Despite early promises that Richard III would be reinterred by Catholics, of course the government decided it had to be done by the state church. It got done, though, and that’s the main thing.
(Nevertheless, the music was very nice, and ironically more medieval and Catholic than we can get at most Catholic Masses. So it’s six of one and half dozen of the other, I guess.)
There was a Catholic requiem Mass earlier on Monday. It was celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols. Nice homily. For the occasion, he wore the Westminster Vestment, a chasuble passed down from the time of Richard III. It is a wonderful example of the famous “opus Anglicanum” embroidery style.
Ironically, some UK folks complained about the pageantry and coffin processional, even though this was exactly the kind of thing you did in the Middle Ages to apologize if somebody famous got treated like crap when buried originally. Of course, the medieval idea of historical costumes wouldn’t be historical at all; but this kind of thing did happen.
So it was very appropriate that thousands paid their respects to Richard III along the procession and at the cathedral; and it was great that so many Masses and memorial prayer services were held for him across England and the world. We all must die someday, and we all hope for a respectful burial and many prayers.
Here’s a picture of Jacquie Binns and the beautiful pall she made for Richard’s requiem Mass. (The link probably won’t be there long.)
An embroidered linen used for the bones to be placed upon, inside of Richard III’s coffin, made by Elizabeth Nokes, Ricardian. The coffin itself was made by Michael Ibsen, a relation of Richard III. Richard was also buried with a blessed rosary donated by historian John Ashdown-Hill.
In a turn of events that would have pleased Richard, new royal succession laws have removed the rules against Catholics marrying royals, although Catholics still can’t succeed to the actual throne. In a somewhat less historical move, England has now also instituted a Salic succession law in place of male primogeniture, thus permitting women to have the same status in the succession order as men. It’s now birth order only. Obviously this rearranges the line of succession a bit, albeit Charles is still top heir with William and Harry following him. Also, only the first six people in line for the throne need royal permission in order to marry, so theoretically those further back can marry at will and then dispose of the heirs afterward! This is an obvious boon for romance novelists! :)
However, that chick from Canada is probably now really embarrassed about converting to Anglicanism. Let’s hope she has the good sense to convert back.
On that note, of course this means that Prince Philip should be able to convert back to Greek Orthodox before he passes, which honestly sounds like a pretty good idea. (Although we’d be perfectly happy to have him as a Byzantine Catholic or an Anglican Use Catholic, or any other flavor!)