When I was 9, part of one of my school projects was to paint a picture of King Richard III. All the kids in my class dropped their mouths in awe. “He looks like The Undertaker!” I remember them saying, impressed (note it was the early ’90s and WWW Wrestling was big at the time). I often wonder what it would look like today and sure it would be terrible.
I always had a fascination for History, mostly war and epidemics and would love to be on an archaeology yet on the contrary, it was so boring when I reached a Comprehensive school. It wasn’t fun anymore.
Anyway, getting back to topic, when I heard about King Richard being discovered in a Council car park (above in the blocked area above) in Leicester, 2012, my ears pricked up again and wanted to see where he was found. So as we live 30 minutes drive away from the location, we planned a day out to the new Visitor Centre and where he was buried.
Just between the opening of the Visitor Centre and Leictester Cathedral, we were greeted with a large proud Kind Richard III monument. It’s handy that these are adjacent as we found out his new burial was in the Cathedral itself, but we’ll get to that shortly.
Once we entered, I had to take this photo of shopper bags and pin badges in the Visitor Centre that said “I heart King Richard III”. We were left feeling his story was inconclusive as to whether he was good or bad. Things can’t have helped with Shakespeare parodying him as an “Evil Cripple” due to his Scoliosis condition., although I gut feeling he was good, or hope anyhow.
The start of the visit was an interactive video broken between two built arches setting the scene of his childhood and then following the door on the right. We then walked through the building to read several possible facts which I would say take up 80% part of the visit. I do think it would have been more entertaining with more visual methods of learning or handsets with headphones for those who don’t like reading.
I personally found story about the excavation and what they found the most interesting, learning about the process, the discovery and replicas of this skeleton with a confirmed hunchback and missing feet. Apparently they must have chopped off after the burial when another building had been put in place.
Now referring back to the photo of the blocked room in the car park photo above, on the other side of it is a glass floor above the crude shallow grave where Kind Richard had been found. He had been discovered in a hands-tied position, cramped and not far below original floor level. You can see his glowing skeleton hologram below. It was spooky to walk on the glass in fear of falling but of course it is safe, but in respect, it is sectioned off directly above his original resting place.
His new coffin was a beautiful marble and tucked away at the back. It was free to enter but a suggested donation would be accepted.
I hoped this gave you a sense of being there, particularly to those who are not able to visit. However, I definitely recommend going for yourself.
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