KRIII Visitor Centre Review

I have heard plenty about the King Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester. Some positive, including the recent architectural award that the centre won, but plenty that was less complimentary. I finally made it there to judge for myself with my daughter and, for those who may be interested, here are my thoughts on the exhibition, entitled Dyansty, Death and Discovery.

Richard III Statue outside Leicester Cathedral
Richard III Statue outside Leicester Cathedral

After buying our tickets, the first room to which we are directed is a flag stone floored chamber containing a throne, on which sit two discarded roses facing defiantly away from each other. This room offers an introduction to the Wars of the Roses from key figures in the life of Richard III – Cecily Neville, his mother, Richard Neville, the Kingmaker Earl of Warwick, Richard’s guardian as he grew to manhood, Vincent Tetulier, an armourer creating harness for Richard, Anne Neville, Richard’s wife and Edward IV, his brother and king. The brief tales they tell us mark stepping stones in Richard’s passage through the Wars of the Roses.

The Roses on the Throne
The Roses on the Throne

The throne was a cause of some controversy, with talk of the floor running with blood as a marker of Richard’s crimes. This was most likely taken out of context. Throughout the video, landmarks of the Wars of the Roses are projected onto the floor before the throne – the Battle of Towton etc – and shadowy blood seeps down from the throne. This very clearly relates to the prolonged bloodshed of the Wars of the Roses and caused me no offense. With a map of the battles of the Wars of the Roses and a family tree tracing the lines from Edward III to those involved in the troubles, this marks the Dynasty element of the display.

A example of the display in front of the throne
A example of the display in front of the throne

To the left of this room is an exhibition of the fabulous work of artist Graham Turner, whose medieval paintings are stunning. There is a fine array of his work here and it is a display not to be missed.

From the other side of the entrance display, the Visitor Centre walks us through the events of 1483 and Richard’s ascent to the throne. We are presented with the facts and offered opposing conclusions that can be drawn from these. Was Richard out for the crown from the beginning? Or was he reacting to events that happened around him? Whilst the displays may point out that most historians believe Richard was driving the events of that Spring and Summer (which, let’s face it, they do), it proffers the opposing view for the visitor to make up their own mind.

As you would expect from an exhibition that has seen input from the Richard III Society amongst others, the facts offered are just that – facts. I couldn’t fault any of them and there was no malevolent undercurrent dragging the viewer’s opinion of Richard down. A fine example of this is the display relating to the disappearance of Edward IV’s sons, the Princes in the Tower, which goes no further than noting that their uncertain fate cast a shadow over Richard’s reign. There can be no doubt that it did, and still does, but the exhibition does not lead the visitor to a pre-determined solution to the mystery.

The Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower

I gave a talk in a local village recently on the life of Richard III, and told those listening that I couldn’t provide them answers to most of the questions that I would ask. It isn’t an easy approach to take because it sets the message up to be unsatisfying, creating more questions than it answers. The easy thing for the Visitor Centre to do might have been to perpetuate the shadowy myths many believe they know. They have not taken this easy route and I applaud them for taking the risk inherent in not providing definitive answers and presenting the controversy as just that.

As we moved through Buckingham’s Rebellion and displays detailing the influence on events of France, Brittany and Henry Tudor’s rise, and with Bosworth looming, I was struck by the incredible design work done within the displays. Each is crisp, clear and well presented. The information is accessible and the presentation clever. I even raised a smile at the Stanley ‘Swing-o-Meter’, and it’s not very often that that name paints my face happy!

The Stanley Swing-o-Meter
The Stanley Swing-o-Meter

The display unashamedly informs us that the precise events at Bosworth are not clearly known, but that a view of the battle can be assembled from the fragments that have come down to us. Richard’s cavalry charge is dealt with as either a planned gambit, or an opportunistic reaction to the course of the battle, but a miscalculation either way. Is there much there to disagree with? The installation of pole-arms gives pause for thought. It is stark and brutal, just as Richard’s end was.

