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Last resting-place of King Richard III

18 January 2013


From Kim Harding

Sir, - That the Bishop of Leicester and Canon Chancellor of Leicester Cathedral can see the missional possibilities that surround the purported discovery of the remains of Richard III (Comment, 4 January) is commendable; equally com-mendable are the efforts of the Leicester University Archaeological Department which have brought about this discovery.

Our first consideration, however, should be where an anointed and crowned monarch of England should be buried. There seem to be only two possibilities: Westminster Abbey or York Minster. The Abbey has indicated an unwillingness to accommodate him (does this mean there will be no more royal burials at Westminster?); but there is strong evidence that Richard would have wished to be buried in York, where he was creating a Collegiate Chapel of 100 priests at the Minster.

He grew up and spent most of his adult life in the north of England, and he founded the Council of the North, based at York. While Leicester council and the cathedral are gearing up to capitalise on pilgrimage, tourism, and the associated economic benefits of the king's discovery, Richard's only prior connection with the town is that his despoiled body was displayed naked in the town square for some days after Bosworth.

At risk under the new Tudor regime, the city of York issued statements of loyalty to Richard even after Henry VII's accession. So York Minster would suggest itself as the most fitting resting-place for this much maligned northern king. That Richard III's final resting-place be determined by principles of "finders, keepers" or "place of death" seems wholly inappropriate.

I would be interested to know who will make the final decisions, and on what basis.

The Vicarage, Barnard Castle
Co. Durham DL12 8ST

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