The Fight For Richard III's Final Resting Place Begins In English Court
March 13, 2014

The Fight For Richard III’s Final Resting Place Begins In English Court

Lawrence LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

Last summer architects began drawing up plans for a raised tomb that would house the remains of King Richard III, whose remains were unearthed in late 2012 and later removed from underneath a car park in Leicester, England last year.

Shortly after it was noted that Richard III’s remains would be housed in a Leicester cathedral, living relatives of the last Plantagenet King demanded that the remains should be buried in York, where he called home in life.

Now, several months later, a court hearing has begun to decide which side has appropriate jurisdiction over King Richard’s remains. The High Court will decide whether a license to keep the remains in Leicester stands or if further consultation should be held.

The Ministry of Justice, Leicester University and Leicester City Council insist the remains have been dealt with properly with standard archaeological practice.

However, the relatives – known as the Plantagenet Alliance – have argued that the Ministry failed to consult widely enough, or to take into account the wishes of the king’s descendants, or the wishes of Richard himself, if those wishes could still be determined.

The alliance said the Ministry was “unreasonable” in giving permission to Leicester to re-enter the remains in the Leicester cathedral, arguing that the final resting place of Richard III should have been a matter of public consultation.

"It matters what happens when you identify the only king since 1066 whose remains were not identified," the alliance's counsel Gerard Clarke told the court on Thursday, according to Reuters. "It should not be left to chance, whim, or commercial interest."

''Although many people are astonished we've got this far, we'll go to the hearing with every confidence in our position, intending to state our case clearly and believing there's every chance the licence will be quashed,” Matthew Howarth, a partner and judicial review expert at Yorkshire law firm Gordons, who represents the Plantagenet Alliance, said before the hearing, according to The Telegraph. ''If that happens, the odds about the king eventually being laid to rest in York will shorten dramatically.''

Philippa Langley, who runs the Richard the Third Society, said she hopes for a swift resolution to this matter.

"It's huge. I think we are all just hoping this is going to sort everything, the judges' decision will be a hot knife through butter and everything will be clarified and we will be back on track," she told BBC News. "It has been very frustrating for everybody."

The hearing is expected to last two days, but a final rule may not come for another several weeks.