Monday, March 23, 2015

Richard III is Laid to Rest At Last

The present Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

Procession through Leicester

The King's coffin is strewn with white roses for the House of York

The King's Guard
Here are some phenomenal photos of the funeral of Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England:
Some threw Yorkist white roses on the passing coffin. Strange shades of the funeral procession of Princess Diana in 1997. The atmosphere was, of course, wholly different. And yet, this was an event which could not fail to remind us of the unique, mysterious visceral hold which royalty has on our affections.

At one point, mounted police had to join in and clear a path through the streets. It would be hard to imagine greater crowds should Leicester City ever get round to winning the FA Cup.

Earlier, around the Bosworth battlefield where Richard came to a violent end in August 1485, he was greeted with periodic applause from thousands who had lined the roads, many of them carrying white roses.

Half a millennium on, the War of the Roses still evokes strong emotions. There remain many who believe passionately that Richard should have been buried in York – in the heart of his old northern powerbase – rather than Leicester. 

Leeds taxi driver Shaun Dixon had not only come to pay his respects yesterday but had even gone to the trouble of commissioning and unfurling a banner proclaiming: ‘If the King can’t come to Yorkshire, Yorkshire will come to the King.’ (Read more.)
More HERE.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered for the repose of the King's soul. According to the Catholic Herald:
A Requiem Mass in the traditional Latin form is to be offered at a Catholic church in Lancashire to mark the reinterment of King Richard III, which will take place on the same day at Leicester’s Anglican cathedral.

The mortal remains of Richard III, who died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, before the Reformation, will be reinterred in the cathedral on March 26, in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and an invited congregation.

The Requiem Mass for the repose of Richard III’s soul will be held on the same day St Catherine’s Church, in Leyland, Lancashire, at 7.30pm. It will be a Sung High Latin Mass with singers from the Laeta Cantoribus Choir, “in the style and manner of (Richard III’s) day”.

“The idea is that it will be closer to what he might have experienced in his own lifetime, as a pre-reformation Catholic,” said parish priest Fr Simon Henry.

After the service, refreshments will be served, also in keeping with what King Richard might have expected in his lifetime.

“The food afterwards will make at least a nod in the direction of the 15th century, or at least to his Yorkshire connections,” said Fr Henry. “Though wild boar sausages are a little difficult to come by!”

The skeleton of Richard III was found under a car park in Leicester in 2012. In the days before the reinterment service at Leicester Cathedral, the coffin will be taken to Leicester University and Bosworth Field, where the king was was killed in battle.

Following the Leicester Cathedral service, Richard III’s body will lie “in repose” for three days before being reinterred.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster will be part of the week-long run of events to mark the reinterment.

The cardinal will preach at a service of compline on the day the king’s remains are received into the cathedral and will celebrate a Requiem Mass the next day at a nearby Catholic parish.

Dominican friars will also sing vespers at the cathedral in the run-up to the reinterment and Fr David Rocks OP, parish priest, will preach at a lunchtime Eucharist. (Read more.)
Nancy Bilyeau writes of the history of the Greyfriars. To quote:
There is no record of what Richard III thought of the Franciscans, Observant or otherwise, but considering that they braved a ferocious political climate to give him Christian burial, the relationship could only have been good. His successor, Henry VII, rather surprisingly, held the friars of Greenwich in high esteem as well. He arranged for the installment of stained glass in their church, and left them 200 pounds in his will as he “knew that they had been many times in peril of ruin for lack of food.”

But perhaps the greatest sign of Henry VII’s regard for the Observant Franciscans is that he chose to have his second son, the future Henry VIII, baptized in their chapel at Greenwich.

For a time, all was well in the new reign. Henry VIII arranged for the Observants to say two Masses daily for his father’s soul. In 1513, he wrote to Pope Leo X saying he could not commend enough the Franciscans’ strict adherence to poverty and sincerity, charity and devotion. His wife, the Spanish Catherine of Aragon, went even further. She was often accompanied by her Franciscan confessors and, in middle age, wore a habit under her robes.

All the players were in place, then, for one of the greatest clashes of the King’s Divorce. When Henry VIII sought to have his marriage to Catherine annulled so that he could father a son with the young Anne Boleyn, the Observant friars sided with Catherine and opposed him, showing tremendous—if not suicidal—amounts of courage.

After Catherine of Aragon had been banished from court, Franciscan Friar William Peto, in his Easter Sunday sermon in 1532, preached to a full church, with both Henry and Anne Boleyn in attendance, that if the king pursued his divorce, he would incur the same fate as Ahab and the dogs would lick his blood. After the sermon, Peto told the king to his face that divorce put his throne in jeopardy and that there were mutterings Henry had slept with both Anne’s sister and mother. There is no known record of greater defiance in the presence of the king.

Yet Henry VIII did not strike back. Astonishingly, Friar Peto was not arrested; he was allowed to go into exile. The following year, Henry VIII had his daughter with Anne Boleyn, the future Elizabeth I, baptized in the same Greenwich friary church as he had been.

But executions of more defiant followed, and a rebellion broke out in the North. Mercy was harder to come by. Another Observant Franciscan, Friar John Forest, a former confessor to Catherine of Aragon, bore the full brunt of Henry VIII’s rage. He refused to swear to the authority of the king as supreme head of the Church of England. After several years of imprisonment, Forest, 67 years old, was taken to Smithfield on May 22, 1538, and burned to death. About 200 Franciscans are believed to have been imprisoned for refusing to swear loyalty to king over pope; perhaps 50 died in captivity. (More here.)
The service at the Anglican Cathedral


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