My one and only criticism of the exhibition comes here. It is a missed opportunity, an unfortunate perpetuation of a long-standing myth and a pet peeve of mine. We are told that ‘Shakespeare puts into Richard’s mouth an APPEAL for means of escape’ (display’s emphasis). No he doesn’t. The ‘A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!’ quote is almost always taken out of context as a display of cowardice. In the context of the whole speech, it’s meaning is perfectly clear:

KING RICHARD III:       A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

CATESBY:                      Withdraw, my lord; I’ll help you to a horse.

KING RICHARD III:      Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,                                        And I will stand the hazard of the die:                                        I think there be six Richmonds in the field;                                       Five have I slain to-day instead of him.                                       A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

Richard calls for a horse. Catesby thinks that he means to flee, or at least encourages him to do so. Richard responds vehemently that he has cast the die of fate and will face the consequences. He has no intention of fleeing. He tells Catesby that there must be six Henry Tudors on the battlefield, because he has killed five men who he had mistaken for his enemy. He calls once more for a fresh horse, but he wants it to return him to the fray, to allow him to continue hunting Tudor, not to flee. Even Shakespeare, like every other writer on Richard’s end at Bosworth, concedes Richard’s bravery amongst the plethora of faults he imbues his character with. Even Shakespeare cannot deny him this. It would have been nice to have seen this misconception challenged rather than reinforced.

Shakespeare's Richard III
Shakespeare’s Richard III

From here, the exhibition moves upstairs and it is a clear demarcation between the Death and the Discovery elements of the exhibition. The downstairs area has a thoroughly medieval feel that fits perfectly with its story. Upstairs is bright and crisp, telling the story first of Shakespeare’s version of Richard III and theatrical depictions through the ages. Revisionists such as Josephine Tey and Paul Murray Kendall get a look in at this point to, presenting both sides of Richard’s reputation through the centuries with equal weight.

Richard's Revisionists
Richard’s Revisionists

The connection between Shakespeare and Richard III is something many wish to disentangle as the main source of a conceived and incorrect image of Richard. I don’t think that this is necessarily required. It is the way in which many will first come into contact with Richard III and a proportion will go no further. Ricardians can harness Shakespeare to increase exposure to the truth. I have never viewed Shakespeare’s Richard III as anything but a masterpiece and I will never alter that opinion. But it is fiction. And the exhibition does a very good job of pointing that out to the visitor. For example, the story, we are told, draws upon an ancient notion of the evil uncle. It is clearly presented as fiction and I have to applaud this.

The story then moves through to the Discovery section, with details of the Looking for Richard Project’s initiation of the work, continuing through the University of Leicester’s involvement in the dig. I didn’t feel that the contributions of the Looking for Richard Project were belittled or sidelined. We listened to interviews with Philippa Langley and, although they didn’t occupy as much space as the details of the dig itself, which focussed on the University, their contribution was well presented.

Then there is the now infamous ‘Stormtrooper’ white suit of armour. It is, indeed, very white. Numbered blue stickers relate to a key beside the suit that names each of the pieces of armour that Richard would have worn. I didn’t feel that it created the impression that this was Richard’s actual armour, nor that his armour was bright white. Perhaps it might allow that misinterpretation I suppose. Museum curators have pointed out that such techniques are accepted and not uncommon teaching methods which, if anything, prevent the impression that this is an original suit of armour worn by Richard. That kind of suggests that the display couldn’t win either way. It’s either a Stormtrooper or creates a false impression of having Richard’s actual armour. Which is the lesser of those two evils? A decision had to be made. I didn’t find it ridiculous, though it didn’t quite seem natural either. Maybe it wasn’t meant to. It would certainly have been out of place downstairs, but fits in upstairs.

