SPEAKER PROFILE: Michael McQuade
The Improbability of Finding the Mortal Remains of Richard III
I joined Lutterworth Round Table 613 in 1973 and then transferred to Leicester St Martins RT 702 in 1980 becoming Chairman in 1988 – 89. Now a member of Leicester St Martins 41 Club where I am Chairman for the third time (2022 -23).
I was a member of the congregation at Leicester Cathedral for many years and decided to become a guide for visitors but there was no complete written guide to the Cathedral. So I set about collating everything and anything that I could find into one volume, de-duplicating it, adding a little bit of editorial to aid easy reading. Then in August 2012 the mortal remains of King Richard III were found in the City Social Services car park and they were destined to be reinterred in the Cathedral.
In 2015, I was a steward during the reinterment process; I was part of the team that welcomed twenty thousand visitors who queued to pay their respects during the Repose period and I attended two of the three services, Compline and The Reveal. It became clear to me that this unique historical event would bring many more visitors to the Cathedral and so, I added a few more pages to my ‘Guide’ to enable me to share little known points of interest with the new visitors.
John and Marie Herrick’s tombstone features prominently in Leicester Cathedral tours and I realised that without them Richard III’s remains may well have been lost forever. That started my journey considering the facts of history that, had they not occurred, might have left King Richard’s mortal remains lost forever.
Much has been written about King Richard III, Channel 4 filmed and documented the dig and the lead up to the reinterment and, more recently, a film has been made about finding the mortal remains. Few adults in the UK can claim not to have known about the discovery of the mortal remains or about the reinterment in Leicester but even fewer will have taken time to consider the odds against the discovery being a success. I believe that the odds against finding the mortal remains of King Richard III were equal to, or longer than, the odds of winning the National Lottery.
If you would like to hear my account of beating the odds then I will be pleased to bring my story to your Round Table, 41 Club, Circle or Tangent. Leicester University have kindly allowed me to use some of their photographs taken during the dig on condition that I do not personally benefit from any financial gain from showing them but they do allow me to use them to raise money for charity.
So, if you would like me to visit your group all that I ask is that you support my charity, The Bridge Homelessness to Hope in Leicester. I will cover my own travel expenses but if the distance to travel is over 50 miles, the offer of home hosting will be gratefully received.
Fee to Charity?