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Reburial of Richard III draws thousands to Leicester Cathedral

23 March 2015


Repose: King Richard's coffin lies in the Cathedral, on Sunday evening 

Repose: King Richard's coffin lies in the Cathedral, on Sunday evening 

THOUSANDS of people are queuing outside Leicester Cathedral to view the coffin that holds the remains of Richard III. It is to be buried in the cathedral on Thursday.

The king's remains were taken from the University of Leicester in procession around the area before arriving at the cathedral on Sunday. They had been discovered in 2012 buried underneath a car park in Leicester, the site of an former medieval friary.

On the way to the cathedral, the procession carrying the coffin paused at Bosworth Field, where the Plantagenet king was killed in battle in 1485. The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, officiated at a short service, and said: "Richard was carried from this field to Leicester as a defeated man. Today, 530 years later, we have an opportunity to allow Richard to take that journey again, but this time with the dignity which befits a king."

 Compline was sung in the cathedral on Sunday evening after the procession arrived. The coffin was sprinkled with holy water and censed before the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, gave a homily.

"We are gathered in this cathedral to remember the extraordinary life of King Richard III and to pray for the eternal repose of his soul," he said. Richard had not been a faultless man, he said, but he he had been a baptised and earnest believer. "We pray that, being brought into the presence of that Divine majesty, Richard may be embraced by God's merciful love, there to await the final resurrection of all things in the fullness of time."

So many people have attempted to view his coffin at the cathedral that some have been forced to wait up to four hours, and the opening hours have been extended. At one stage, the cathedral authorities asked people to stop joining the long line, but this decision was reversed shortly afterwards.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will preside at Richard's reburial service on Thursday.

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