The Armour
The Armour

We also saw the 3D print out of Richard’s spine and then the 3D recreation of the full skeleton with details of the wounds found on the remains. The marks detailed and clearly visible were powerful reminders of a savage death in a time we barely understand now. It was not only Richard that suffered this fate. Many others did at Bosworth, and many thousands had over the previous decades of civil war, countless further suffering similar fates in France. Neither was Richard the last to suffer in such a way, but it is a very personal and poignant moment to see what was done to a named individual, especially one who I have studied and tried to understand for so long.

The 3D Spine
The 3D Spine
3D Skeleton
3D Skeleton

Moving back downstairs, the final part of the exhibition leads to a quiet room with a glass section of flooring which overlooks the still-exposed site of the grave in which Richard III was found. Across the back wall is carved a verse from a prayer that can be found in his personal Book of Hours, a common prayer in his day, asking for God’s help in time of trouble, and offering him thanks for the gifts that He grants. I thought that this room was beautifully done. I don’t know quite what I expected, but I was thoroughly impressed.

Prayer from Richard's Book of Hours
Prayer from Richard’s Book of Hours

I was fortunate enough to visit the dig site during one of the open days, though we couldn’t see this site at the time. At intervals, a projection of the skeleton identifies the exact spot that the remains were found and how they were laid out. Although I think I see the need for this, I am glad that it isn’t on all of the time. The vacant space was enough for me. Looking into it, surrounded by buildings of so many eras, it reminds me how close the grave site must have come to complete destruction and eternal loss plenty of times.

The discovery of Richard III’s remains is an opportunity that was realised against all odds by a dedicated team at the Looking for Richard Project. I have nothing but respect and gratitude for their work. The University deserve a good deal of credit to for their technical expertise and experience in carrying out the dig. What has followed has often been unseemly and, in my opinion, unnecessary. I thoroughly understand that many deem it more than necessary and I do not seek to diminish their conviction nor challenge their right to it. If we seek to present Richard III as a more tolerant figure than history has passed to us, shouldn’t we also be more tolerant of differing views amongst ourselves?

I recently wrote to The Leicester Mercury and they were kind enough to publish my letter on their website. My call was to stop trying to portray Richard at either pole of the ‘goodie’ and ‘baddie’ scale but to seek out and try to understand the real man. The discovery of his remains has been far more divisive than I wish it had been. I think, if I’m honest, I was dreading the Visitor Centre pouring fuel onto the fire, kindling the destructive flames and peddling unreasonable, traditional nonsense in a sensationalist bid to cash in on the discovery.

I was very, very pleasantly surprised.

Okay, an ardent Ricardian may not learn anything new about Richard’s story, but for me, this should be aimed squarely at challenging what those who are less interested believe they know about Richard III.

The Visitor Centre achieves this.

By presenting the options without defining the conclusion the visitor should reach.

By using stunning graphics in a well defined and delineated space.

By pitching a message at exactly the right level.

By rounding it all off with a stunning, peaceful place to contemplate all that you have seen whilst reminding you that this is a very human story.

The story of a man.

I would thoroughly recommend going to see the exhibitions at the King Richard III Visitor Centre. An informative experience if you know little of the truth about Richard III.

A poignant space if your interest runs deeper.

Whatever you fear – misinformation, a lack of respect – lay those fears to rest. Richard III is done justice in that space. At least, I believe he is. Why not visit and see what you think?

Perhaps it is time for an end to York v Leicester, and a time for united Ricardians v the lies.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of the Centre.

I have written more about Shakespeare’s Richard III at mattlewisauthor.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/william-shakespeares-richard-iii-the-convenient-villain and at royalcentral.co.uk/blogs/history/the-defence-of-king-richard-iii-part-4-bosworth-shakespeare-that-horse-14699.

The letter on The Leicester Mercury website can be found at www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Richard-III-Stop-looking-saint-demon-try-man/story-24519152-detail/story.html

Matthew Lewis is the author of a brief biography of Richard III, A Glimpse of King Richard III along with a brief overview of the Wars of the Roses, A Glimpse of the Wars of the Roses.

Matt’s has two novels available too; Loyalty, the story of King Richard III’s life, and Honour, which follows Francis, Lord Lovell in the aftermath of Bosworth.

