Leicester, it can be announced, is officially the home of Parody Britain. Plantagent Fever is gripping the city after they dug up a car park and found an old king, or someone anyway.
There’s a right Royal Fever going on with 2000 people booked in for a service at the cathedral and an ‘invite only’ service for ‘evening compline’ (whatever that is) and the Duke of Gloucester and the Countess of Wessex are coming (whoever they are).
Richard III was considered a ‘foul, hunch back’d toad’ and consigned to the bin of history marked ‘Baddie’ for about 500 years since he died at the Battle of Bosworth and somehow found himself under tar mac in the middle of Leicester.
Now he’s back, and all is forgiven.
A cortege the Kray’s would have been proud of carried his coffin (made we’re told of English oak), they fired cannons and a big procession of people wearing Tudor costumes led the way. ‘Knights’ rode on horseback. Actual ‘shiney-armour’ knights. Seriously. This is like a mashup of Its a Knockout, Wolf Hall and the bloody Jubilee.
You half expected Sid James and Hattie Jaques to appear, or David Starkey and Alan Rickman to co-star.
There hasn’t been a re-writing of history like this since the West Wing replaced dumbass George Bush with a much more palatable Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlett.
We all know a lot of the pageantry and ‘tradition’ of the Royals and the Heritage Industry is just made-up, but this seems like some new bawdy descent into Panto Land. It’s like the dregs of the morbid Diana Phenomena merged with Alton Towers.
Themepark England seems to be hurtling backwards into a Royal Fantasy, reinventing itself as a Mock Tudor and worshiping old bones.
They’re drinking mead and pottage pie at the Ye Old Red Lion pub in Market Bosworth reports the Times. Labradors are wearing royal colours. Crowds clutch white roses. David Priestland mourns: “Far from the country ‘walking tall’ as George Osborne boasted there is a danger we are limping, hunchbacked into the global future.”