THE oak coffin in which the remains of King Richard III will be
buried in Leicester Cathedral next spring will be made by his 17th-
The commission has gone to Michael Ibsen, a cabinet maker from
London, a direct descendant of King Richard's sister, Anne.
The plans for the interment were announced this week by the
cathedral in the wake of last month's judicial review, which
rejected efforts by the Plantagenet Alliance to switch the burial
site to his power base in York (News, 30
Leicester Cathedral confirmed that no appeal against the
judgment has been lodged. It disclosed that the bill for the
reordering of the cathedral to accommodate the tomb will be £2.5
million. The diocese of Leicester will contribute £500,000.
A fund-raising project will be launched to attract cash from
private sources. The statement said that more than £10,000 had
already been donated.
A revised design for the tomb has been accepted by the Cathedral
Fabrics Commission for England. It is broadly similar to the
original concept first revealed last year (News, 27 September, 2013).
It comprises a large, shaped block of Swaledale stone with a deeply
incised cross, above a plinth of dark Kilkenny stone, carved with
King Richard's name, dates, motto, and coat of arms.
The Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith, said: "This
is a tomb which reflects the era in which it is designed, as well
as the solemn purpose for which it is commissioned. To do anything
else would be a pastiche of a medieval tomb, and would ignore the
fact he is being reburied in the 21st century. That is part of King
Richard's story now."
The reburial plans will involve a series of particular
"moments", spread out over several days. The King's remains will be
placed in a lead ossuary inside his coffin at Leicester University,
where they have lodged since their recovery from under a car park
in the city.
They will then travel to the cathedral on a route that will
reflect the movements of his final days.
At the cathedral, the coffin will be formally received during a
service of compline, before lying under a specially commissioned
pall, which will illustrate part of Richard's personal story, for
the public to view.
After a period of days, the reburial service will be held,
drawing on medieval reinterment rites. It will involve prayers in
memory of Richard and of all who died at Bosworth and in warfare,
and will commend his soul afresh to God's judgement.
The coffin will then be placed in a brick-lined vault below the
floor of the cathedral. The massive stone top will be lowered into
place overnight before a service the next day.