Two Morpeth soldiers have proudly played their part in the reinterment of King Richard III.
Sergeant Ross Baston, from the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and Kathryn Lawson, of the Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, were both selected to take part in the solemn ceremony at Leicester Cathedral.
Sgt Baston, 35, had a pivotal role as one of six pallbearers, while 25-year-old Ms Lawson played with the band outside the cathedral.
Richard III, the last Plantagenet King, was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 during the Wars of the Roses, but it was not until 2012 that his remains were discovered, buried in an old friary beneath a Leicester car park.
Yesterday he was laid to rest with honour in a service led by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Soldiers of the Queen’s Division, which is drawn from the former fiefdoms of those who fought for King Richard III and includes the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the Royal Anglian Regiment, took part in the service, with two soldiers from each of the Regiments acting as the Bearer Party.
Sgt Baston, who has been in the Army for 19 years and has completed tours of Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland, said: “It’s been a massive honour to take part in a piece of history.
“I was pleased and proud to represent Northumberland, my home county and one of the former fiefdoms of those who fought for the King.”
The soldier’s role saw him help to 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 he lowered the coffin below ground into a specially designed tomb in front of the altar, bringing to an end the remarkable journey of Richard III.
Army Reservist Ms Lawson, a paralegal, plays the bassoon and joined the military band in June last year.
Along with six of her colleagues, she supported the Band of the Queen’s Division for the event.
She said: “It was a brilliant day. I’ve never performed at an occasion such as this. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but also very enjoyable.
“It was amazing to see all the people that had turned out. It was such a special occasion.”
It’s been a massive honour to take part in a piece of history.Sergeant Ross Baston, Pallbearer
The service was attended by HRH The Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, as well as senior clergy, civic leaders and descendants of King Richard III. It included prayers for Richard and all who died at Bosworth, and in warfare.