I don’t know about you, but I’m missing Richard Rawlinson, our genially provocative once and future (I hope) blogger on religious affairs, fashion, art, you name it.
What brought my nostalgia home was reading about a cause close to his heart, the tug of war for the skeleton of Richard III (if it’s really him), dug up in a Leicester car park and now, under the terms of the exhumation order under a section 25 licence, in the ‘custody and possession’ of the University of Leicester, which is trying to find out if the bones really are royal and not just plebeian lookalikes by extracting mitochondrial DNA from them and comparing what they find with the DNA of Michael Ibsen, 55, a Canadian born London furniture-maker, the best living descendant they could find.
The tug of war is intensifying.
Leicester Cathedral wants dem bones if they’re any good and is working with the Royal Household and the Richard III Society ‘to ensure that his remains are treated with dignity and respect and are reburied with the appropriate rites and ceremonies of the church’.
Are you interested?
Yorkshire wants them on the grounds that Richard loved Yorkshire best. York Minster is the preferred destination of this faction.
The battle has spread to the floor of the House of Commons, where a claim has been lodged, amidst incredulous and disrespectful laughter, in favour of Worksop. John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, said: “The great priory of Worksop is half-way between the two. It’s the end of the road of the forest [Sherwood] and centre of the kingdom of Richard III. It is the most appropriate final resting place for the king.” Actually, it’s a bit of a dump. I know, I lived there once by mistake.
It would be quite in order for Westminster Abbey to put in a claim, but it hasn’t. As a once and once only monarch of the realm, Richard has title to it.
Lastly, left-of-field and, as it happens, left-footed to boot, come the Catholics. They want Richard in Westminster Cathedral on the grounds that, as a Catholic, his bones should be interred in a Catholic church to the strains of a full Requiem Mass.
Which would please Richard Rawlinson, for that is where he worships.