King Richard III’s Personal Prayer Book Now Available Online
Veronica NeffingerReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2017 Feb 28
The prayer book belonging to the medieval king who was born in 1452 and died in battle in 1485 is unique in that it contains writing which is thought to be from the King’s own hand.
A prayer book or “Book of Hours” was a common item in the medieval time period. People used such books to perform devotions at certain times of the day.
King Richard III’s prayer book contains ornate illustrations in addition to devotions and is especially significant due to the fact that the King’s birthday is inscribed on the manuscript.
"hac die natus erat Ricardus Rex Anglie tertius Apud Foderingay Anno domini mlccccliio,” reads the inscription, which, when translated from Latin, reads, "On this day was born Richard III King of England A.D. 1452."
Richard III is somewhat of a controversial figure. He came into the kingship as the regent for his nephew, the son of his deceased brother, King Edward IV. However, the young King Edward V, along with his brother Richard of Shrewsbury, the Duke of York, were locked away in the Tower of London and were never seen again, leading to speculation that Richard III had them murdered. To this day, the fate of the two young princes is disputed.
William Shakespeare solidified Richard III’s reputation in his play of the same name.
However, the book of prayer shows a less controversial and harsh side of the medieval king.
The book of prayer is available for perusal on the website of Leicester Cathedral. Richard III was buried in the Cathedral in 2015 after his remains were discovered beneath a city council parking lot in Leicester.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: February 28, 2017