Richard in Leicester

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As the recently unearthed remains of what might be Richard III undergo serious and extensive examination, the city of Leicester is taking the opportunity to draw in visitors. The display of materials from the dig in the suitably timber-framed Guildhall, Leicester’s oldest building, offers Richard III enthusiasts a way of feeling closer to the excavations and, of course, to the man himself.

There are also new tours that show visitors ‘key Richard III locations around Leicester’, and small pilgrimages to the bronze statue that stands resolutely un-deformed and brandishing its crown in Castle Gardens just outside the city centre.

Richard III in Castle Gardens

I was also rather amused when I discovered that travel deals in Leicester had now announced themselves as ‘Richard III heritage breaks’, offering cheap hotel stays and visits to Bosworth.

With the revival of enthusiasm for Richard III, I’m struck by how swiftly these tourist offerings have emerged since the official announcement of the discovery. I wonder if there will be flash mob Shakespeareans performing Richard in the street, or pop-up merchants selling Richard III pencil sharpeners and little boar badges outside the cathedral.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks’ wait for the DNA results, Leicester certainly won’t allow it to be a dull interlude.

Are you planning to visit the dig? Have you any predictions/ suggestions for upcoming Richard III related activities in Leicester?  Please leave your thoughts below.

 

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Author:Anjna Chouhan

Anjna is Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
  • Keith McDonald

    I had been half-curious as to whether the virulently anti-Richard brigade would be producing effigies for bonfires this past week. My ensuing ignorance disappoints me greatly.

    What a sign of enlightened times, if the tests offer any kind of confirmation. There’s Cromwell exhumed in 1660/1 to be hanged and beheaded. 350 years later, we’re digging up to perform a DNA test and sport tourism opportunities.

    If the identification is confirmed beyond reasonable doubt (are we even certain that’s possible?), the interesting question will be whether he is laid to rest in Leicester or in York. Does the historical ‘event’ supercede a King’s known demands? Tricky!

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