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Royal funeral at last for Richard III?

Feb. 7, 2013 at 1:17 AM

LONDON, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- King Richard III, who lost his life and crown at Bosworth Field, could join other English monarchs at Westminster Abbey now that his remains have been found.

His distant successor, Queen Elizabeth II, has taken no position on what should happen to the skeletal remains excavated from a Leicester car park, the Evening Standard reported. The newspaper said a reporter who called Buckingham Palace was told the fate of the bones is up to Leicester University.

The bones were identified by comparison with the mitochondrial DNA of Michael Ibsen, a Canadian descended through 17 generations from Richard's sister.

The church where Richard was buried in 1485 after his death at 32 no longer exists. In addition to the abbey, where 17 monarchs now rest, possibilities include Leicester Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, because Richard was duke of Gloucester, and York Minster, because he was head of the Council of the North.

The current duke of Gloucester, who shares the king's first name, is patron of the Richard III Society, an organization devoted to honoring his memory and clearing his reputation. The duke said he does not expect his cousin, the queen, to attend any funeral or reinterment ceremony.

"I hope to be involved in the ceremony but quite what my role will be remains to be seen," he told the Standard.

Dan Cruikshank, a BBC television presenter, is pushing for the abbey. Henry VII, who won the Battle of Bosworth Field, is already buried there.

"My feeling is that a royal funeral at Westminster Abbey would be splendid," Cruikshank said. "To lose a king is pretty damn careless but when you find him not to give him a proper ceremony and burial would seem deeply remiss."

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