Richard III reburial court bid fails

Richard's skull Cathedral officials revealed they intended to reinter the bones in spring 2015

Distant relatives of King Richard III have lost their High Court battle over where his remains should be reburied.

His remains were found in a Leicester car park in 2012 and the city's cathedral was lined up for his tomb, but some wanted him reburied in York.

But a group claiming descent from the king's wider family were granted a judicial review, arguing more views should have been taken into account.

Judges at the High Court said there was "no duty to consult".

In the ruling, they added: "There was no public law grounds for the court to interfere."

'Dignity and honour'

Killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, Richard III was buried in a Leicester church but the building was lost to later development.

Authorities in Leicester said they were delighted at the decision and they looked forward to reinterring the body with "dignity and honour".

Timetable of the row

  • 22 August 1485: King Richard III is killed at the Battle of Bosworth
  • September 2012: University of Leicester applies for an exhumation licence. The same month, two bodies are excavated
  • 12 September 2012: Experts announce one of the bodies could be Richard but further tests are needed
  • 4 February 2013: The university declares it is the body of the former king and begins arrangements for the reinterment in the cathedral
  • 3 May 2013: Plantagenet Alliance issues judicial review proceedings
  • August 2013: Court grants the right for the review
  • 27 November 2013: Judicial review is adjourned when Leicester City Council agrees to a public consultation. It later changes its mind
  • 13 March 2014: Two-day hearing for judicial review at the High Court in London
  • 23 May 2014: Judicial review dismisses challenge

The group which brought the challenge, the Plantagenet Alliance, claimed York was a more suitable location for Richard's remains as he had spent his childhood and much of his adult life in the North.

In the court case, they had argued the unique nature of the discovery meant more consultation should have taken place.

Lady Justice Hallett, sitting with Mr Justice Ouseley and Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, ruled there were no public law grounds for interfering with the plans for reburial at Leicester Cathedral.

'Exhaustively debated'

The three judges said in a joint ruling: "Since Richard III's exhumation on 5 September 2012, passions have been roused and much ink has been spilt.

"Issues relating to his life and death and place of reinterment have been exhaustively examined and debated.

"The Very Reverend David Monteith, the Dean of Leicester Cathedral, has explained the considerable efforts and expenditure invested by the cathedral in order to create a lasting burial place 'as befits an anointed King'.

"We agree that it is time for Richard III to be given a dignified reburial, and finally laid to rest."

Stiff drink

The reinterment ceremony has been scheduled for spring 2015 and a new design for the tomb is expected to be revealed in "three or four weeks".

Mr Monteith said: "It's wonderful. We are a place which respects history and our history is a long one. Leicester is taking its place in the story of England.

"There is a great energy about the place and everyone really wants him to be here."

He added: "I will be opening a bottle of champagne that has been chilling for a long time - though to be honest I would have had to drink it if the decision had gone the other way!"

Press conference at Leicester cathedral The announcement was welcomed by the authorities in Leicester

More details of the ceremony have also been revealed, with the coffin travelling from Bosworth to Leicester before lying by the cathedral's font for a period.

The Richard III Society, which has maintained a neutral stance on where the bones should lie said : "The Society is pleased that the Judicial Review result is now available and we will now take time to consider a full response."

Philippa Langley, whose efforts kickstarted the search for Richard's grave, said: "We were hoping there would be a judgement not just on where he would be buried but also on how he would be buried.

"I've not had a chance to study the judgement closely but there doesn't seem to be any information on what happens to him now."

The Plantagenet Alliance have not yet commented.


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