BURIAL OF KINGS

So the body of Richard III has been discovered under a car park in Leicester, flung in a shallow grave without markings.   It was very odd looking at the bones and in particular his skull and realising that he had actually looked like the portrait we have of him.    I’ve often wondered, as we recognise long dead kings from their portrait, if they were really like that?   Well, it appears we can go on believing that Henry VIII had a fat face and a mean and vicious little mouth;   and that James VI and I may have been the wisest fool in Christendom but he may also have been the ugliest;  and that Charles I was so royal and majestic he couldn’t concentrate on mundane matters like keeping his head on his shoulders.

So what will happen to Richard III’s bones?   Not I hope the dreadful ignominy of having them displayed in a museum.   I feel anguish on behalf of every mummy, bog man, or one of the early native peoples whose bones are displayed for our instruction or entertainment.

If the royalists in this country hope to retain some vestiges of belief in the holiness of monarchy, they had better express some interest in the matter.

The bones appear to belong, beyond reasonable doubt, to one who once was king of England.   Personally I do not believe either in the sanctity of kings, nor of the legitimacy of one who has caused a clerical officiant to place a crown upon his head.   So for myself I would be content to bury him in any decent place set aside for the purpose, with a stone commemorating who he once was.   Leicester would be as good a place as any.

But if I were Queen?   Then, for all that the kings of England are descended from his opponent who dealt so ungenerously with him, I’d want him buried as befits a king of England.     His bones put in a coffin as befits his rank and lain in state for the usual number of days;  black horses and a military escort to carry him to Westminster Abbey, where we bury our kings.   I might not attend myself personally, but I’d expect the presumed future kings of England to walk behind his hearse in the procession, and the Ministers of the Crown to be in attendance.

The Russians, even after their bloody revolution, when it came to the burial of the remains of their murdered Tsar, buried him with full ceremony with the President, Boris Yeltsin, and his wife, in attendance.

If you believe in the dignity of kings, there cannot be exceptions.   Once you start deciding that the claim of one who was king to have the customary burial is no longer valid, you’re on a slippery slope where many things might be doubtful that you once thought safe forever.

There seems little doubt that here are the bones of Richard III, king of England.   The tale of how his body was disposed of does not reflect at all creditably on his successor.     In our century, let us bury him like a king.

We live in dangerous times for monarchs, for every man regards himself as a citizen with rights and entitlements, and not as a subject with duties and obligations.   There may not be many more kings to bury.

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About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

One Response to BURIAL OF KINGS

  1. Sheena says:

    Well said, Anne.

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