The Pressconference in leicester Cathdral May 2014 concerning Richard III

Richard III stays in Leicester

The verdict is out: The remains of Richard III will be reinterred in the Cathedral of Leicester.

When the dig for the mortal remains of Richard III commenced in the summer 2012, an agreement had already been reached. Should the archaeologists find anything, these leftovers were according to the Ministry of Justice to be reinterred in the same place, where they were found. Since the Greyfriars Church was obviously no longer in existence, this meant that he would be buried in the current church of said parish, aka the Cathedral of Leicester. This agreement, although rumoured to have been have been cleared with the Palace, built on customary practice. If archaeologists undertake a dig as part of say, the installation of a new floor in an old church, bones from any graves are gathered and reburied in the churchyard next door; often as part of a solemn service. Anyway, nobody except Philippa Langley believed that there was anything to be found. As we all know by now, she was sorely vindicated. A grave with a skeleton was found containing a man suffering from scoliosis, who had obviously died in battle. Later a DNA-analysis confirmed the identity.

Although a few cranky historians have since voiced some reservations, the general conclusion is clear: the skeleton from a man killed in battle, was buried in the precise spot the historical sources had pointed out as the final resting place of Richard III, namely the choir of Greyfriars. Further, the man had obviously been buried in a hurry with no particular solicitude. Third, he had when alive suffered from a severe and probably debilitating scoliosis. Finally parts of the DNA extracted from the skeleton matched that of some live descendants.

Future tomb of Richard III However, at this point local politicians and the business community in wider Leicester began to salivate. Here was the true making of a happy ending: a cultural route encompassing the battlefield of Bosworth, a new local museum, a guided walk through Leicester showing the bridge and the Boar plus a quiet sojourn in a newly refurbished chapel in the Cathedral; all signalling visits from tonnes of cultural tourists and not least shots of serious money into the local community.

Yellow is the colour of jaundice and avarice. Very soon the mighty city of York propelled a group of local medieval re-enactors and so-called relatives – the Plantagenet Alliance –  in front of a vigorous appeal to have Richard III reburied in York Cathedral, which might have been his own plan. Another fuel to this was added by the on going feud between the two competing “societies” (hell)bent on rehabilitating the medieval monarch: The Richard III Society sponsor for the archaeological dig and its York-affiliated competitor: The Society of Friends of King Richard III Future Tomb of Richard III - chapelThe result of all this was that the Plantagenet Alliance succeeded in getting the courts to review the original judgement, so-far resulting in a lot of hearings and an admonition from the judges not to re-enact yet another battle in the War of the Roses.

This morning (23.05.2014) the judges published the final verdict public at the website of the High Court of Justice

In a somewhat emotive and obviously morally inspired postscript the judges have written this in order to “end the lesson”: “Since Richard III’s exhumation on the 5th September 2012, passions have been roused and much ink has been spilt. Issues relating to his life and death have been exhaustively examined and debated. The very Reverend David Monteith, The Dean of Leicester Cathedral, has explained the considerable efforts and expenditure invested by the Cathedral in order to create a lasting burial place “as benefits and anointed King”. We agree that it is time for Richard III to be given a dignified reburial and finally laid to rest.” The full decision – 40 pages – can be read here READ MORE: Have you forgotten what the row was about: Check out the page with a review of the story behind the discovery and the ensuing fight…

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