The Richard III Podcast and the Wars of the Roses Podcast can be subscribed to via iTunes or on YouTube

Matt can also be found on Twitter @mattlewisauthor.

33 thoughts on “KRIII Visitor Centre Review

  1. I recently visited the centre for the first time and loved it. I am from Leicester and all the recent wrangling and divisiveness has been so very disappointing. It was heartening to see the respectful and, I thought, quite moving way in which the city has chosen to tell Richard’s story.

  2. Thank you, Matt. I was resigned to Leicester’s possession of the King but not convinced that the visitor centre would be appropriate.

    It must be said that the Richard III Society along with Philippa Langley and John Ashdown-Hill and the rest of the Looking for Richard team, insisted that their views and wishes be complied with, including using Philippa’s original text rather than an edited version the visitor centre concocted.

    Then, recognition for John Ashdown-Hill’s huge contribution had to be fought for. This is not hearsay. I’m a member of the Richard III Society so this is straight from the horse’s mouth.

    The principal players have never left Richard’s side and they must be exhausted. The two main players must surely have a place at the reinterment. No other concessions or invitations have been made available to the society.

    I’m glad you vetted it for me! To be honest I don’t think I have the heart to go for myself. If his laying to rest is suitably reverent, glorious and fitting for him, as a man and a sovereign, I would like to pay my respects at some future time.

    The RIII Society have also pushed Leicester Cathedral for some Medieval refinements to the pop-art tomb and surrounding area, which is a great relief. They should not have had to fight for any of these small concessions.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Mary.

      Hopefully people will find their pre-conceived notions challenged and might be nudged to discover more. Picking up the right book after visiting the Centre could start many more journeys.

  3. Thank you Matt for your review – I am more reassured about the message that is being put across by the visitor centre, even if I’m not sure I agree with you about the need for Shakespeare’s version to be so prominent (the photos of the McKellen SS uniform that were posted still concern me – for me, that is too striking and raw an image of recent tyranny and genocide to be seen as neutral within Richard’s story, particularly for younger visitors who carry such strong images on with them). I haven’t been myself and like Mary above doubt I will – although perhaps the grave site itself might change my mind (a shame this alone can’t be accessed at a discounted entry rate!)
    I agree with much of what Mary says, especially about how exhausted the LFR must be at having to fight for everything and the problems they have encountered at every turn. It should be noted perhaps that the LFR were unable to ‘insist’ on their views being complied with – and that initially the agreed-upon text for much of the exhibition was discarded – it’s only more recently that the centre has agreed to reinstate it (perhaps as a result of the outcry about various aspects of it on social and other media as well as discussions with the LFR and RIIISoc as mentioned on their websites). This material includes recognition of those Ricardians who stepped in with their donations to save the project after an early sponsor pulled out (the Ricardian International Appeal organized at very short notice by Annette Carson) and greater recognition of Dr Ashdown-Hill’s vital contribution.
    Away from the visitor centre, I think there are still questions to be asked about the treatment of Richard’s remains and the proposed plans for the reburial – personally I am very uneasy about the procession to Bosworth and back (for remains too fragile to be taken to a place of Catholic sanctity as agreed in the original agreement with the LFR as well as whether it is appropriate to rerun that journey), the fact that the requiem mass won’t be said over Richard’s remains, what other plans there might be for those days (e.g. the employment of a theatre group to create ‘several theatrical pieces throughout the celebratory service’ for the reinterment?), the fundraising by ‘seats for sale’, who the so-called ‘Bosworth peers’ are and what role they may have, why there were no representatives of the LFR among the ‘other key people’ at the ‘Bosworth peers’ dinner in London, among other things. I’m afraid I can’t say I’m resigned to Leicester’s ‘possession’ of the King after their apparent assumption that he ‘belongs’ to them and they can do with him what they like, only giving any small piece of ground once they are pushed and pushed (too many examples to give). I totally agree, however, with Matt that we should all join together as Ricardians v. the lies (wherever and whoever they come from, including the modern ‘myths’ that are growing up and that John Ashdown-Hill, among others, has highlighted).

