Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Leicester rejects meeting with York over burial of Richard III
CIVIC leaders in Leicester have snubbed a request to meet their York counterparts to resolve the argument over where Richard III’s remains should be buried.
Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said this week he would broker a summit between the cities to discuss the monarch’s re-interment, after his bones were discovered during an excavation by the University of Leicester.
York’s city bosses are now preparing for such a meeting, but Leicester’s city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby yesterday said it would be pointless. He said: “I will always be pleased to discuss with York how we can co-operate to tell the story of Richard and the monumental events of 1485 (the Battle of Bosworth Field, where Richard died).
“However, there would be no purpose whatsoever in any meeting to discuss the re-interment. That matter is entirely settled.”
The University of Leicester said it was “happy to meet with colleagues from York to explain our position” and a Leicester City Council spokesman said: “There is no disagreement – the remains of the king will be buried in Leicester Cathedral in accordance with the terms of the (exhumation) licence.”
City of York Council chief executive Kersten England has agreed to form a delegation to meet Leicester representatives. Responding to Leicester’s statements yesterday, she said: “Given the Ministry of Justice is facilitating this meeting and an agenda has yet to be set, I will be leading the York delegation to work towards a constructive resolution which respects the living wishes of the man and honours the monarch.”
York Central MP Hugh Bayley will ask Mr Wright to intervene, and said: “Leicester is refusing to recognise it is not the only place with a strong interest in Richard III, and its unwillingness to discuss this is inflaming passions in York. Talking seriously and with an open mind is the way to calm things.”
Julian Sturdy, York Outer MP, said the licence allowed Leicester to “do the honourable thing” and allow Richard to be buried in York “in accordance with his wishes”. He said: “I will be writing to ask that the Ministry of Justice does all it can to ensure a meeting does go ahead.”
The university of Leicester will decide Richard’s final resting place, with its choice being Leicester Cathedral, but campaigners – supported by Richard’s descendants – say the last Yorkist king should be buried in York.
Meanwhile, Leicester Cathedral has revealed a design brief for Richard’s final resting place, saying it preferred “a place of simple dignity” rather than a grand memorial. The proposal of a ledger stone to mark the burial place goes against campaign group The Richard III Society’s suggestion of a raised tomb.