There is an ongoing debate whether the remains of King Richard III should be buried in Leicester or York. The king’s remains were found underneath a car park in Leicester earlier this year.
Dr. John Ashdown-Hill, the academic from Colchester who found the remains of King Richard III, has argued in favor of Leicester. Ashdown-Hill has stated that the royal bones should receive a Catholic burial instead of an Anglican one. He says that the exhumation terms dictate that the remains should be buried in the closest consecrated site. The nearest consecrated site is Leicester Cathedral.
Leicester Cathedral acting dean Barry Naylor told the BBC, “It is normal practice that if a body is exhumed it is re-interred in the nearest consecrated grounds.” He added, “I can assure people there will be the finest of liturgy and we will be very happy to incorporate elements from the Catholic tradition and perhaps Latin plain chant in the services that take place.”
He said, “Leicester Cathedral is doing its utmost to ensure that Richard is re-interred with honour and respect here at the heart of our city at Leicester.” The cathedral has prepared a brief for its architects and more news on Richard III’s tomb will be available in July.
However, many people would like to see King Richard re-interred in York and the debate has gone online. More than 7,500 people have signed an online petition to re-inter King Richard III in Leicester. Nearly 25,000 people have signed the opposing petition to re-inter him in York.
Julian Sturdy, York Outer MP, said, “The call is strong from the great county of Yorkshire that Richard III did want to be buried where he was loved. That was the key thing.”
Ashdown-Hill has said, “There is a lot of evidence that Richard III had a very serious personal faith.” He went on, “If Richard III had not have died, maybe the Anglican church would never have existed.” Ashdown-Hill said that it is impossible to tell what Richard III would think of a non-Catholic burial in either Leicester or York.
Richard III was the last Yorkist king of England. At the age of 32, he died in 1485 in the Battle of Boswoth, which ended the civil war called the War of the Roses. The Tudor family, who had defeated him in the war tried to make sure history remembered him as a villain and William Shakespeare’s play added to his infamy. Some historians argue that Richard III was not responsible for all the crimes history has charged him with.