Benedict Cumberbatch to read poem at the reburial of King Richard III

The actor, who is set to play Richard on stage and is said to be a distant relative of the controversial monarch, will read a specially written poem by Carol Ann Duffy

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Benedict Cumberbatch’s life seems to be inextricably linked with Richard III. Cumberbatch is set to play the controversial king in a BBC adaptation of Shakespeare’s play later this year, while genealogists recently revealed that the actor is a third cousin of the monarch (if a rather distant 16 times removed).

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And now, Cumberbatch is set to take part in Richard’s upcoming reburial, reading a poem at the event penned by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. 

Entitled simply Richard, the poem is described as a “meditation on the impact of his finding and the legacy of his story”.

Duffy said: “It is a privilege to be involved, in a small way, in this unique event and to have seen the style and grace with which the city of Leicester has made history alive.”

Richard’s story was given a new lease of life when his remains were unearthed in a car park in Leicester in August 2012. 530 years after his death, he will receive a ceremonial reburial in Leicester Cathedral on Thursday (26th March), with his tomb unveiled the following day.

Richard was killed at Bosworth Field in 1485, the last English king to die in battle.

Cumberbatch will play Richard in BBC2’s Shakespeare dramatisation The Hollow Crown – Richard III.

Richard was vilified by Shakespeare as the man responsible for the murders of Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the so-called Princes in the Tower, but many now dispute this take on events.

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Richard III: the Burial of the King airs on Channel 4 on Thursday March 26 at 10am and 8pm

Fascinating facts you might not know about Richard III