King Richard III Relatives Win Right To Challenge Burial Plans

King Richard III was unearthed from a Leicester car park last year
King Richard III was unearthed from a Leicester car park last year

A judge has granted relatives of King Richard III permission to challenge plans to rebury the Plantagenet's remains in Leicester, but warned both sides to "avoid embarking on the (legal) Wars of the Roses Part 2".

A group of relatives of the King, whose skeletal remains were unearthed under a Leicester car park last year, are urging the body to be buried in York, in line with the royal's apparent wish.

But Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, granting permission for the group to take action in the High Court, said: "It is ironic that the Wars of the Roses appear to be returning whence they started - the Temple.

Richard III was unearthed under a Leicester car park

"Legend has it that John Beaufort and Richard Plantagenet picked the symbolic red and white roses in Inner and Middle Temple gardens...

"I would, however, urge the parties to avoid embarking on the (legal) Wars of the Roses Part 2.

"In my view, it would be unseemly, undignified and unedifying to have a legal tussle over these royal remains.

"This would not be appropriate, or in the country's interests. The discovery of Richard III's remains engages interests beyond those of the immediate parties, and touches on sovereign, state and church."

Richard was killed at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 and was hurriedly buried in the church of the Greyfriars in Leicester, which was subsequently lost during redevelopment.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said the archeological discovery of the mortal remains of a former King of England after 500 years "is without precedent."

"In my judgment, it is plainly arguable that there was a duty at common law to consult widely as to how and where Richard III's remains should appropriately be re-interred.

"I grant permission to the claimant to bring judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State for Justice and the University of Leicester on all grounds."

"I would strongly recommend that parties immediately consider referring the fundamental question - as to where and how Richard III is reburied - to an independent advisory panel made up of suitable experts and Privy Councillors, who can consult and receive representations from all interested parties and make suitable recommendations with reasonable speed."

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