    1. A brilliant post, Caroline and more detail than I was aware of. My local MP is the Minister for Justice so he was lobbied – and he knew it – over the consultation rights for Richard’s final resting place.

      I posted here, there and everywhere and put myself at the mercy of internet trolls. I don’t care anymore if I get shot down in flames – they were sure to tell me they live in Leicester.

      ‘Resigned’ is, of course, a very negative word. It means that I could not stop the King’s reinterment in the wrong place and had to accept this or go mad. I can only hope that the Cathedral will suitably honour him.

      Your empathy is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    2. Thank you for reading and commenting, Carol. I understand the issue with the SS uniform but it cannot be denied that that production happened. Perhaps by placing it in the light of the reasons Shakespeare wrote his fictional account it can help to correct the terrible parallel you mention. At least, I hope it would.

      I can do nothing but agree with the praise you suggest that the LFR deserve. Their tireless work deserves applause.

      Hopefully this can prove to be positive and encourage people to challenge what they think they know and perhaps to seek more of the truth.

    3. Carol, I apologise for misreading your name earlier. I was doing a bit of multi-tasking at the time but wanted to get back to you today.

  4. As you know Matt, I am a supporter of yours and love your books and recent talk at Enville but I am afraid I cannot agree with you here. I have heard about too many horrendous and unbelievable goings on behind the scenes, personally from those involved, to ever set foot in the Visitor Centre. They have behaved in the most undignified and shocking way that if it were made into a film, people would say ‘’as if?’’ I personally cannot see the place for Shakespeare there as Carol says (above) either as it is perpetuating the myth that resulted in Richard being tagged ‘evil’ ‘wicked’ ‘tyrant’ ‘murderer’ for the last 500 years. I would have preferred exhibits telling newcomers of all of his positive achievements i.e. his laws as passed in his one and only Parliament, quotes telling of his good character from those who came into contact with him, his building works at castles and cathedrals etc his good thoughts for the dead which demonstrate how important he obviously thought being buried in the right place was i.e moving the soldiers to consecrated ground off the battlefield at Towton and building a fine Chapel so prayers could be said for them (as the excellent series ‘Medieval Dead; Richard lll’s Lost Chapel’ showed us) He re-intered his father and brother back to Fotheringhay, their family home and King Henry VI to St George’s in Windsor. . . . . what a shame there is no-one who will take Richard back to his family home or to a Cathedral fit for a King, to be amongst Kings as he did for others. All of these are easily found on the web pages, so why carry on giving life to this outdated Shakesperian version of King Richard? These items are fine where they belong – in theatres, not in a place which is supposedly telling us of his Life – it isn’t his Life. The LFR team should NOT have had to fight for anything, they should have had the whole of the exhibition as they wanted it as I am sure they know a darn sight more about King Richard lll than Leicester ever will….. who are only concerned with his death because that is where they come in. Let’s face it, they have had years to look for Richard themselves, they didn’t have to rely on someone else doing it, but they chose not to and instead just repeated the legend that he was ‘thrown into the Soar’ . . . . . no Leicester, YOU did not find King Richard lll.

    1. “I personally cannot see the place for Shakespeare there”

      – Doubtless the majority of visitors only know about Richard through Shakespeare, and so his role in the creation of the evil ‘bunch-backed toad’ myth surely needs to be explained to avoid outright confusion. He is, after all, a key reason why Richard III was so reviled for so long.

      “I would have preferred exhibits telling newcomers of all of his positive achievements i.e. his laws as passed in his one and only Parliament, quotes telling of his good character from those who came into contact with him”

      -Such exhibits are indeed present, and form a considerable part of the ‘Dynasty’ story.

      “…why carry on giving life to this outdated Shakesperian version of King Richard?”

      -It doesn’t, it directly challenges that version. Have you even seen the exhibition?

