Eyes of the world watch as soldier helps to lower King Richard III to his final resting place
A Tring soldier was part of history this week when he took part in the reburial of the controversial monarch King Richard III.
Sergeant Aaron Harding, 28, from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment was one of six pall bearers that carried the mortal remains of the King of England to his final resting place during a special service held at Leicester Cathedral.
Aaron, who has served in the Army for 12 years, said: “I was working in Kenya when I found out I had been selected to take part and therefore represent the regiment. I just thought ‘wow’ this is history being made and I’m going to be a part of it. I just didn’t realise until recently how big it was going to be.”
Two and a half years ago the medieval monarch’s remains were discovered in an old friary beneath a council car park.
He was originally buried in a hastily-dug grace in the old Greyfriars church following his death at Bosworth Field - the last significant battle in the War of the Roses.
Father of one Aaron represented his regiment at the service yesterday (Thursday) alongside Anthony Daly.
Two soldiers from both The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers also acted as pall bearers. They were led by Sergeant Major Neil Lawrie from the All Arms Drill Wing, based at ITC Catterick.
All three regiments form part of the present day Queen’s Division that is drawn from the former fiefdoms of those who fought for King Richard III.
Aaron said: “It’s been a real honour and a privilege to play a part in such an historical event.
“My girlfriend recorded it at home so I will enjoy sitting down with my son Ryan and watching it together.”
Aaron’s role as a member of the bearer party say him move the coffin of the late king from its repose inside the Cathedral where members of the public had been able to pay their respects, to a central catafalque.
At the end of the service they then lowered the coffin below ground into a specially designed tomb in front of the cathedral altar, bring an end to the remarkable journey of the last Plantagenet King.
The service was attended by The Countess of Wessex, who represented the Queen and a letter was read out from her Royal Highness.
The Dean of Leicester and the Archbishop of Canterbury presided over the service that included prayers in memory both of Richard III and of all who died at Bosworth and in warfare.
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch - a distant relation of the king who is due to play King Richard II in the Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses - read a specially commissioned poem during the service and actor Robert Lindsey, who has played Shakespeare’s Richard III on stage, was also there.