On Monday 4 February 2013, it was announced in a press conference that the human remains excavated under Greyfriars car park in September 2012 were indeed the mortal remains of King Richard III, the last in the line of Plantagenet monarchs. This news is extremely exciting and we congratulate Richard Buckley and his team.
In a statement made at that press conference, The Very Revd David Monteith (then Canon Chancellor of Leicester Cathedral) said:
"On behalf of the Bishop and Acting Dean of Leicester, I want to say how very thrilled we are to be part of this amazing day. We are delighted with today's news. We at the Cathedral and Dicoese share in the pride of serving such a great city as ours which still has the capacity to reveal such incredible stories.
"We applaud the skill, expertise and excellence of Leicester University which have led to this announcement. This has been a partnership from the start with the City Council, the University and the Richard III Society and we have been very pleased to co-operate with all the parties involved. I can confirm that the Cathedral have now received letters from both the City Council and Leicester University to further enact the requirements of the Licence which led to the exhumation of these human remains.
"This is a momentous day for our city and nation. We will now formally begin preparations and plans at Leicester Cathedral for an interment. Meanwhile we will be praying that through God's love, King Richard III with all the departed may rest in peace and rise in glory."
Click here to visit the University of Leicester website, which contains more information about the archaeological dig and the scientific process of verifying Richard III's identity.
Leicester Cathedral Design Brief for the Reinterment of Richard III
On 12 March Leicester Cathedral Chapter agreed the design brief
to go to the architects who will be design the full scheme for the grave of King
Richard lll. This brief should be read with the accompanying explanatory
questions and answers. If photographs are reproduced please include the
copyright information in the Appendix.
- Click here to view the design brief
- Click here to read the explanatory Questions and Answers
The Memorial Stone
There has been a major memorial to King Richard in the Chancel of the Cathedral since 1980. This has been the focus for remembrance, particularly on the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth. The memorial states that Richard was buried in the graveyard of the Church of the Greyfriars in the parish of St Martin (now the Cathedral). The memorial stone reads:
Richard III King of England
Killed at Bosworth Field in this County
22nd August 1485
Buried in the Church of the Grey Friars
In this Parish
The following statement has been made on behalf of the Bishop of Nottingham, concerning the reinterment of the remains of King Richard III:
"The Bishop is pleased that the body of King Richard III has been found under the site of Greyfriars Church in Leicester, in which it was buried following the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and that it will be reinterred with dignity in the city where he has lain for over five hundred years. Richard III was one of the last Catholic monarchs of England and his death was a decisive moment in British history, but the ultimate decision as to what form the interment takes lies with the Government and the Church of England, since he will be buried in Leicester Cathedral.
"In accordance with long-established ecumenical practice, Bishop Malcolm will be happy t take part in any form of ceremony which takes place to mark his final burial."
Father Andrew Cole
Private Secretary to the Bishop of Nottingham
Richard's Book of Hours (prayer book) is in Lambeth Palace Library (the library of the Archbishops of Canterbury). It includes the following prayer, which was adapted from one widely used at the time:
Lord Jesus Christ, deign to free me, your servant King Richard, from every tribulation, sorrow and trouble in which I am placed... hear me, in the name of all your goodness, for which I give thanks, and for all the gifts granted to me, because you made me from nothing and redeemed me out of your bounteous love and pity from eternal damnation to promising eternal life.
The University of Leicester - information about the archaeological dig and scientific investigation
A Burial Fit for a King - An article by Professor Mark Ormrod of York University, exploring issues concerning the final burial of Richard III
Richard III and Me - How the discovery of Richard III relates to the question of legacy
The Search for Richard III: Reports from the Archaeological Dig (information issued by the University of Leicester Press Office).