    2. Hi. Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s okay to disagree on something every once in a while isn’t it? 😀

      I was trying to look at the exhibition from the point of view of visitors less immersed than we might be. I think there is enough balance to encourage them to leave thinking maybe what they thought they knew isn’t quite true.

      I would be concerned that if Shakespeare had been completely ignored, it would have been an elephant in the room. It is how most people acquire their image of Richard III and it is valuable to challenge that and explain how that image came down to us.

      His Parliament and law making is dealt with by one installation which asks how we should remember Richard, though his building works and movement of Henry VI are not.

      I can appreciate your proximity to some of the struggles behind the scenes have impacted upon your impression of the Centre, but all of the hard work was worth it if the right impression is left on visitors. If the message delved too deep and became too complex it wouldn’t keep the attention of less deeply interested visitors. The very nature of Richard’s story means that no exhibition would please everyone.

      I left hopeful that visitors would have their pre-conceptions challenged and that some might be inspired to further study, which would be the best outcome we could hope for.

      Thank you again for commenting. I hope we’re still friends!

      1. “His Parliament and law making is dealt with by one installation which asks how we should remember Richard, though his building works and movement of Henry VI are not.”

        -True, although the installation is very involved, and includes objects, text, and audio. It is also very favourable to Richard and his laws, and leans heavily towards the view that he was a good king looking to improve the lot of the common man. The building works and relocation of Henry VI are, as you say, not mentioned, but if the designers had gone into every detail of every part of his life then the exhibition would have to be an awful a lot bigger than it currently is.

        I think we should also remember that the Centre is now run by an independent body, who have essentially been given the exhibition as-is, and have had no say in what is actually inside it. This is something of a poison-chalice in my opinion, as during both of my visits I heard staff-members (who are excellent) being harrangued for decisions the council made long before they were ever brought into the project. The council, the university, and the centre, are not synonymous.

  5. When talking to a taxi driver
    on Madeira today, who was driving us to church and was interested in Richard, he was horrified that the queen had shown no interest. He probably didn’t know York Minster – but said straight away -‘surely Westminster Abbey or Windsor’.

    1. Neither you nor I can say the Queen showed ‘no interest’. We do know, from the Judicial Review ruling, that the Queen was ‘content’ with a Leicester re-burial. I suggest the evidence shows that she is very interested in the fate of the bones and that this interest has manifested itself in her full support for their reinterment in a city whose ethnically diverse population has always given her a very warm welcome.

  6. As i have visited Leicester twice this year, and took some friends around. I have to say its a fairly balanced attraction. Some of the displays in the upper floors could be re-tweeked. However the Visitors Centre is a credit to the city. I will be back soon to visit. Richard has always been a big part of Leicester. Many roads have been named after him years before, they found him. It was on the city councils land where he was located. So without the city councils permission, there would have been no dig. Richard laid in the city for over 500 years. Leicester has strong royal influence and the remains of the Last Plantagenet have been looked after secure. The York vs Leicester is becoming boring and its destroying. It has to stop if you care for Richard III to have a decent funeral and a burial please respect he will be.

  7. Thank you, Matthew, for an objective view of the Visitor Centre. There has been too much of the ‘…let’s give it a poor review, even without seeing it, because it is in Leicester…..’ approach in many writings about it on the Internet.

  8. I have to agree with Carol FW and Blancsanglier too. I would far rather Richard’s remains did NOT stay in Leicester but it looks as if that will happen – but a major part of many people’s dislike of the Leicester officials is due to their gloating, dismissive and money grabbing attitude. Their oft repeated pronouncements of treating the very significant matter of Richard’s reburial with honour, dignity and respect sound hollow when compared with their advertised celebrations, days of ” events ” which will culminate in a trip of about 30 miles to Bosworth and back to Leicester, while stating at the same time that Richard’s bones are so ” fragile ” that they cannot be released for a short repose and coffining in a nearby place of Catholic sanctity !. That Richard has been betrayed a 2nd time,since the momentous discovery of his remains, which was entirely due to the LFR team and NOT Leicester, and the plans for the funeral procession supposedly recreating his last journey, I find heart – breaking, sad and nauseating.

