King Richard III kept a personal prayer book, or “Book of Hours.” A copy of his book was kept in the Lambeth Palace library after his death and historians have recently scanned its contents.
The elaborate cover and beautiful pages are brought to life with gorgeous font and colored designs.
There are even personal notes that may have been penned by the king himself.
The entire prayer book is available at Leicester Cathedral, where the Dean of Leicester explains:
“We are delighted to make available to all this digital version of the Richard III’s Book of Hours, his personal prayer-book. The original manuscript rests in Lambeth Palace Library with restricted access due to its fragile condition, and we thank them for making it possible for us to share it in this way.
“Digitising the manuscript will enable those with an interest in Richard III’s prayer book to gain full access and I hope this will include people from diverse backgrounds and interests – from school children and scholars to artists and illustrators and of course anyone with an interest in ancient manuscripts and liturgical texts and the life of Richard III.
“In additon to the Book of Hours itself we have also given kind permission to digitise a scholarly interpretation of the text – The Hours of Richard III by Anne F Sutton and Livia Visser-Fuchs. Key points in the original Hours are linked to the interpretative text and in this way it is hoped that the reader will be able to move with ease from one to the other.
“The digitisation of this manuscript was made possible with the financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Richard III Society and the University of Leicester; I am indebted to these organisations for this generous support.”
One of the most interesting parts of the book is the inclusion of a handwritten inscription reading: “hac die natus erat Ricardus Rex Anglie tertius Apud Foderingay Anno domini mlccccliio,” meaning, “On this day was born Richard III King of England A.D. 1452.”
It is believed he wrote the inscription himself. It can be found on sheet 7v of the manuscript.
By Kenya Sinclair