Richard III tomb design unveiled by Leicester Cathedral
Richard III could be laid to rest in a raised tomb of fossil limestone with a deeply carved cross, under plans revealed by Leicester Cathedral
The £1.3m plans, which will be submitted to planning officials, would see the former king’s remains reinterred in a tomb on a floor inlaid with a large white rose.
The top of the tomb would be inclined towards the east, as a symbol of the resurrection of the dead.
Carved into the dark circular band on the floor around the tomb would be the name of the king, the dates of his birth and death (1452–85), his personal motto, ‘Loyaulte me Lie’ (Loyalty binds Me), and his badge, which depicts a boar.
The tomb would be positioned in a special area created by re-ordering part of the interior of Leicester Cathedral. The area would be defined by wooden screens between the new altar under the tower and a new chapel, which will be used for private prayer and for regular daily worship.
The tomb would be situated in what is now the chancel of the cathedral, a traditional place of honour. This is equivalent to the position of the king's original grave in the Grey Friars Priory.
The plans, which would also see changes to lighting and the fitting of new stained glass windows, will be submitted to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE).
The CFCE is a national body that determines applications for approval of works.
A decision is expected by the end of October.
Work on the tomb has been complicated by a legal challenge from descendants of the king’s relatives, who want to see Richard’s remains buried in York.
The 15-strong Plantagenet Alliance says Richard regarded York as his home.
A judicial review is likely to take place later this year in London, and is expected to last a full day.
The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, will defend the decision to bury Richard’s remains in Leicester, his department this week confirmed.
Announcing the plans for the tomb yesterday afternoon, the dean of Leicester, the Very Reverend David Monteith, said: "We fully respect the process of the judicial review which will ensure the procedure leading to the reinterment is correct.
“While this takes its course we must, as would any cathedral in this position, seek planning permission for the detailed and costly changes which need to be made to the building.
“The overall concept is regal and respectful in its elegant simplicity, as befits the final resting place of a king of England. By placing the tomb in our chancel, we are giving King Richard the same honour as did those friars more than 500 years ago."
Dr Phil Stone, chair of the Richard III Society, said: "Because of the judicial review, the Society must stick by its neutrality.
“If in two to three months’ time it is clear that Richard is coming to Leicester then I hope this will proceed according to these plans.
“This design is utterly inspired and if it does not come here, I hope they will do the same thing somewhere else."
Richard's skeleton was discovered underneath a Leicester council car park last September, 527 years after he was killed at the battle of Bosworth.
The remains were in February identified as those of the last Plantagenet king and, as an organisation closely involved in the discovery, the University of Leicester holds a Ministry of Justice licence that allows it to decide where the remains are reinterred.
The university decided on Leicester Cathedral.