Britons should 'get a say on car park king's remains'

16.08.2013 17:10

The British
public should be consulted on the final
resting place of Richard III, the 15th-
century king whose skeleton was found
under a car park, a judge ruled on Friday.
The bones of Richard, a controversial
monarch demonised by Shakespeare, were
dug up last year outside a municipal
building in Leicester, central England.
The University of Leicester, whose
archaeologists found the site, have
claimed the remains as their own and
planned to rebury them at Leicester
Cathedral, a decision endorsed by the
However, descendants of the king and
other campaigners want him buried in
York, the northern city which formed his
power base and gave its name to
Richard's family.
In a ruling on Friday, High Court Judge
Charles Haddon-Cave gave the relatives
permission to challenge the burial plans,
saying they should have been put out to
public consultation.
"The archaeological discovery of the
mortal remains of a former king of
England after 500 years is without
precedent," Haddon-Cave said in a
written ruling.
"In my judgement, it is plainly arguable
that there was a duty at common law to
consult widely as to how and where
Richard III's remains should appropriately
be re-interred.
"I grant permission to the claimant to
bring judicial review proceedings against
the Secretary of State for Justice and the
University of Leicester on all grounds."
Richard, vilified in Shakespeare's play as a
murderous hunchback, was killed at the
Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and buried
without ceremony in nearby Leicester.
His death brought an end to the War of
the Roses, the civil war between the
families of Lancaster and York named
after their respective heraldic symbols of
the red and the white rose.
The judge recommended an independent
advisory panel be set up to consult and
decide on where the remains should be
re-buried, in a bid to end the "unseemly"
"I would urge the parties to avoid
embarking on the (legal) Wars of the
Roses Part 2," he wrote.
"In my view, it would be unseemly,
undignified and unedifying to have a legal
tussle over these royal remains. This
would not be appropriate, or in the
country's interests."