King's Resting Place

02.28.13

Row Over Richard's Reburial Intensifies

York steps up its claim
King Richard III
The complete skeleton of King Richard III showing the curvature of the spine. (University of Leicester/Corbis)

Richard III still has the ability to provoke intense emotion in the UK, as the events surrounding the discovery of his bones in a municipal car-park made clear.

Now Britain’s justice minister Thomas McNally has said that parliament will not intervene in an increasingly bad-tempered row over where the recently uncovered remains of Richard III, who died in 1485 in battle, will be reburied.

In a letter issued the day after descendants of the monarch called for the remains to be interred in York, McNally said the decision was in the gift of the University of Leicester, which made the discovery.

"They have indicated that they intend to reinter the remains in Leicester Cathedral, which is one of the possible locations referred to in the license," he wrote.

Nine of the king's descendants on Sunday said in an open letter that their ancestor would want to be buried in York, the city which gave its name to his royal house.

They said in a statement: “We, the under-named, do hereby most respectfully demand that the remains of King Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England and our mutual ancestor, be returned to the city of York for formal, ceremonial reburial.

“We believe that such an interment was the desire of King Richard in life and we have written this statement so that his wishes may be fully recognised and upheld. King Richard III was the last King of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty which had ruled England since the succession of King Henry II in 1154.

"We, the under-named blood descendants, unreservedly believe that King Richard is deserving of great recognition and respect and hereby agree to dutifully uphold his memory.

“With due humility and affection, we are and will remain His Majesty’s representatives and voice.”