July 19, 2013 / 5:38 PM / 6 years ago

Cathedral plans regal tomb for England's Richard III

LONDON (Reuters) - Richard III, whose remains were found under a car park, is to have a burial fit for an English king after a cathedral bowed to public pressure opposing its plan for a simple slab tomb.

Philippa Langley, Originator of the "Looking for Richard" project, is seen posing for a photograph next to a facial reconstruction of King Richard III at a news conference in central London in this February 5, 2013 file photograph. REUTERS/Andrew Winning /Files

In the most significant archaeological find of recent English history, a skeleton found during excavations of a mediaeval friary last year was confirmed in February to be Richard, ending a 500-year-old mystery about his resting place.

Richard, the last English king to die in battle, will be interred at Leicester Cathedral in central England, in line with guidelines about burying bodies close to where they are exhumed.

The cathedral had been reluctant to build a large tomb but backed down after pressure grew for a more imposing burial site.

The diocese said on Friday it would spend 1 million pounds ($1.5 million) on the reinterment ceremony and a raised tomb designed by architects van Heynigen and Haward.

“We are committed to reinter King Richard with honor and we have listened carefully to the different views that were expressed,” said David Monteith, dean of Leicester Cathedral.

“We want to create a really wonderful space in the cathedral for him and the many thousands of people we know will want to come to visit and pay their respects.”

Richard was slain as he fought to keep his crown at the 1485 Battle of Bosworth Field.

Philippa Langley, who led the University of Leicester project to find and exhume Richard, said the proposed tomb was exactly what the king, the project and the country deserved.

The Richard III Society, which was involved with the excavation to find the king’s grave, had said it was appalled over the earlier proposals for a simple slab tomb.

Reporting By Amritha John; editing by Belinda Goldsmith and Tom Pfeiffer

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