AFTER more than a year of public squabbling over his final
destination, a "dignified" reburial for Richard III in Leicester
was approved by the High Court last Friday.
Three High Court judges rejected a legal challenge by distant
relatives of the King, who had wanted his remains interred in York
Minster, the centre of his medieval power-base.
The Plantagenet Alliance had argued that the Justice Secretary,
Chris Grayling, had failed to consult properly when he granted
permission to archaeologists to search for Richard's grave under a
Leicester city-centre car park, and then for his reburial in
Leicester Cathedral (News, 21 March).
But Lady Justice Hallett, sitting in the Divisional Court with
Mr Justice Ouseley and Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, ruled that there
were no public-law grounds for interfering with the decision.
In their 40-page judgment, the three judges concluded that "the
'public' consultation regarded by the claimant is entirely
open-ended, and not capable of sensible limit or specificity, in
the context of potentially millions of collateral descendants of
The judgment was welcomed by the Dean of Leicester, the Very
Revd David Monteith. "The law is clear, and unequivocally set forth
in today's judgment," he said. "Richard III fought here, fell here,
died here, has lain here, and was rediscovered here. He will now be
finally laidto rest with the prayers of God's people, in a manner
fitting to his story, and with dignity, as befits a child of God
and an anointed King of England."
The leader of Leicestershire County Council, Nick Rushton, said:
"It has been a very undignified time; as you must remember, this is
the body of a man - and a king of England. He deserves to be buried
with dignity and honour in Leicester Cathedral."
There was applause in Leicester Cathedral as the Bishop of
Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, read out the result at 10 a.m.
to a crowd of supporters and media. "We are, of course, delighted,"
he said. "Here in the cathedral, in the diocese, in the city, in
the county, we've waited a long time for this."
In a statement, the Plantagenet Alliance said: "We obviously
respect the judgment, but are disappointed for the thousands of
peoplewho, like us, felt that they have not had the opportunity to
have their legitimately held views heard and considered as to the
appropriate venue for the interment of King Richard III."
Leicester Cathedral is planning a four-day programme of events
around the interment next spring. The King's remains will be placed
in a coffin and taken on a tour, before reaching the cathedral,
where members of the public will have an opportunity to pay their
"We will close the cathedral while the tomb is closed, and then,
on about the fourth day, we open up it up again for a glorious
celebration, which will include the entire city," Dean Monteith
An open-air pageant, music, and parades will also be held.