Remains discovered at a site in Leicester will be interred in the city’s cathedral if they are confirmed to be those of Richard III, according to government officials.
The bones, which were found beneath a car park by a team of archaeologists in September, are currently undergoing DNA testing to compare them with those of Richard’s descendants. Possible proposals for the remains were discussed by Leicester, York and Nottinghamshire MPs in a meeting on Friday, with a written answer from justice minister Helen Grant confirming the decision to inter the skeleton in Leicester Cathedral.
The future of what could be the bones of the 15th-century king has been the subject of intense debate in recent weeks, with campaigners from both York and Leicester contesting that the remains should be buried in those cities. Joe Ann Ricca, founder of The Richard III Foundation, expressed disappointment at the decision: “If his remains are really going to be buried in Leicester, we would hope he at least has a traditional Christian service. But it’s kind of a monstrous act when you know that the former king of England had expressed the desire and a wish to be buried at York Minster.”
The identity of the skeleton, which shows signs of a deformed spine, the head of a barbed iron arrow embedded in its back and a gashed skull, is not expected to be confirmed for several weeks. Although the project team remains cautious, the location of the remains in the choir area of the friary – where the monarch’s body was taken following his defeat in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 – have added to speculation that they could be those of the king.
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Image credit: University of Leicester