Following on from my earlier posts here, tomorrow March 22nd will see Richard III of England, Last Plantagenet monarch of England and last English monarch of the middle ages setting off on his final journey. Where that journey comes to an end has, of course, been the subject of much controversy.
Amidst all the arguments about whether or not he should be reinterred in Leicester or moved to York there sprang up the Plantagenet Alliance, a group of people who claim descent from the Plantagenets (although, not from Richard himself who has no known descendants, his only legitimate child dying in childhood and his illegitimate children aren’t know to have had any children). The Plantagenet Alliance challenged Leicester’s right to the King’s remains and argued that he should be reinterred in York because he was after all Richard of York. Their legal appeals ultimately failed. Leicester University were the ones who conducted the archaeological dig and the subsequent investigation and as such they had the right to choose what happened to him.
So, legal wranglings over all that was left to do was make the arrangements. Tomorrow morning he will be taken from the university of Leicester in his newly made coffin. Apparently the coffin was made by one of the plantagenant descendants whose DNA was used to identify the King; a nice touch. From there the procession will travel to Fen Lane the spot believed to be closest to the scene of his unfortunate demise (which has itself been the cause of much controversy and debate see this BBC news report for details). They will also stop at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre. In the evening the remains will be given into the care of the cathedral. The cathedral will be open for the public to view the coffin at various times from Monday 23rd to Wednesday 25th March before the interment ceremony takes place on Thursday 26th.
For the full reburial timetable is available online here
This has been an interesting saga to watch unfold and it has brought to light more information about the royal family than was perhaps expected, like for example finding out that Richard may have been blonde haired and blue eyed or this story revealing that the Beaufort line’s male line DNA doesn’t match Richard III’s meaning whoops someone has been naughty and either Richard III or Henry VII may not have had a genetic claim to the throne.
Now if we could just find out exactly what happened to the princes in the tower…I suspect nothing short of the invention of time travel will solve that one, but never say never.