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Why I'm swapping the Tudors for the Plantagenets by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O'Sullivan

For the past few days I've been checking and rechecking my phone like a lovelorn schoolgirl. I'm expecting a text message from Richard III...

Like everyone else, I’m currently obsessed with the Tudors. But this month I’m switching my allegiance to the Plantagenets, because on March 26, the remains of Richard III will finally be reburied at Leicester Cathedral (above left). And that text message? It’s an alert service from the BBC so I know what's happening, when. But as I say, no word from Richard III yet.To understand how the Platangenets met their end, I shall have to make a trip to Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, 19km outside Leicester. Here I can take a guided walk of the battlefield where Richard III became the last king of England to be slain on home soil. But while this might tell me about his death, it won't tell me much about the life of the man they discovered beneath a Leicester car-park. So for that I am planning a visit to the new King Richard III Visitor Centre (above), adjacent to the cathedral. Here I can learn all about the exhumation and even see a reconstruction of his face (remarkably like his portraits).I will also be downloading an audio tour from Visit Leicester, which takes in five city sites associated with Richard III, including James Walter Butler's bronze (above), commissioned by the Richard III society. The tour then continues to Bosworth, visiting other Leicestershire locations connected to the king's reign. Of course, though much has been done in recent years to dispel Richard III's bad-boy image, there is still the little matter of the princes in the Tower. So on March 21, I will be heading to Leicester's Jewry Wall archaeology museum (above) for The Trial of Richard III. Was he guilty of killing his nephews? After hearing all the evidence, the audience will be invited to vote on it. And where to stay? For maximum authenticity there’s only one choice – and that’s Leicester Central Travelodge. The hotel is on the site of the famous Blue Boar Inn where Richard III spent his last night before battle (the hotel is often asked which room Richard III stayed in). There’s nothing left of the 15th-century inn, but I like the idea that a little bit of Richard III might live on in the Leicester Travelodge… 

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