Battle resumes over Richard III's final resting place

Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:11pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - More than five centuries after he went down fighting, medieval monarch Richard III is in the middle of another battle - this time over where in England his newly discovered remains should be re-buried.

The Plantagenet Alliance, which includes Richard's distant descendants, has asked England's High Court to rule on plans to re-bury their ancestor's remains in Leicester, the city where they were found two years ago under a municipal car park.

The alliance says the Ministry of Justice was "unreasonable" to give permission to Leicester to bury him in its cathedral and argues the decision on the final resting place of the last Plantagenet king should have been a matter of public consultation.

"It matters what happens when you identify the only king since 1066 whose remains were not identified," the alliance's counsel Gerard Clarke told the court on Thursday.

"It should not be left to chance, whim, or commercial interest," he said in the first of two days of hearings on the complaint. The court is due to rule in several weeks.

The discovery of the skeleton of Richard, whose death effectively ended the Wars of the Roses, was one of the most remarkable English archaeological finds in recent times.

Leicester University archaeologists found the remains close to the site of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth where he was killed, the last English king to die in battle.

Leicester city council has unveiled plans for a 4 million pound ($6.6 million) visitors' center around the find.   Continued...

A facial reconstruction of King Richard III is displayed at a news conference in central London February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning