Burying the king

31 October 2014

TO BURY a king is a rare event in any lifetime, especially in that of a provincial cathedral; so, at Leicester next year, it is going to be a very great event indeed when they at last inter the bones of Richard III in a place more suitable than a municipal car park.

Although the funeral will not take place until next March, they have already issued the route for the cortège to convey the bones from their present secure resting place in Leicester University to their final resting place in the cathedral.

At noon on Sunday 22 March, a motor hearse will leave the university where his bones still lie, travelling first to Fenn Lane Farm, reputedly the site of King Richard's death, before going on to the village church at Dadlington, where some of the battle dead are buried in the churchyard. It will then travel to St James's, in Sutton Cheney, where, it is believed, the King heard his final mass on the eve of the battle.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, will then lead a short ceremony at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, where the Battle of Bosworth was recently commemorated with a rose-laying ceremony (above). The cortège will then journey on through Market Bosworth, Newbold Verdon, and Desford, as it makes its way back to Leicester, entering the city at Bow Bridge to be greeted by the City Mayor and the Lord Mayor.

A horse-drawn hearse will complete the journey to the cathedral, where the King's remains will lie in repose during a service of compline.

The next day, the public are welcome to pay their respects during daylight hours; and the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, will celebrate a requiem mass in the Roman Catholic Holy Cross Church, in Leicester city centre.

On Thursday 26 March, the King's mortal remains will finally be re- interred in the prepared tomb in the cathedral, in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and an invited congregation that will include senior clergy from other Christian churches and world faiths.

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