Richard Oliff: Fascination with evil and cruel King

Since childhood Richard Oliff's fascination with King Richard III has never waned
Since childhood Richard Oliff's fascination with King Richard III has never waned
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Since childhood my fascination with King Richard III has never waned.

His enigmatic life, shrouded in dark mystery, compounded by the shady portrayal of the man by William Shakespeare, still has a pull on my curious nature.

Sir Laurence Olivier’s portrayal served to fuel the fires of my intrigue. Evil plotting, cruelty. How could such a man become a king? And what of his demise?

Over the centuries there’s been a great deal of folklore mixed with exaggeration, hearsay and rumour about the man, which has all acted as a convenient replacement for reality to feed the world’s first conspiracy theory.

However, one man, John Harvey, in his book The Plantagenets (1948), had finished his chapter on Richard III, with what seems to have been the answer to the king’s whereabouts long before his body was eventually discovered under a Leicester car park. “Another slower messenger was hoisting King Richard’s body, wounded and despoiled, upon a packhorse, to be taken for burial to the charitable Greyfriars of Leicester.”

In 2006 I was commissioned by the Diocese and Bishop of Leicester to help in promoting their celebratory 80th year as a diocese. The brief was to build a Celebrate 80! website, promote the initiative via local and national media and oversee the staging and entertainment for the Big Day Out in Leicester.

This was seen as the flagship event of the year with special guest the Archbishop of Canterbury.

King Richard III will be interred at Leicester Cathedral on March 26, 2015, with perhaps, only perhaps, a member of our Royal family in attendance. I have a fond connection with that little Anglican Cathedral, which is one of the smallest of its kind in the country. However, Richard was a Catholic, a detail which appears to have been overlooked.