  9. I am rather on the fence here. I hate all the arguing going on about his re-interment. I have a couple of comments though. Firstly, regarding the re-creation of his final journey which seems to be the new point of contention. I did not see it as a repeat of the dishonourable journey his body made in 1485, but rather a righting of that wrong by creating new memories and replacing disrespect and insult with respect and honour instead. I agree that his bones should be allowed to lie in a Catholic Church for a mass to be said, and the points made about the claims of the bones’ fragility.

    I think he may well have wished to be buried in York, but the arguments about the commercialism of Leicester and cashing in seem a bit hypocritical. I have recently visited both Leicester Cathedral and York Minster, both for the first time (this was before the Visitor Centre opened). York Minster is terribly commercial! It was £10 to get in at all (I’m sure Richard would not have approved of charging to enter a place of worship!) and there were ‘Please donate’ signs literally everywhere. Of course, it is expensive to run and repair it, but the point is that whoever had possession of Richard’s remains would have “cashed in” – it’s the way of the world unfortunately. Wherever his remains lie will be a tourist attraction.

    I really liked Leicester Cathedral and I think the most important thing is that Richard is given the respect he deserved and never had before. Please let’s all be friends now!

    1. What a lovely post. Very reasoned and balanced.

      Your point about York Minster’s commercialism is interesting as you visited there and so saw it for yourself. I’m very pleased to hear that you really liked Leicester Cathedral when you visited.

      With the eyes of the world upon them they have to get The King’s reinterment absolutely right from start to finish. I’m sure they’ll give it everything they’ve got in honour of King Richard III.

  10. Thank you for the very detailed and positive appraisal of our visitor centre Matt. It is just a shame that above is another oppotunity grabbed by the Leicester bashers and nothing to do with your great article and views of the centre and the story. Hey Deb?

    1. “Leicester bashers”? Any city which had acquired The King’s remains by default would have been under scrutiny to abide by pre-agreed terms with those who initiated and financed the dig in the first place – and as it happens, in the ‘right’ place.

      It’s not the City, it’s the principle.

  11. Matt – thank you, thank you, thank you. I live in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and while “never say never” at my advancing age I am probably not going to visit the UK to see these wonderful sights for myself. Thanks to your descriptive ability I really feel like I’ve seen the RIII Visitor Center. I certainly hope to see it in person at some point, but if I don’t, I feel I experienced it in some way, and that is thanks to you.

  12. Thank you all for your comments here. Please try to avoid any bashing of any kind on my blog. I don’t approve of it and can remove comments if they become unreasonable. Constructive debate, yes, not destructive please.

  13. Thanks for your review of the visitor center. I’m in Minnesota, USA, and the story of Richard III’s remains being found was in the news here soon after it happened but after that, dropped out of sight. So I had no idea a visitor center had even been built and not much idea of any controversies or bitterness surrounding the extraordinary event of finding a king under a parking lot–and the story of how he got there–all so improbable and amazing. Since he was from York, I imagine that Richard would have preferred to be buried there but I wonder–why not Westminster Abbey? Isn’t that where the monarchs of England have traditionally been buried? However, apparently this isn’t going to happen like that. I’m at some remove from the controversy–it doesn’t affect me much either way–but I do hope they correct the ignominy of Richard’s first burial in some kind of fitting ceremony.

    1. Richard was not ‘from York’. He was born in Northamptonshire, in the Midlands and lived for a time at various properties owned by his father. He spent time in Warwick’s household as a youth and then acted as king’s ‘viceroy’ in the north of England. His House was the House of York but that doesn’t mean any of the family were actually born in York or even Yorkshire. It is merely related to a title and not a place of birth.

  14. Also, would the author of this blog send me an e-mail? I have a couple of questions for you that I don’t want to post here. If you send me one I can reply to it. Thanks.

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