Sunday, 3 February 2013

Richard III -days of hype and hope

Within the next twenty four hours we will know the outcome of one of the biggest historical cliffhangers for many years .

Are the bones that were found in a Leicester car park back in September last year, really those of the last Plantaganet King, Richard III?

 It's a story, which quite rightly has captured the imagination of millions worldwide, and like others , I've been following the story very closely. I was there broadcasting from the car park on the day it was announced that the body COULD be that of Richard III. There's more on that here

 I was there at the press conference  where there was a very real sense of wonder as archaeologists Richard Buckley and Lin Foxhall from the University of Leicester itemised their findings so far. And I've interviewed Lin several times since then...she's so upbeat, so engaging about the quest but giving nothing away.

Since then, everyone's been playing a waiting game. Waiting for the DNA results on the body...which locally sparked off jokes about why they would take three months to connect the DNA from the body to a descendent from Canada. when people featured on the Jeremy Kyle show on television can get instant access to their DNA results.

But it's not a question of  just DNA results, the remains have been carbon dated and analysed environmentally in an effort to confirm the identification. Meticulous records, time consuming tests  on a  body in a secret location, baby sat and protected by volunteers for months.

In Leicestershire though, there's a real conviction that the body must be Richard III. Why else would Leicester City Council buy an empty Victorian building next to the site where the body was found?
St Martins Place,which cost £850,000, and formerly owned by Leicester Grammar School until five years ago, could potentially be used as a visitor centre.

I hope with all my heart that it is King Richard III who lay buried for over 500 years a stone's throw from where I work.

Firstly, because I've always been interested in this period of history, subscribing to the belief that yes, he was a "much maligned King", and always hating the thought that his body had been thrown in to the nearby River Soar.

Secondly, if it is Richard, then visitor numbers to the city will rocket... will be such a brilliant archaeological coup for the University of Leicester.

And  fourthly, ...and this is the big one.....after some banter on twitter with some other local journalists the other week , I did vow to show my knickers in Leicester's mediaeval Guildhall if the body wasn't Richard.

So there you have it. Until tomorrow I'm wishing and hoping  - that there'll be celebrations  that the King has been found...and that my knickers do not get an airing in the Guildhall.

Today's track is by Dusty Springfield...."Wishin and Hopin"


  1. Bridget I don't think you need to rush out and buy new knickers (not that I'm sure your present ones aren't more than adequate for public consumption) as I am convinced that the news tomorrow is going to be just what the entire City of Leicester has been waiting for.
    It's going to be a day of celebration. I just know it!

    1. Thanks ALex for the vote of confidence in my underwear!It's got be Richard....otherwise it will be the biggest anti climax in the world!

  2. Ooooh, I'd forgotten all about that 'knickers' threat, but like Alex said, you're probably quite safe... Hopefully! Can't wait!! For the news about Richard III, that is, not your knickers!