File photo: Karen Ladniuk, from the Richard III society, cleaning a path made from re-used medieval tiles during an excavation of the car park behind council offices in Leicester.
File photo: Karen Ladniuk, from the Richard III society, cleaning a path made from re-used medieval tiles during an excavation of the car park behind council offices in Leicester.

Simple burial stone ‘not fit for a king’

By NICK MCDERMOTT Time of article published Mar 14, 2013

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London - After his last resting place beneath a council car park, anything would be an improvement for Richard III.

But following one row over whether his remains should be reburied in Leicester or York, a new dispute emerged on Wednesday over how grand the tomb should be.

Despite calls for an elaborate memorial, it seems the last Plantagenet king will have to make do with something much more simple within Leicester Cathedral. The cathedral’s design brief specifies a preference for “a place of simple dignity” – an engraved memorial stone.

It informs architects the church authorities would like to “mark the place of burial with a ledger stone” which sits flat on the floor, possibly with a “decorative border”. Anything more grandiose would be “disproportionate”.

The new monument will be placed on the spot where a memorial stone commemorating the 15th century king currently sits within the chancel.

“While the remains of an English king are of historical significance, it should not be forgotten that Richard demonstrated both the honourable and dishonourable characteristics of human beings,” the brief states. “Opportunities for prayer and reflection should focus on themes of sin and redemption, justice and peace.”

The proposal was greeted with dismay by Phillipa Langley of the Richard III Society, who led the campaign to search for the king’s remains which were unearthed last year under the car park near Leicester Cathedral.

She had commissioned a raised limestone tomb embellished with Richard’s symbols and said she was “shocked and disappointed” by the design brief. “From the very beginning of my search for Richard, I always said that we would honour him with a tomb – one fitting for a king of England,” Miss Langley said. “We designed an incredibly understated tomb to fit with a modern cathedral, not a pastiche of a medieval tomb.”

Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, near Leicester, in 1485. His defeat marked the end of the War of the Roses and the rise of the Tudor dynasty.

He has been portrayed as a power-mad child killer who slaughtered his two young nephews – the Princes in the Tower – to seize the throne. Others claim he was a visionary reformer.

Some believe Richard, who belonged to the House of York, should be reburied at York Minster. But it appears his final burial place will be in Leicester Cathedral. - Daily Mail

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