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.