Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, has written a poem to be read at the service of reinterment of King Richard lll. She was commissioned late last year by Leicester Cathedral, as plans for the services for the week were being discussed and drawn up. The poem is entitled Richard and is a meditation on the impact of his finding and on the legacy of his story. As his tomb will soon be revealed, the 14 line poem includes the phrase ‘grant me the carving of my name’, which is what has at last been achieved in the creation of the tomb in Leicester Cathedral.
Carol Ann visited before Christmas to hear the story of Richard lll, his death and being found again under a city car park. Carol Ann says: ‘It is a privilege to be involved, in a small way, in this unique event and to have seen the style and grace with which the City of Leicester has made history alive.’
The poem will be read by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who will be playing Richard lll in the BBC series The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses. He has also been identified as a third cousin, 16 times removed of King Richard lll. His television recreation of such a familiar historical figure has inspired a passion to know more, and he is looking forward to taking part in the reinterment.
The Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith, is delighted to welcome such exceptional talents to participate in creating a service of honour and dignity: ‘King Richard III’s story has been very significant in our cultural and artistic life for centuries. Now the cream of writers and performers from our day help us to see our history and indeed ourselves in a new light with flair and imagination.’
The service in Leicester Cathedral takes place on Thursday 26 March at 11.30am, and will be broadcast live from 10.00am on Channel 4.