York or Leicester: Where should RIII be laid to rest?


Richard III may have been dead for more than 500 years, but he’s in the midst of a battle once again.

Now that the remains under the car park in Leicester  have been identified as belonging to Richard III, the much-maligned king is suddenly in demand. York and Leicester are now doing battle (albeit in a civilized manner, thank goodness) over where the King’s final resting place should be.


Coat of Arms of King Richard III of England

Coat of Arms of King Richard III of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

a shot of the plastic facial reconstruction of Richard III Photo courtesy of Justin Tallis/Getty Images

a shot of the plastic facial reconstruction of Richard III Photo courtesy of Justin Tallis/Getty Images

I would love to hear from readers their thoughts on the subject. I find it all a bit ironic, somehow. Poor man, brutally killed and humiliated in death, tossed in a river and finally buried in a spot too small for him and vilified for centuries . . . and now two cities are at war over who gets to properly lay him to rest.

In addition, here are links to two articles that I found well worth reading on the subject of the RIII discovery



About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

19 responses »

  1. I will be accused of bias but my opinion is clear: Leicester.

    The facts are that the exhumation of Richard III required a license. The terms of that license state that he must be reburied in Leicester Cathedral by a date in August 2014. This is a legal requirement. The best York can hope for is to drag it through the courts and delay the reinterment until after August 2014 thus forcing a new license.

    I also understand that despite many people stating otherwise, there is nothing specifically accredited to Richard III that indicates he wanted to be buried in York, it is all simply conjecture.

    He has lain buried in Leicester for over 500 years, quietly but unknowingly watched over by the people here and the church that became our cathedral. He is intrinsically linked with Leicester whether people like it or not and Leicester people will be honoured to continue watching over him for years to come. Our cathedral may not be grand in style but it is a beautiful, peaceful and unassuming place where he will be welcomed and treated with the dignity that befits his status.

    I love York Minster and I have no doubt he would be treated with the same dignity were he to be reinterred there, but I believe he should be left near where he was found and allowed to rest in peace.

    Sorry this is so long Angie 🙂

    • I’m in total agreement with all you have said above kathrynruthd! To my mind it has to Leicester. I think to contemplate burying his remains anywhere else now would be totally wrong for a number of reasons, including the fact that this is where he has lain all these years.

    • As I said at Twitter, Kathryn, thank you for posting this, I think it explains well your POV on the reasons to keep Richard in Leicester. Not being English, I was hoping to have some of the ladies who were weigh in as you have done.

  2. I think it’s a great story from many points of view, especially concerning what happens to the truth (if there is such a thing) when history is written by power-grabbers and dramatists. I don’t remember the story of the War of the Roses, but back in high school I was a serious anglophile. I have started reading The Sunne in Splendor, and even though 900 plus pages of very small print, it is indeed a page-turner. I’d love to see RA get a chance to do this film, preferably to act.

  3. This is something that comes up in my work quite often – disputes over how/where/when a deceased person should be laid to rest. In my view, the only important thing is honouring the wishes of the deceased.

    Personally i think he should be laid to rest in Westminster Abbey (unless York can prove he asked for York) because that is where most Kings from that period are buried. It is where he buried his wife and, from what i understand, the only reason his son was buried elsewhere was to protect the grave from being vandalised by Richards enemies. As a Neville grave with a child’s effigy on has been mutilated, he was on the money there.

    He was a king but for so long his name has been muddied. He now deserves to be honoured as a king and for that reason i think Westminster is most appropriate. However, it seems as though Westminster have not put in a tender. I wonder why.

    I can understand why many would desire Leicester and in the absence of interest from Westminster and proof from York, i think that is a fine place for him to be laid to rest. Whatever else happens, i hope he will be laid to rest soon and this doesn’t get dragged through the courts. I hope both parties have more dignity than to allow that.

    PS: one of the articles states the royal family have been asked to intervene. Why? Surely Michael Ibsen and the unknown donor should have more of a say? After all, they are definitely related…

    • I have no strong opinion in this matter but I would have thought that Windsor should be the first option: it has long been a burial place for British monarchs including both Edward IV and his queen Elizabeth Woodville. I do not know what the protocol is but even if the Queen/other members of the royal family do not wish to enter the debate, does the Queen have any say as to whether Richard III is buried there – or not? Bolly, Kathryn, you both seem fairly clued up on this?

      If Windsor is not a contender, then I fully agree with Kathryn: Leicester.

      • I think St Georges Chapel in Windsor is full as well Wydville; if i recall correctly that was the reason Princess Margaret was cremated – there was only one space left and it was reserved for the Queen Mother. The other royal burial site is Frogmore (also in Windsor) but that is more modern so wouldn’t have meant anything to Richard.

      • In addition to what Bolly has already said, St George’s chapel, Windsor, is a Royal Peculiar which means it falls under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch rather than a Bishop so I believe the Queen would indeed have a say should there be a call to bury Richard III there. However, as it appears to be full then this seems to be a moot point.

    • Now that is an interesting article for several reasons, not least of them being that the Uni applied for an “archaeological exhumation licence” and not permission for an archaeological dig. How did they know that they would indeed locate the skeleton? or, did they initially start the dig and once they found the skeleton, did they then apply to exhume?

      I knew you and Bolly would come up with the goods! So, as a matter of curiosity, where will the Queen be buried? Or will she too be cremated? (unlikely, I should have thought). What about Philip? Can’t recall, is he CofE or Greek Orthodox? Or did he convert? The Orthodox don’t cremate.

      • I think the license is probably fairly standard especially as they were digging in a known burial site. RIII wasn’t the only body they found by the way!

        No idea about the Queen and Prince Phillip. Probably burial at Frogmore but information regarding such plans is not available to the public.

        Phillip is C of E…he converted.

        • It is possible with modern instrumentation to identify “cadaverine” soil, where a body or bodies have deteriorated in the soil, without necessarily digging down to the bones. As you say, Kathrynruthd, they were digging in a known burial site. But what exactly is the difference between a licence to exhume and a licence to do an archaeological dig?

      • I found the licencing aspect curious, too. As for Elizabeth II and her consort, the Church of England may just have to consecrate another spot if, as it seems, Westminster and Windsor are full. I wonder if she has already given her instructions. Might there be a suitable site near Balmoral, or would that be considered too remote for the royal obsequies to be well attended? I have a vision of Elizabeth’s sarcophagus with her effigy in stone on the top, supported by a brace of corgis.

      • I don’t know for sure in this particular case, but the use of ground penetrating radar would have given them a very good indication of human remains before they ever broke ground…hence seeking a special exhumation license from the outset.

  4. I did think about Westminster Abbey just because of his wife Anne, but someone told me today that the Abbey has misplaced Anne how careless! I think Leicester will suit and it’s closer for Mr Armitage senior to visit.

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