Benedict Cumberbatch to read poem at funeral of distant relative Richard III

Hollywood actor Benedict Cumberbatch is to read a specially written poem at the re-burial of Richard III. The Imitation Game star is a distant relative of the last Plantagenet king and is due to star in a forthcoming BBC television series about the monarch. His reading will take place at a Leicester Cathedral service in which the king’s coffin, containing his remains, will be lowered into a specially made tomb of Swaledale stone inside Leicester Cathedral, later. It is reported the Queen has also written a tribute in the order of service acknowledging Richard’s role in British history.

The peers from Bosworth families, descendants of those who fought on both sides of the battle, will be here. The coffin will be borne into the sanctuary of the cathedral where it will committed to the ground, into the vault which has been prepared.

The Bishop of Leicester

The Bishop of Leicester said today’s service would be “solemn, but hopeful” and mark the “extraordinary moment” in English history brought about by Richard’s death on August 22, 1485. “It is a major national and international occasion with a lot of ceremony,” he said. A piece of music has been written for the occasion by the master of the Queen’s music Judith Weir, while poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy penned the 14-line poem entitled Richard to be read by Cumberbatch. The poem is described as a meditation on the impact of the discovery of Richard’s remains under a council car park in 2012, and the legacy of his story. It includes the line, “grant me the carving of my name”, in reference to carvings on his tomb which read “Richard III”, together with his symbol, the white boar.