To Bury a King


York Minster (Source: Wikipedia, Steve nova)

York Minster (Source: Wikipedia, Steve nova)

Leicester Cathedral (Source: Wikipedia, NotFromUtrecht)

Leicester Cathedral (Source: Wikipedia, NotFromUtrecht)

It is getting ahead of ourselves – ahead of MtDNA testing. If these are the remains of Richard III. But the question has been raised about the final resting place of this – last of the Plantagenets. (Those most closely involved with the research, advocates of an archaeological project, forensics, genealogy and DNA experts, have been wisely circumspect about the issue.) Still, it is a wee bit an elephant in the room. Just in case it proves to be Richard III. The Palace has also been rather dispassionate with remarks about the issue. Perhaps wisely so. Some might enjoy postulating that the Windsor dynasty could be deemed usurpers. Which would be digging up a whole other can of “bones”.
I don’t think so. Genealogical tracking is a tangled web of relationships. And one dynasty succeeds another. William the Bastard was an invader. The right to the throne between Stephen and Mathilda led to civil war. Henry IV usurped the throne in 1399. Edward IV prevailed and Richard III was also a usurper in the 15th century. Then there were the Tudors… Only, it appears that the Palace is not putting out a welcome mat for Richard III at Westminster or Windsor. Oh well.
It appears that if this is our Richard, both York and Leicester might be more than willing to receive the bones, and presumably, to hold a proper (even if not in the faith of the pre-Reformation monarch) and respectful ceremony of re-internment.
It is easy to be a fence-sitter about this. York Minster is a glorious cathedral. It is very big. It has the most wonderful architecture of the medieval period. Built to endure. Except, of course, for those medieval monasteries which a Tudor king dissolved. While supporting the conversion of the cathedrals to a religious evolution. So, Leicester or York? I’m a fence sitter.
Richard converted York to the Yorkist cause. Middleham Castle in Yorkshire was reportedly, his favourite home, in which he spent his boyhood. The City of York recalls him with a fondness, not found in the South. And York is a beautiful city, retaining so much of its medieval structure.
Leicester Cathedral is the fourth smallest cathedral in England. Without the spire, it appears an ordinary town church. (But there are those pointed Gothic arched windows…) Richard was not actually born in the North, but at Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire, in the East Midlands, just a bit south of Leicestershire. Richard fought his last battle in Leicestershire, and died there.
The University of Leicester has been the linchpin of the project. Its multi-disciplinary resources have been devoted to dig process. There is rather a pleasing aspect to a small cathedral having the responsibility of a properly and well-constructed tomb and internment service, final place for a king who was not necessarily given due respect 500 years, or since.
The only contemporary indication we have of what might have been Richard III’s intent, is documentation that he intended a chapel to be built at York, for himself and Anne Neville. Anne is buried in Westminster.
So, I am a fence-sitter, and we don’t know yet the DNA results, anyway.

♕ Poll ♕

Where do your favours lie in this discussion?
Please let us know in the poll and
vote for your favourite resting place for King Richard III

9 Responses to To Bury a King

  • Riikka says:

    To York or to Middleham…

  • Marion Ziemke says:

    Did Richard III leave any clue as to where he would have favoured his resting place to be? Well, after all I read concerning the efforts by the archaeologists and the gouvernment of Leicester it would make sense that he would stay there. A couple of weeks ago i thought different but somehow I´d find it disquietening to seperate him from a place which has been connected with him for so long.

    • CDoart says:

      King Richard had plans to build a chapel at York where prayers should be read for him and his family, so it is believed to have been intended as his last resting place for himself, his wife and son.
      I am quite devided between York and Leicester, I must admit. Both places have good arguments and surely would honour King Richard III well, but Leicester involuntarily did a good deed by building a car park over the former friary grounds and this way leaving the area undisturbed and now, the enthusiasm and work by the local university just is great.

  • fitzg says:

    There is documentation that Richard intended a chantry to be built at York, for the repose of his and Anne Neville’s remains. Time ran out.

    I am completely divided between the two cities. No idea which to support. But that extant documentation just might swing the vote. On the other hand…Richard was not born in Yorkshire.

    And we do not yet know what the MtDNA can prove.

  • june7 says:

    He should be buried with his wife and son. I think their final resting place should be on the grounds at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire because it was his favourite home, with happy memories. I just wish the castle itself wasn’t in ruins.

    Leicester is where he died – definitely not a good memory.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Without doubt York Minster.
    I am very suspicious about Leicester.
    Some of the comments from certain people there lead me to believe they see him as a tourist attraction.
    This much wronged man deserves better than that.
    I also suspect the powers that be would prefer him quietly put in that rather historical backwater rather than in the hugely popular York Minster where millions of people will ask the questions – questions that need asking and are overdue to be answered.
    We need more DNA testing than just on these sad remains.
    We need the urn in Westminster Abbey finally opened and analysed. We need Edward 1V to be confirmed as the son of Richard Duke of York contrary to his mother’s own claim. Too late to check the remains for the poison, which it has recently been suggested may have killed him, unfortunately. Lets have some open debate on the legality of the Woodville marriage.
    Other questions remain as well if the English people are finally to have some truth and honesty.
    Lets have the whole thing sorted out so that Richard Plantagenet, wherever he lies, can finally rest in peace and truth.

  • Pingback: I haven’t forgotten you, Richard III! « Me + Richard Armitage

  • fitzg says:

    I think, despite the fence-sitting of the above essay, my heart has been with York. I won’t participate in the on-line voting – it is up to the British to sort it out. I did rather like the idea of a very small cathedral, in a city which spearheaded the archaeological project, as receiving the honours. (something about cheering the “underdog” cathedral?) But. There is sufficient documentation that Richard III loved the North, and fully supported the North. York is a glorious cathedral. I think he belongs there in the end.

    IF the remains prove to be his…

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November 1, 2019

Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth – By Mike Ingram (HeritageDaily)

October 8, 2019

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June 16, 2019

Philippa Langley on RIII – Podcast: BBC Interview of 6th January, 2015 (

February 20, 2019

Richard III: Leicester Cathedral £11.3m plans approved (by BBC East Midlands, BBC News)

October 4, 2018

The battle for Bosworth field: Historians react to decision to build on battlefield where Richard III died (by Rachel Dinning, BBC History Extra)

May 23, 2018

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April 9, 2018

The secret intimacies of Edward IV: multiple marriages and a same-sex affair? (by Dr. John Ashdown-Hill, History Extra)

October 24, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: “Sleepwalker” star Richard Armitage is Living the Dream (by Izumi Hasegawa, What’s Up Hollywood)

September 12, 2017

Was Richard III a loyal brother or murderous tyrant? 60 seconds with Chris Skidmore (by Rachel Dinning, History Extra)


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