THE Lord Mayor of York and leading councillors have joined an MP in writing to the Queen and Ministry of Justice asking for Richard III to be buried in York.
The letter argues that the King’s remains should be reinterred in York, according to his lifetime’s wish and not where he was killed in battle near Leicester.
Lord Mayor, Coun Keith Hyman, said: “We ask that consideration is given to the remains of the King being buried in the city with which he most identified, close to his son and where we believe he wished to be laid to rest.”
York Outer MP Julian Sturdy, who also wants to see the remains buried in York, said: “As the last Yorkist King of England and last King to die in battle, Richard III is hugely important to the heritage of our historic city of York. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that King Richard wished to be buried in York and particularly in the Minster.”
Council leader James Alexander said: “We have mounted a campaign that the wishes of the man himself and his family’s descendants should be taken into consideration in determining his new place of rest.”
He said he had been pleased with the response.
Scarborough Borough Council leader, Tom Fox, said: “We are fully behind our colleagues at the City of York Council in their bid to bring Richard home in accordance with his wishes.
“To be perfectly blunt, the people of Leicester misplaced him for more than 500 years – would we really wish to entrust his remains to them again? I think not.”
Professor Mark Ormrod, Professor of Medieval History at the University of York said that in Richard’s own time, royal remains were often exhumed and moved significant distances for more dignified reburial.
A petition has been launched to allow people to express their views on where the former King of England should be buried. Last night it had reached 6,000 signatures.
It can be accessed at www.bringbackrichard.co.uk
Myths and mystery
SHOULD York Minster be the final resting place for Richard III, whose remains have been discovered under a car park in Leicester? Professor Mark Ormrod, of the Department of History, considers the issues.
AS lord of the North of England, Richard III had a “special relationship” with the city of York, and York Minster, before becoming King.
There are long-standing myths that Richard III was crowned at York, and that he expressed a desire to be buried there. In fact, like all monarchs since 1066, Richard was crowned in Westminster Abbey. But soon after, he made a ceremonial visit to York, to revive an older Norman practice of “crown-wearings” – sitting in state and holding a ceremony of inauguration in the Minster.
Richard’s own political identity as an adopted northerner, and the idea of Yorkshire as his natural powerbase, may well have encouraged him to sentimentalise his special relationship with York. It may also have led him to consider how the Minster, one of the greatest European buildings of the age, could act as a fitting royal mausoleum.
One of the key missing pieces of information about Richard is his choice of burial place for his only child, Edward of Middleham, who died at the age of ten in 1484. The memorial to the young prince in the parish church at Sheriff Hutton, near York, whose castle was one of Richard’s great strongholds, provides perhaps the most intriguing suggestion that Richard III retained a sense of dynastic commitment to York and its region.
Richard III may have thought that York Minster would make a fitting place for his burial. His family, the House of York, might have preferred their existing mausolea, at Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire or at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
Had history worked differently, Richard III might equally have ended up being transferred to a state tomb in Westminster Abbey. It remains to be seen whether the final decision over the king’s resting-place will actually rest on such historical precedents or on a set of modern principles..
• To read the full article by Professor Ormrod, go to york.ac.uk/news-and-events/features/richard-iii