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 Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III

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Thibault

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PostSubject: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:06 am

I see that yet another petition is doing the rounds - this time calling for the abandonment of the proposed procession from Bosworth to Leicester Cathedral in the days before the reburial of Richard.

What are people's views regarding the continual introduction of new petitions related to the reburial?  Do they actually achieve anything?
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whitehound
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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:43 pm

Well - public unrest got the cathedral to go for a proper tomb instead of a flat slab, I guess, but I can't help feeling that arguing every point makes Ricardians look shrill. And the procession isn't obviously wrong or disrespectful, as that hasty aisle burial would have been - it's just a matter of taste, and you'll never please everybody.
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Thibault

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:37 pm

Yes, I agree that the public at large were very much against the idea of a ledger stone and the poll conducted by the local Leicester paper showed that overwhelmingly. It's just that there have been a series of petitions launched by pro-York supporters firstly against the reburial location, and now, since the legal decision, it looks like they are going after elements of the proposed ceremony and celebrations afterwards.

When the latest petition was announced, members of another forum (non-history related, but with a Richard III thread) said that there would soon be more petitions than people signing them. It sounded to me that the petitions themselves were becoming self-defeating.

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:03 am

Yes, I agree, and whether you think the proposed procession from Bosworth is a bit crass or not (and personally I'm undecided) there's no doubt that whoever came up with it did so because they thought it would honour Richard and overwrite the disrespect which was shown to his body at the time, so to get up an actual petition about it, rather than just expressing reservations, seems churlish.

I have more sympathy with people who are complaining about the nature of the service and whether it should be modern or Mediaeval, Catholic or Anglican, because these are serious theological issues here - even if ones for which there are arguments on both sides.

Is it the pro-York crowd who are getting up this petition about the procession? If so I agree, there seems to be an element of trouble-making for the sake of it, and that does nobody any good and is a lot more undignified than the questionably dignified procession they're complaining about. It's nice that people still care so much, but anything which makes Ricardians look silly is bad for Richard's reputation.
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Thibault

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:10 am

Yes, it is the pro-York crowd.

I agree with your last sentence completely.
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Constantia

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:48 pm

Anyone who wants the reburial to resemble what would have occurred in Richard's own time if, say, John Earl of Lincoln had overthrown Tudor should want the procession. They need only consider the procession that Richard led in taking his father's and Edmund's bones from York to Fotheringhay. And had York won the Battle of the Bones, they would certainly have had a procession from Leicester to York. Churlish is the word, all right. Or mean spirited.
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Thibault

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:09 pm

Yes, Constantia, but if York were organising it, it would be a procession with dignity and honour. Because Leicester are organising it, it is disrespectful and only a means of making money.......
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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:23 am

I know that some people feel that making a procession from Bosworth is too much related to Richard's death, not his life, and too much of a reminder of the indignity with which his body was treated at the time. But, well, it's a ceremony of reburial, so of course it's going to be a bit death-related.

As for the other, everybody who cares about Richard and has done any research knows about his body being brought back like a trophy stag, we can't make it not have happened - but this is somebody's attempt to make it not have happened, to undo the indignity, so we ought to applaud the sentiment whether or not we agree on the fine points.

As for Leicester making money, to me that's actually a point in its favour, because Richard, who cared so much about the poor, would surely be pleased to think that even in death he could still be an active force for good, bring extra revenue into a poor area and be of benefit to the peasantry. He certainly wouldn't be freaked out by the idea of people poring over his bones and paying money to make a special journey to his grave - what could he, as a Mediaeval Catholic, think about it but "Gosh - they think I'm a saint!"
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Colyngbourne

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:23 pm

I think a procession from where his remains will be prior to burial, to the cathedral of St Martin's, is more than fine. What people have a beef about, is that no religious funeral procession (Pontefract to Fotheringhay etc) would have taken in the actual route of an ignominious journey of the deceased's body from the actual battlefield. Richard didn't take his father and brother's procession to Wakefield and Sandal, but from one burial ground to another.

That seems a reasonable concern to me. It's not arguing for the mere sake of it. Taking Richard's remains back to Bosworth indicates some element of re-enactment rather than a funeral procession from one location to another, and the associations of the journey from Bosworth are less than savoury.
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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:17 pm

I didn't think they were taking his actual bones back to Bosworth - didn't they say they were too fragile?  It'll be that nice funerary crown that gets processed.

It's not a situation which has ever really arisen before, so we can't say what would have been done at the time.  We can say that a procession starting in the car park, or from the university since that's where his bones are now, and ending a few hundred yards away would be a damp squib, so if he's going to be buried in Leicester (and I know you'd rather not), and he's going to have a procession, it'll have to start from somewhere other than where he was buried before.

And although his body was mishandled at the time, I would think Richard himself would associate Bosworth with glory, even though he lost.  We know he was very interested in concepts of chivalry, so to die with such conspicuous courage that even his enemies praised him would be a personal triumph.
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Thibault

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:13 am

Colyngbourne wrote:


That seems a reasonable concern to me. It's not arguing for the mere sake of it. Taking Richard's remains back to Bosworth indicates some element of re-enactment rather than a funeral procession from one location to another, and the associations of the journey from Bosworth are less than savoury.

