York and Leicester argue over Richard III’s remains

Row over whether bones should be buried in York or Leicester cathedral
Gareth Harris; Simon Stephens
City of York Council has written to the Ministry of Justice and the Queen in its bid to bury the remains of Richard III in the city.

The University of Leicester revealed last month that the skeleton found under a car park in the city centre last September was that of the king, who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

The university, backed by the Ministry of Justice, insisted, however, that the king should be interred in Leicester Cathedral.

“The terms of the licence for the archaeological dig, which was granted by the Ministry of Justice, provides for the University of Leicester, as the licence holder, to proceed with reinternment of the remains,” said a Leicester City Council statement.

The internment is scheduled to take place in Leicester Cathedral next spring, coinciding with the launch of a Richard III visitor centre next to the site where the bones were discovered.

“The Richard III visitor attraction in the former Alderman Newton Grammar school is in a very early stage of design and development,” said a council spokeswoman, who added that the centre’s content and refurbishment costs had yet to be established.

York City Council said, however, that its bid had the support of the monarch’s descendants and academics including Mark Ormrod, professor of medieval history at the University of York. A petition backing the plan had been signed by more than 20,000 people as Museums Journal went to press.

“[Richard III’s] self-identification with the north and York is reflected in his plans for a chantry of 100 priests in York Minster, where he wished to be buried,” said Kersten England, chief executive of York City Council.

But in a blow to the council, York Minster has thrown its weight behind Leicester’s claim as the final resting place for the remains.

“The Chapter of York supports… the wish of the Chapter of Leicester that Richard should be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral,” said a statement on the York Minster website.

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