Benedict Cumberbatch delivers moving performance at Richard III reburial

The actor, who is due to play the 15th-century monarch on BBC2 later this year, recited a specially penned poem by laureate Carol Ann Duffy

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This morning Leicester Cathedral was treated to a performance by Benedict Cumberbatch at an extraordinary funeral: the reburial of Richard III, 530 years after his death.

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Simply called “Richard”, the poem was written specially for the event and was intended to be a “meditation on the impact of his finding and the legacy of his story”, according to organisers.

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. Today he received a ceremonial reburial, while his tomb will be unveiled tomorrow.

Watch Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in full below:

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

Cumberbatch will play the monarch 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.

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

Read more: The reinterment of the King – why Richard III is being buried live on TV 

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Read more: Fascinating facts you might not know about Richard III