Saturday, April 11, 2015
About the Queen....
I can't believe it has been three weeks since the dramatic events in Leicester. I'm still processing everything that happened. Friends & family who don't ordinarily share my love of history in general & fascination with Richard III in particular still comment on the events as they followed them via my posts on Facebook & news stories they saw in the papers & on TV.
And yet, there are still those who want to do nothing but complain about the events in Leicester because they wanted Richard III reinterred in York Minster. They hold themselves out as the only "true" Ricardians, & some of these elitist snobs showed up in Leicester bound & determined to find offense at every possible thing. And because you always find what you're looking for, they did. I've seen complaints about the young girl who placed the crown on Richard's coffin (just who in their right mind complains about a CHILD?), complaints that "true" Ricardians weren't allowed to hold up the repose line at the Cathedral so they could pray (read: perform) by the coffin (the fact that they were in a Cathedral with chapels set aside for that purpose apparently eluded them), and of course, complaints that the Queen did not attend the reinterment because she "hates" Richard. Seriously. The cattiness & pettiness these "true" Ricardians have put out there in social media is as embarrassing as it is ignorant & uninformed.
According to information I learned from a friend & from the Yeoman Warders who attended the reinterment themselves, the Queen very much approved of the events in Leicester. But why didn't she attend the reinterment herself? For many reasons, apparently, & none of them have anything to do with "Tudor propaganda."
First of all, the Queen does not attend funeral services & as it turned out, she had a prior engagement to honor veterans of the Battle of Britain. As the niece of uncles & aunts who served in WWII, I dare anyone to tell me this event was "minor" or "unimportant.". Second, however, is the fact that the Duke of Gloucester has long been the patron of the Richard III Society & has been involved in the search & discovery of Richard III's remains for a very long time. If the Queen had attended the service, she would have taken attention away from the Duke of Gloucester at his own event, something that Royal protocol does not permit.
In a further show of her approval, the Queen asked the Countess of Wessex to attend the reinterment ceremony as her personal representative. The Queen also permitted two or three Heralds from her own Household to attend, including the Herald of the Garter. To keep from upstaging the Duke of Gloucester, however, they were only permitted to wear their chains of office & not their regalia.
Also in attendance with the approval of the Queen, and with permission to wear regalia, was the Lord Constable of the Tower. The Lord Constable always travels with two Yeoman Warders as his personal escorts and they were also in their blue undress uniforms with permission from the Queen. (See photo above.) Had the Queen not given her consent, the Lord Constable and his escorts would have attended in civilian clothing.
As you can see, far from disapproving of the reinterment ceremonies, the Queen was actually quite engaged & approved of them. Yes, I am disappointed that I did not get to see her, but I am glad to learn that she permitted so many to attend, some in their regalia, because it added to the pomp & ceremony of the occasion.
The above picture was taken on Thursday, after the ceremonies, at the Queen of Bradgate. My friends & I went to get some lunch & while we were there, the Yeoman Warders showed up. They were incredibly friendly & very informative, patiently putting up with our questions & requests for photographs. It turns out that they are Ricardians themselves (!!!) & were planning to come up to Leicester anyway on their day off just to stand in the crowd, when their boss asked them to escort him to the ceremony. They were taking back a couple of souvenirs for another Yeoman Warder who couldn't attend, but is also a Ricardian.
And as if that particular day couldn't get any more amazing, my friend Kim & I ended up sharing a cab back to our hotel with two of the Somerset heirs. How awesome is that!