Britain’s last Plantagenet King is to be buried in Leicester under a raised tomb carved from Yorkshire limestone, it has been revealed. The announcement by the city's Cathedral comes amid a fractious debate as to the location of the final resting place for Richard’s remains, a dispute that has raged since the 15th century king was exhumed from beneath a Leicester car park in September last year.
A Cathedral spokesperson said the Yorkshire limestone was to reflect Richard’s Yorkist heritage, however the nod to the county of the King's birth is unlikely to assuage his distant relatives, who have mounted a legal challenge to make York, not Leicester the final burial place.
The Cathedral is now awaiting confirmation from planning officials to create the raised tomb, which is to be carved from Swaledale fossil limestone, quarried from the near the town of Middleham, where Richard spent much of his childhood and later life.
The white rose of Yorkshire is to sit beneath the tomb, which will feature the king’s name, his date of birth and death and his royal motto - Loyaulte me Lie (Loyalty binds Me). The £1.3million project will force the Cathedral to undergo changes to its layout to accommodate the tomb, including alterations to windows and lighting.
The final decision on the submitted plans is expected in late September, which if accepted would allow the Cathedral to push ahead with a grand reburial service sometime in 2014, subject to the legal challenge by the Plantagenet Alliance, who have applied to the High Court for a judicial review into giving Leicester the license to bury the King’s remains.
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Richard's remains were discovered by archaeologists from the University of Leicester after a dig in a city centre car park following a campaign by the Richard III Society and with the permission of Leicester City Council, which owned the plot of ground.
The Dean of Leicester, The Very Rev David Monteith, said: "We fully respect the process of the Judicial Review which will ensure the procedure leading to the re-interment 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."
King Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 bringing to a close the tumultuous period of English history known as the Wars of the Roses.