King Richard III returns to battlefield where he died 530 years ago

Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:41am EDT
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By Alex Fraser

LEICESTER, England (Reuters) - A cortege carrying the remains of King Richard III began a solemn tour on Sunday to the battlefield where he was slain 530 years ago.

Rediscovered under a car park in 2012, Richard's remains will be re-interred at Leicester cathedral on Thursday in a ceremony led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual head of the Anglican Church, and members of the royal family.

Richard, the last English king to die in battle, was killed at Bosworth Field in 1485, at the end of the bloody Wars of the Roses.

After his death his body was taken to the Grey Friars Church in the nearby city of Leicester and buried in a hastily dug grave which was too small to house his body.

The location of his grave became a mystery until it was found under a municipal car park in a discovery which stunned archaeologists and captivated the world.

On Sunday, Richard's coffin left the University of Leicester where it has been since the remarkable discovery, accompanied by the team who made the find, in a hearse to Fenn Lane Farm in the village of Dadlington, the site believed to be the closest to his death.

Richard fell fighting to hold onto his crown against the invading forces of Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII. William Shakespeare famously depicted him going down fighting shouting "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"

Philippa Langley, a screenwriter who led the search for Richard III, said it was the end of an "extraordinary journey".   Continued...

A reenactor is helped into his armour at the site of the Battle of Bosworth ahead of the arrival of Richard III's reburial procession, near Leicester, central England, March 22, 2015.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh