During the Autumn of 2014 the statue of King Richard III was relocated to its new site near to Leicester Cathedral and the new Richard III Visitor Centre. The relocation was part of a £2M scheme to develop the Cathedral Quarter following the discovery of King Richard's remains in the nearby Greyfriars two years earlier, August 2012. The suggestion of a statue in the City where the King had been buried after his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485 arose in 1977 and this became a reality when the statue was given to the City of Leicester in 1980 by the Richard III Society and was unveiled in that year on July 31st by the late Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.
The Richard III Society took responsibility for managing this fascinating project and raised the funds required to commission James Butler R.A. to sculpt a bronze statue of the King. The appeal was launched under the patronage of the Duke of Rutland, a collateral descendant of King Richard III through the King's sister, Anne, Duchess of Exeter. The appeal needed to raise over £20,000 (nearly £100,000 in today's money). Much of the money came from small-scale fund-raising events initiated by the Richard III Society and its branches throughout the world. Two years later, in 1979, the target had been exceeded and the work began to create a lasting impression of the king.
Many have questioned why a statue of such pride and strength should represent such a controversial monarch and why a society represented throughout the world should be so dedicated to a reassessment of his life and character. Dr Phil Stone, Chairman of the Richard III Society believes the answer is encapsulated within the speech given by the late Princess Alice, when unveiling the statue in 1980. Princess Alice said, "The purpose- and indeed the strength of the Richard III Society derives from the belief that the truth is more powerful than lies; a faith that even after all these centuries, the truth is important. It is proof of our sense of civilised values that something as esoteric and as fragile as reputation is worth campaigning for". As we approach the re-burial of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral we are delighted that the son of Princess Alice, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the Society's Royal Patron will be attending during the reburial week.
As king of England, Richard III was the first to use English to swear his coronation oath and to record acts of parliament. He stressed that his laws were to be administered without delay or favour. His only parliament was notable for legislation which helped the lower classes as much as the gentry and merchants. He did much to promote the embryonic book trade.
The Richard III Society again pays tribute to Philippa Langley and the Looking for Richard team who led the determined and successful campaign to locate King Richard's grave.
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Richard III Society American Branch Dedicated to the study of the life and a reassessment of the reputation of Richard III and a study of fifteenthcentury.