But I see it as giving Richard's remains the respect he was denied post Bosworth. This time, his body will be carried from the battlefield in honour. The people who line the route will be there to pay their respects, not to disrespect him. This journey can overturn the unsavoury associations of the first journey. This time, Richard will be carried from the battlefield to an honourable reburial as king in the presence of the great and good (who get the tickets for the Cathedral). The event will be filmed so that literally hundreds of thousands of people all over the world can feel part of it.

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:32 am

Yes, quite. And I think that any royal/state funeral contains an element of re-enactment in that they are intentionally theatrical, and there's a degree to which they are done to remind people of how these things were done in the past. When you see Churchill buried (and listening to Churchill's funeral on the radio is my earliest memory of a public event) you're *supposed* to think of the burial of a Caesar. When you see Maggie buried, you're supposed to think of Churchill and so on.

Actually - if he'd had a proper funeral at the time, wouldn't his procession have been headed by a life-like wooden effigy of himself, wearing his clothes? And how theatrical is that?

[Or was that idea of the funerary effigy introduced later by Henry for his wife? Anybody?]
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Thibault

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:52 am

No, I think funeral effigies have a long history. There is one still extant for Edward III.
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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:07 am

Right. If somebody proposed heading up the modern procession with a reconstructed plastic Richard everybody would be screaming about how tacky it was - but the Mediaeval church had already got "tacky" down pat. I think Good Taste is largely a 20th C invention.
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Thibault

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:22 am

Not just the Medieval Church either.  I have seen the body of Saint Bernadette dressed in her habit and lying in a glass coffin.  She was exhumed and reburied in 1925.  I have also seen the body of the Cure d'Ars, also in a glass coffin.  I have seen religious processions in France and Austria where bits of saints' remains are paraded around an area.

Poor St Therese of Lisieux had her body divided into three - one part is buried at Lisieux, one bit is somewhere else (I forget where exactly) and the third part is frequently sent abroad on tours.  That part went to Ireland a few years ago, so that the faithful could come and pay their respects to it/them.
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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:23 am

I didn't know St Therese got divided up - but I know there are some Catholic churches even in Britain which have preserved saints' bodies on display.

It's not just Catholics, either. When I was 20-ish the stuffed, dressed body of Jeremy Bentham still sat in a glass case in the entrance hall of University College London, surveying the college he founded - although his head was a wax reconstruction and his actual skull was kept in a box (a hat box, iirc). I have seen him sitting there myself. I believe he's been moved since but afaik they still take his body along to important college meetings, where he is listed as "present but not voting".
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Constantia

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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:47 am

Thibault wrote:
But I see it as giving Richard's remains the respect he was denied post Bosworth.  This time, his body will be carried from the battlefield in honour.  The people who line the route will be there to pay their respects, not to disrespect him.

I imagine that many of the people who turned out to watch the first inexpressibly horrible procession had regarded Richard as their anointed king (as he was) and watched with tears and horror. The post mortem wounds to his body must have been inflicted by Henry's men, perhaps the French mercenaries for whom he was the English enemy or the Welsh contingent who, blinded by Henry's propaganda, regarded him as an oppressor, with Henry as the "Welsh" hero who would save them from the "Saxons" (boy, were they wrong!), not by the ordinary citizens who watched the spectacle. Many of the citizens of Leicester (and Bosworth?) would have seen Richard ride into town in splendor, armor gleaming, banners catching the wind, row after row of men on horse and foot. They must have been shocked that he had been killed and appalled that the invading usurper treated him in such a manner. Even those who sympathized with the revived "Lancastrian" cause must have been revolted at such treatment. Rather than a jeering or cheering crowd, I picture white-faced people watching the spectacle in horrified silence. A few might have pointed to his back (if it was facing them and if he was face down) and sneered or whispered, but most, I think, would have been silent and some, perhaps, in tears for their fallen sovereign or holding back rage at such disreputable treatment of an anointed king. People do not automatically welcome a foreign invader who "conquers" their king, and Henry Tudor was a nobody, known only to diehard Lancastrians, disaffected Yorkists who had joined Buckingham's rebellion, and associates of Margaret Beaufort. Stories that Richard was a feared and hated oppressor believed by the English public to have killed his nephews are a Tudor invention. Only after Henry had become "king," repealed TR, and spread his anti-Richard propaganda did that become the general view.
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PostSubject: Re: Petitions relating to the Reburial of Richard III   Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:54 pm

Yes - in fact one of the chronicles says something about there never before having been so many men rallying to support one man (Richard). He lost not because he was unpopular but because he had to send north for part of his armies and the York levies didn't manage to make it to Leicester in time, whereas Henry marched through his area of greatest support and collected his men as he went. Also because the soap-opera which was Mediaeval dynastic marriage had left Stanley having to choose between his king and his stepson.
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