529-year-old letter says Richard III 'planned York mausoleum’
CAMPAIGNERS who still hope to get Richard III’s skeleton buried in York have had their hopes boosted after the discovery of a 529-year-old letter in the National Archives.
The document, unearthed by historian and Tory MP Chris Skidmore, suggests the King did plan to be buried in York, rather than Leicester, which is now set to be his last resting place.
It provides fresh ammunition to campaigners who believe the King was establishing a major new religious foundation at the Minster with a view to it becoming his mausoleum.
It shows he wanted the 100 priests at the new foundation to use their prayers to make him ‘more acceptable to God and his saints’.
Mr Skidmore says in an article for BBC History magazine that the letter, written five months before his death, suggests Richard’s ‘real intention’ in establishing the college at York may have been to follow the 15th Century trend for aristocrats to turn similar foundations into mausoleums. “The connection between Richard’s establishment of the foundation at York and the salvation of his own soul could hardly be any clearer,” he said.
The king’s bones were found under a Leicester car park in 2012, sparking a massivecontroversy over whether they should be re-buried at Leicester Cathedral or York Minster.
The Plantagenet Alliance, which involves distant relatives of the king, 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.
Leicester recently won the battle to provide his final resting place following a lengthy legal challenge by campaigners.
Three High Court judges last month ruled the campaigners could not have a public consultation on his burial place and it was time for him to be given a dignified reburial, and finally laid to rest.
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