I was overjoyed this week to hear that – all being well – this year’s Middleham Celebrates Richard III Festival will be going ahead this summer.
Scheduled as ever on the weekend closest to King Richard’s coronation, 2nd and 3rd July 2022, the festival is being revived after three years when unforeseen circumstances led to its cancellation. This is the first time since 2018 that the town which houses Richard’s primary residence for much of his life (and that of his wife’s household) has been able to properly celebrate that fact.
Details remain to be confirmed, but I can tell you of at least one event that will be happening over the weekend. Several Ricardian authors, including me, will be present throughout the weekend (Friday to Sunday), selling and reading from our books and perhaps offering various talks about our work and King Richard himself.
Middleham of course proves a magnet for Ricardians throughout the year, but the first weekend in July is a particular focus for many, some of whom return year after year, even if the festival isn’t on. It’s a lovely opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones – particularly important perhaps after the past couple of years. I’ve been lucky enough to visit on that weekend on a number of occasions over the years, from my very first festival during the Quincentenary year of 1983. (Hence the rather grainy images below – photographed from almost 40-year-old snaps.)
Gillian Savage, English Heritage manager at Middleham Castle, is especially pleased that this year’s event has been given the go ahead after the past few years’ disappointments. Since she first undertook the role, she’s been very keen to promote and celebrate King Richard’s links with the castle and town, and the festival provides the perfect opportunity. She has also been very supportive of those of us who write about the king – often of course using Middleham as an important location.
This year I’m delighted to say (again, all being well!), that Middleham will see the launch of my latest book, the fourth in the Order of the White Boar sequence, Sons of York, follow-up to last year’s King in Waiting. Both books of course mention Middleham, as it was a hugely important place in young protagonist Matthew Wansford’s early life, when he served Richard there as page to the Duke of Gloucester. But, unlike King in Waiting, Sons of York once again sees Matthew and his friends travelling in his beloved Wensleydale…
Watch this space for more details – both of the event and the forthcoming publication of Sons of York!
Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and a third in the sequence, King in Waiting, which continues the adventures of the young members of the Order in the following years. A fourth book, Sons of York, is due out in 2022.
Alex is also editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by King Richard, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK).
Alex has also published a standalone timeslip novel for readers aged 10+, Time out of Time, relating the adventures of Allie Turner through a doorway into history found under layers of old wallpaper at ancient Priory Farm.
Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:
My Twitter handle and Matthew Wansford’s