This week we have re-buried Richard III , our King who was found in a Council car park, under an actual parking bay with the letter ‘R’ imposed upon it.
Stranger things may have happened but Richard III was actually King of England 7 years before Christopher Columbus sailed into the new world which puts things into perspective somewhat.
The Council car park actually used to be part of the playground of a school, not one which I actually attended but there were girls whom I knew actually went to that school. As I used to play in my school netball team, I recall playing a match against this schools netball team, perhaps I once actually ‘danced’ on this Kings grave….who knew….
The school that I actually did attend ( sporadically I must admit) was closer to Market Bosworth where the Battle of Bosworth actually took place, and where Henry Tudor took Richards life. I have to admit, we used to visit the field where the Battle of Bosworth took place as part of our history lessons and it was actually just that….a field until a few years ago it got a visitors centre and re-enactments every August. I imagine that this will also become a massive tourist destination.
There are streets and schools name after good old King Dick in Leicester, and without actually knowing it, we have been brought up to know this King without actually realising this. Wow , we used to throw fishing lines from Bow Bridge where ( myth had it) King Richards body was hastily thrown into the river on his return to leicester thrown on the back of a horse.
So there were camera crews from all over the world in our unassuming town last weekend and crowds lined the streets in a way that has not been seen for any dead person for a long time ( apart form Princess Diana, but then again, this chap has been dead for over 500 years old ).
This has got me thinking, the history of our respective countries never fail to fascinate mon-natives but the history of our own countries bores us all rigid.
I have an Italian friend who knows far far more about British history than I ever will. She says its because its interesting and the Italians are ‘so boring’. Wow have you ever been to Rome? Or Pompeii? My God , those Romans were bloody brilliant. Spartacus is one of my all time favourite films ( mind you I think that has something to do with Kirk Douglas) but even without this fabulous Hollywood adaption, the Romans were awesome. All we Brits did was cover ourselves in Woad and try to scare them off with out blue faces ( it didn’t work but they must have just got fed up with the rain).
As I get older and I think this probably relates to most of us, I appreciate my Country more than I used to. I used to hanker for those tall shiny skyscrapers – modern architecture does still excite me it makes my heart beat fast – but now I really do enjoy just living in a country where, if you look for it, history will grab you by the throat and take your breath away.
This week I bought a long stem white rose (all profits to the cathedral) and unashamedly ( and very Britishly) queued for a few hours for the opportunity to shuffle past a very plain Oak box in which there laid the remains of an young King cut down in his prime and as patriotic tears pricked my eyes, I laid that rose down with the thousands of others and felt blessed that, us common people, still had the opportunity to lay our eyes upon a Royal coffin, knowing that I, along with thousands of others, have witnessed something very very special.