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‘No evidence’ for Richard III’s burial wish
LEICESTER has stepped up its fight to hold on to the remains of Richard III by pointing to a York historian’s view that there was no evidence the king wanted to be buried in York Minster.
The row over where the last Yorkist king should be reinterred has intensified since his bones were found under a car park in Leicester last year.
The remains, which were confirmed as Richard’s in February, are currently intended for burial in the East Midlands city.
The Plantagenet Alliance – including descendants of Richard’s family – was this month allowed to bring a judicial review against the Secretary of State for Justice and the University of Leicester over this decision.
One of the key claims has been that Richard wished to be buried at York Minster, but an article by Mark Ormrod, a professor in the University of York’s department of history – published in February and now reproduced by Leicester media – said there was “no direct evidence Richard III had any definite plan for his own burial”.
In the article, Professor Ormrod, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a trustee of the Richard III and Yorkist History Trust, said: “It would certainly have been unusual in 1485 [the year Richard died at the Battle of Bosworth Field] for a King of England to be buried in York.
“Richard III’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.
“English kings are sometimes known to have made fanciful declarations of intent about place of burial, though there is only positive evidence if the monarch left a will or had made definitive provision for burial in his own lifetime.”
Professor Ormrod said Richard may have considered the Minster “a fitting place” to be buried, but his family, the House of York, may have had other preferences and he could have been buried in state at Westminster Abbey “had history worked differently”. He said the final decision may rest on whether “historical precedents or a set of modern principles” are applied. No date has been set for the judicial review, but the Plantagenet Alliance will appear before a judge on September 23 to set a limit for its costs.
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