In 1962, Mrs. Audrey Strange asked if a car-park over the site of Leicester Grey Friars could be excavated. Her request was declined. Evidently, she believed the bones of King Richard III lay in that location. In 1975, she published an article in the journal of the Richard III Society, The Ricardian, about the history of Leicester Grey Friars, which ended with a firm statement about where the King was located. This article was reprinted in a textbook published by the same society in 1985, "Richard III Crown and People" (edited by J. Petre).
Fellowship of the White Boar
Audrey Strange (née Pattison) came from Stockton-on-Tees, born in 1926, married in 1952, and moved to Leicester in 1958 (and had a son in 1966 - that was me!). She joined the "Fellowship of the White Boar" (the Richard III Society) in 1959. Mum was passionate about history and very thorough in her researches. Her philosophy was that history should be about all kinds of people and not just royalty, politicians and wars. But the plight of Richard III's memory must have caught her attention. One of the most benevolent of kings somehow turned into an evil character after his death. And there were a few mysteries surrounding him, just to fire up the enthusiasm of anyone taking an initial interest.
Mum was also clear about being totally objective. Her society interest was about establishing facts, regardless of whether or not they showed this king in a positive or negative light.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to unearth Mum's research notes on Richard III, and I suspect that she threw most of them out. Thankfully, I found the letter from the City of Leicester Museums turning down her request to dig up the site of Leicester Grey Friars, way back in 1962. Mum had also kept the society journal from 1975 containing her article on Leicester Grey Friars. She also helped out at the Bosworth Battlefield Centre, and as a young child, I went along too.
By the late 1970s, Mum had left the society to concentrate on other history related interests, in particular family history research. She was a talented artist, and in her later years created a lovely clay bust of Richard III, fully painted. Unfortunately the paintwork has since faded, but the photo here shows it when new circa late 1980s/early 1990s.
Sadly, Mum died (aged 83) in 2010, just 2 years before the king was finally found, and decades after her excavation request! It would have been a pleasure to hear her forthright views on these more recent events! For some reason, opinions on the king's location had changed over the years, so it is especially gratifying to have Mum's view confirmed. Many thanks, and full credit, to all of those involved with finding this elusive monarch.
In case you're puzzled about the URL/address of this webpage, I added it to my existing classic car site which happened to be convenient.