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Ready for the King

13 March 2015

AFTER months of preparation, and weathering the controversy about where the bones of Richard III should finally be buried, Leicester Cathedral is now all ready to receive him.

For three days before the final burial ceremony on 26 March, after touring the battlefield villages of Dadlington and Sutton Cheney, and the site of the Battle of Bosworth, his remains will lie in repose in the cathedral, and his tomb will take an honoured place in the newly constructed ambulatory.

"The transformation of our cathedral is so striking, and more than we ever hoped," the Dean, the Very Revd David Monteith, says. "Suddenly, we have become aware of the soaring arches and spacious beauty of our building. The craftsmanship is fantastic."

The builders, Fairhurst Ward Abbotts, had to overcome several challenges, including the discovery of a number of underground crypts. Working closely with the archaeological team that discovered the royal skeleton in the car park near by, the builders lowered the height of the crypts, and covered the voids.

Now an old family firm of funeral directors, A. J. Adkinson & Son, of Oadby, have been asked to oversee the King's final journey, to the delight of the company director, Jenny Gilbert, who regards it as "a huge honour" to be involved with the interment of a former King of England.

The royal representatives at the funeral ceremony include the Countess of Wessex, and Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. In his capacity as Patron of the Richard III Society, the Duke will also be attending the service of compline for the reception of the remains of the King, on Sunday 22 March, in the cathedral.

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