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Vestment ‘from wardrobe of King Richard III’ to go on display

Cardinal Nichols presiding over the Requiem Mass for the repose of Richard III's soul (Flickr/Mazur)

The ancient chasuble worn by Cardinal Vincent Nichols during the Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of King Richard III is to be put on public display at Ushaw College from next Saturday.

The public will have the opportunity to view the “Westminster Vestment”, which is part of the former Catholic seminary’s heritage collection, over five Saturdays starting on April 4, between 12 noon and 5pm.

The display marks the first of the college’s “Open Saturdays” which will run from April until August and which will give the public unprecedented access to beautiful and historic chapels, gardens and some parts of the buildings.

Cardinal Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, asked to wear the Westminster Vestment when he offered a Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Richard III at Holy Cross Priory in Leicester last Monday.

The vestment is unveiled (Flickr/Mazur)
The vestment is unveiled (Flickr/Mazur)

There is a tradition that the chasuble was worn by the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey during the reign of King Richard and it is widely believed that the last Plantagenet monarch would have seen it when he attended Mass there.

During his homily Cardinal Nichols said the former king of England, whose remains were discovered in a car park in Leicester in 2012, was “a man of anxious devotion who kept and marked his own book of prayers and who must have attended Mass throughout his life”.

“During this week, Mass is being offered in many Catholic churches for the repose of the soul of King Richard III. Rightly so. That is exactly what he would have wished, having himself set up at least one chantry chapel for Masses to be celebrated for the dead of both sides of the Battle of Towton in 1461,” said the cardinal.

A detail from the Westminster Vestment (Flickr/Mazur)
A detail from the Westminster Vestment (Flickr/Mazur)