his chapter on Richard III, with what seems to have been the answer to the king’s whereabouts long before his body was eventually discovered under a Leicester car park. “ …another slower messenger was hoisting King Richard’s body, wounded and despoiled, upon a packhorse, to be taken for burial to the charitable Greyfriars of Leicester”.
In 2006 I was commissioned by the Diocese and the Bishop of Leicester to help in promoting their celebratory 80th year as a Diocese. The brief was to build a ‘Celebrate 80!’ Website, promote the initiative via local and national media, and oversee the staging and entertainment for the ‘Big Day Out’ in Leicester’s Abbey Park on Saturday 3rd June. This was seen as the flagship event of the year with special guest the Archbishop of Canterbury. Ah, Abbey Park…a clue as to the final resting place of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, though his body has never been found. There’s a thought. King Richard III will be interred at Leicester Cathedral on Thursday 26th March 2015 with perhaps, only perhaps, a member of our Royal family in attendance. I have a fond connection with that little Anglican Cathedral, which is one of the smallest of its kind in the country. However, Richard was a Catholic, a detail which appears to have been overlooked, though the Diocese insist, “‘It’s an Anglican Church” they said. “The Roman Catholic Church did not exist at the time, the state church was Catholic but there was no distinction.” (click for more) What? A statement made by someone educated beyond their intelligence methinks! “The re-interment ceremonies will last several days, at a cost of £2,500,000, with the Diocese of Leicester contributing £500,000 and the rest from private donations”. What? Nothing from the crown or state? Whose organising this? Now, where’s the body of Cardinal Wolsey?