Richard III’s relationship to Elizabeth II

I live in Leicester, and so the recent events concerning Richard III’s discovery have been particularly interesting to me. Alongside a variety of posters across the city, the University of Leicester have put together an excellent website with details of the discovery. (I’d also like to take a brief moment to express my gratitude and support for York Minster in their correct assessment of Richard III and his reburial in Leicester.)

Part of the reason that it’s exciting to have found Richard III is the historical impact that it will have and the contribution to England’s history that it represents. However, the impact it will have on Leicester is also significant. It puts the University of Leicester, a fine institution, in the limelight; it also means a potentially huge increase in tourism for the city. Finally, I’m hopeful that it will lead to a royal visit of some magnitude when it comes time for Richard III’s reinterment.

Queen Elizabeth II visiting NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

I expressed this hope to a friend of mine, who was confused — why would the royal family come to attend the reburial of Richard III, when they’re from different houses? Elizabeth II is not related to Richard III, so why would she make an appearance? Whilst it’s true that Elizabeth II is not from the House of Plantagenet — she is a Windsor, which is a house that came from the ashes of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha — it is not true that she is not related to Richard III. Let me explain.

Elizabeth II is the great-granddaughter of Edward VII, who was the first British monarch from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was the great-great-great-great-grandson of George I, the first British monarch from the house of Hanover. He, in turn, was the great-grandson of James VI, who was the first British monarch from the house of Stuart. James VI was the great-great-grandson of Henry VII, who was the first English monarch from the house of Tudor. Henry VII was married to Elizabeth of York, and Elizabeth of York was Richard III’s niece.

As such, Richard III is Elizabeth II’s uncle, albeit many generations (and branches of the royal family!) apart.

Revolver relents, IRON SKY gets more release dates

Attached to a private photo on the ‘Iron Sky UK’ Facebook page, Revolver Entertainment posted the following information:

We have always said that the theatrical run of IRON SKY may go beyond a single day release and here’s the news you’ve all been waiting for…

Revolver is pleased to confirm that after taking on board each and every one of your comments, thoughts and feedback which we sent on to our cinema partners and with their support we are happy to announce that we are extending the film’s run in the UK. Following on from the exclusive bloggers premiere on 21st May and the unique IRON SKY DAY on 23rd May, the film will continue to play at selected cinemas for as long as demand dictates. Now is the chance for all of you that have been so vocal to come out, support the film and keep it showing.

In an Official Statement, Ben Freedman, owner of London’s Prince Charles cinema, commented: “We’ve always been in discussions with Revolver about extending the theatrical run of IRON SKY and they have always agreed that if demand was strong enough we would keep it going. We have enormous belief in the potential of the film to become a cult classic in the vein of Rocky Horror and The Room and keep audiences flocking to the Prince Charles for many years to come.

The cinemas which will receive extra showings are still being listed, but I’m pleased to note that the Showcase Cinema De Lux in Leicester is amongst them.

Location location location

This evening, I went out for a meal and then some drinks with a variety of friends. Four different people have birthdays at this time of the month, and we were celebrating that. As part of this experience, we went to a restaurant and then two different bars — those bars were Hakamou and Pirates Bar Leicester1. I came away from the evening with some thoughts about the bars and wanted to write them up somewhere.

Hannah and I at Hakamou.
Hannah and I at Hakamou.

My first thought was Yelp, a website that allows people to rate and review places to eat and drink. I used Yelp to help inform my dining choices whilst holidaying on the west coast of the USA with my parents. What makes it so useful is the ease by which you can search for a certain type of restaurant and then see which of the restaurants available has the best ratings (as decided by the Yelp community). However, Yelp hasn’t really taken off in Britain properly — of the nine British venues I’ve reviewed, only one has attracted reviews from anyone else (two others, more than a year apart).2 I wrote a review for Hakamou anyway, but I have no idea whether anyone will find it useful, or whether they’ll even read it!

Where does this leave me? Well, I’ve also put the same review on Google.3 This is because the owners at Hakamou had taken the (very sensible) step of creating a verified listing for the business. Not only that, but Google was able to use my location preferences to work out I wanted to know about their Leicester branch, and not the bar in Northampton. On top of all that, Google realises that people may want to write a review for your venue, and provides a handy ‘write a review’ link under the search result. If there are already reviews for the venue available, it’ll provide a link to those, too, and you can go and peruse them at your leisure.

Hakamou's search result on Google.
Hakamou's search result on Google.

Google’s solution has one advantage over Yelp: its simplicity. Yelp requires you to answer a series of questions, on things like whether there’s a beer garden, what alcohol is available and whether children are welcome, whereas Google just wants a rating (1-5 stars) and a short review. It even removes paragraphs for you. Of course, this advantageous and concise approach to the problem is also Google’s disadvantage, since Yelp gives the user much more detail about the venue in question and also provides a higher level of analysis.

There is, of course, a third option that may not be as obvious: Foursquare. I use Foursquare a lot when I’m abroad or on holiday, since it helps remind me where I was and when. Given how terrible my memory is, that’s a significant feature to be able to offer! Foursquare isn’t really optimised for reviewing or in-depth analysis in the same way as Yelp is, but for short tips and one-line recommendations, it’s a very powerful tool. When using the service in far-away lands, the recommendations it gives can be incredible and really turn your evening around.

The company is clearly beginning to realise that it is this that is the real killer application for the network — the gamification aspect to the service is much less useful, if still a pretty fun way to operate a loyalty scheme. This is backed up by a couple of recent developments: Firstly, the radar feature in the new Foursquare apps on mobile devices. I personally don’t fancy having my GPS on permanently in order to take advantage of this, but it looks like a very good idea that would help you explore a city very efficiently. In fact, TechCrunch published an article not so long ago in which the company talks about helping people to discover and explore new things in such a way.

Location-based services, whether they’re based around networking or just providing information, are something incredibly useful. Unfortunately, in the United Kingdom they currently seem to be very much in their infancy, which is a huge shame. Screw flying cars — the thing that excites me most about the future is restaurant recommendations!4

  1. It’s a pirate-themed bar in Leicester. The name they’ve selected for the bar is not only completely unimaginative but also missing an apostrophe, which is almost as many criticisms as there are words in the name. Also, you’ll note that the link goes to Facebook, rather than a proper website; this is because they don’t have one. It’s 2012. Websites are easy. Keep up, please, people! 
  2. Chimichanga, in Peterborough, if you’re curious! 
  3. I’m still not sure what this feature is actually called. On my iPhone, when I search on Google for something, it seems to be called Google Places. However, the URL is, which would seem to suggest it’s a feature within Google Maps — but saying I wrote a review on Google Maps would sound strange. Anyone? 
  4. Actually, that honour goes to FaceTime/iMessage, but restaurant recommendations are still fairly excellent.