King Richard III to be buried in Leicester

2014-05-23 22:12
King Richard III (Picture: Supplied)

King Richard III (Picture: Supplied)

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London - Britain's High Court ordered on Friday that king Richard III should be buried in a cathedral in Leicester, the city where his remains were found under a car park two years ago.

Descendants of the infamous ruler, who died in battle in 1485, had fought for his remains to be buried in York Minster, in the northern city that gave its name to Richard's royal house.

But the court ruled that there was no reason that Richard, who was immortalised as one of Shakespeare's greatest villains, should not be buried in Leicester, eastern England.

"It is time for Richard III to be given a dignified reburial, and finally laid to rest," the judges said in their ruling.

British authorities have drawn up plans for a grand re-interment ceremony but it was not immediately clear when he would be buried in the cathedral.

Richard, the 14th great-granduncle of Queen Elizabeth II, became the last English king to die in battle when he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field.

Richard's death marked the end of the Wars of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York - named after their respective heraldic symbols of the red and the white rose - and the rise of the Tudor dynasty.

Plantagenet Alliance

The regal remains were discovered in August 2012 during the construction of a municipal car park in Leicester.

Archaeologists subsequently identified them as Richard's using DNA and evidence from battle wounds.

It was the archaeological team who decided that the battle-scarred body should remain in Leicester, at the city's cathedral, and their decision was backed by Britain's Ministry of Justice and the local council.

But the so-called Plantagenet Alliance, effectively the late king's supporters' club, claimed it was the wish "of the last medieval king of England" that he be interred in York.

In an unusual legal judgement that ranged back through more than 500 years of history, the judges said that there were "no public law grounds for the court interfering with the decisions in question".

William Shakespeare's play long sealed the image of Richard III as a hunchbacked, treacherous usurper and bloody tyrant, although later historians have called the depiction into question.

Read more on:    archaeology

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