Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Richard III re-buried - white roses tell the tale

White roses really do tell a tale.
Beautiful embroidery of Richard's personal badges by members of Lord Burgh's Retinue 

Countless thousands turned out to past their last respects to Richard III whose mortal remains were finally laid to rest with dignity and honour in Leicester Cathedral, some 535 years after his first hasty burial in the chancel of the Greyfriars Priory church.


Leicester Cathedral had been re-ordered so that Richard’s tomb could be located in a similar position facing east, even as his cramped grave at Greyfriars had been. The cathedral was able to offer a thoughtful service closely modelled on a newly discovered description of an actual medieval re-interment. A service that Richard was probably familiar with, since the re-discovered manuscript related to the re-interment of his wife Anne Neville’s grandfather.  


The present Archbishop of Canterbury presided over the  lowering of the coffin into the tomb. It was an Archbishop of Canterbury who crowned Richard over half a millennium ago. Following the re-interment the delicate task of sealing the tomb with a raised two ton block of Swaledale fossil limestone began, continuing overnight.  A ceremony to reveal the tomb took place the following day with queues immediately forming to view the modern, but simple monument.


A dark raised plinth engraved with Richard's details and his motto "Loyaulte me lie" (Loyalty binds me)



A deeply incised cross will catch the morning rays of sunlight



All natural materials were used in the floral displays
Hollowed tree trunks used with symbolic lilies
Throughout the week of services and the viewing of the resting coffin and later Richard's tomb itself, floral arrangements with white roses, lilies, greenery and hazel twigs were lain about or arranged in hollowed tree trunks.

The many hundreds of white roses, left by well wishers during three days of repose before the re-burial, and several days of viewing of Richard’s tomb, were not wasted but re-worked into new arrangements covering every available surface. This use of flowers during Lent was a poignant exception to usual church practice. Here are some of the "re-cycled" flowers seen by the end of the week on Palm Sunday.



Re-cycled white roses form those left by visitors were made into floral tributes 



Every available surface festooned with re-cycled floral tributes

Flowers in Leicester cathedral for Richard's services




And here is the emblem of the white rose of the House of York on Richard’s specially embroidered funeral pall, used to form a circlet for his specially commissioned funeral crown whose design also incorporated white enamelled roses.  

An authentic C15th design of gold plated crown with pearls and set with rubies and sapphires echoing Richard's livery colours, and placed atop the white roses. The crown was commissioned by historian John Ashdown-Hill and had been on display beforehand in York.


And finally white roses on MedievalMorsels’ pie commemorating the King and his forebears from the House of York.

One inch scale dollhouse food miniature pies to honour King Richard III, last English Medieval monarch