Judges have ruled King Richard III should be buried in Leicester after distant relatives lost their High Court battle over the monarch’s final resting place.
The bones of the king, killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, were found under a council car park in the city, and it is planned for them to be reinterred in the cathedral.
And this has now been backed by three judges, who said it was “time for King Richard III to be given a dignified reburial, and finally laid to rest”.
They rejected a bid by relatives, who make up the Plantagenet Alliance, for a ruling that Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is under a legal duty to set up a wide-ranging public consultation exercise to decide where the king’s final resting place should be.
Following his death, Richard’s body was taken to Leicester by supporters of the victorious Henry VII and buried in Greyfriars church, now the site of the council car park.
The alliance indicated it wanted the remains to be buried at York Minster, claiming that was the wish “of the last mediaeval king of England”, who was known as Richard of York.
But their legal counsel said at a recent court hearing the alliance would be satisfied with a consultation exercise, and suggested the Queen should be among those whose views are sought, as well as distant relatives and the public.
Stressing the importance of the issue Gerard Clarke said the last English king to die in battle ”is not just any old bones”.
But judges at the High Court found there were no legal grounds for intervening over the reburial plans in Leicester.
They said in a joint ruling: “Since Richard III’s exhumation on September 5, 2012, passions have been roused and much ink has been spilt.
“Issues relating to his life and death and place of reinterment have been exhaustively examined and debated.
“We agree that it is time for Richard III to be given a dignified reburial, and finally laid to rest.”
Mr Grayling welcomed the court ruling but expressed his anger over the legal action being brought.
He said: “I am, however, frustrated and angry that the Plantagenet Alliance – a group with tenuous claims to being relatives of Richard III – have taken up so much time and public money.
“This case, brought by a shell company set up by the Alliance to avoid paying legal costs, is an example of exactly why the Government is bringing forward a package of reforms to the judicial review process.”
The result from the High Court was greeted with applause at Leicester Cathedral.
Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens said: “We are, of course, delighted. Here in the cathedral, in the diocese, in the city, in the county, we’ve waited a long time for this.”
Plans for the reinterment of the remains which had been put on hold could now move forward, he said.
This is due to take place next spring.
It is not clear if the alliance will seek to appeal.
23 May 2014 | 11:50 am – Source: orange.co.uk