The remains of the last Plantagenet King, Richard III, will be reburied in Leicester cathedral, it has been revealed.
Distant relatives of the King, who formed the Plantagenet Alliance, have lost their battle in the High Court over where the remains should be buried.
Richard’s skeleton was discovered underneath a car park by excavation teams from University of Leicester in September 2012.
The question of where the King’s remains should be reburied has been a contested issue over the past months. The Plantagenet Alliance have continued to argue that the Ministry of Justice should not have given the University of Leicester the rights to decide where Richard should be buried.
The Alliance were given a judicial review over the decision to reinter the remains in Leicester cathedral by the University for Leicester. However, the relatives were told by judges in the High Court this morning that there was “no duty to consult” the issue. They also commented: “There was no public law grounds for the court to interfere”.
Members of the public, alongside Leicester’s mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, gathered in Leicester cathedral as they awaited the High Court decision to be released. Rounds of applause broke out throughout the cathedral as the people inside celebrated the news. The cathedral can now go ahead with their extensive plans for Richard’s funeral.
At a press conference from the cathedral, Sir Peter Soulsby stated: “After the frustration of recent months it is now in the hands of the Cathedral to make proper provision for the re-interment of Richard III, and that his remains would be laid in a tomb fit for a king”.
A spokesperson from the University of Leicester said: “This is a victory for common sense and justice and it upholds the norms and agreed practice for archaeological excavations. King Richard III received a Christian burial in Leicester over 500 years ago and it is only right, now that the Church where he was buried has been destroyed, that he is reinterred in the Cathedral in the same parish with honour and dignity. The fact that the University of Leicester discovered the King through the expertise of its archaeological work and subsequent scientific investigation is undisputed”.
The Plantagenet Alliance have argued that York Minister is a more appropriate place for Richard to be buried, having spent much of his childhood in Yorkshire and governing the Council of the North during the reign of his brother, Edward IV. Richard ruled England from 1483 for two years, before being defeated and killed by Henry Tudor’s forces at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
It has been revealed that it may take “three or four weeks” for a new design for a tomb to be released.
The reburial ceremony is scheduled to take place in Spring 2015.
The Very Reverend David Monteith, the Dean of Leicester, commented: “This is a day to open the champagne that’s been sat in my fridge. Let’s just rejoice that the judgement has come”. He continued by saying: “We agree that it is time for Richard III to be given a dignified reburial, and finally laid to rest”.
It has been announced that Channel 4 will be the official broadcaster for the funeral. The reinterment will take place over a number of days and Channel 4 will be the only national broadcaster in the UK to show the funeral live on television.
Jay Hunt, Chief Creative Officer, has stated: “We’re proud to be the only broadcaster who committed to this extraordinary story from the very start and we’re delighted to be able to see that story through to its conclusion with the broadcast of this remarkable international event”.
There will be a procession from the University of Leicester to the cathedral along a public route, which will allow members of the public to follow the path that Richard took during the final days before his death. The King will then be formally laid to rest in the cathedral in a newly-constructed tomb at the altar, where the public will be welcome to go and pay their respects.
Photo credit: Lisby via photopin cc
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