British High Court delays legal fight over burial place of Richard III

Nov. 27, 2013 at 2:04 AM
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LONDON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Britain's High Court postponed action on King Richard III's burial place Tuesday, ruling the Plantagenet Alliance has the right to a judicial review.

The two contenders for King Richard's next resting place are Leicester Cathedral, in the city where he was unceremoniously buried after being killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field, and York Minster, in the city where he governed as Lord of the North. The Plantagenet Alliance, a new group that includes members claiming Richard as a distant relative, argues York is what the king would have wanted, The Independent reported.

The High Court said a judicial review would determine whether the Leicester City Council can intervene in the case and whether Justice Secretary Chris Grayling had the right to allow the University of Leicester, which found Richard's remains, the right to decide on his burial spot.

The justices said they hope the warring groups can settle the matter without further legal proceedings. But they also prepared for the fight to continue.

Richard's bones were disinterred last year from the Leicester car park that now occupies the site of the abbey where he was buried in 1485. They were confirmed as his by comparison of the mitochondrial DNA with that of Michael Ibsen, a Canadian cabinet-maker descended through generations of women from Richard's sister, Anne of York.

The best-known of Richard's distant kin are the current British royal family, who are descended from his brother, Edward IV, and from King Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty and the victor at Bosworth. They have stayed out of the legal battle.

Richard was the last king of the House of York. He had strong ties to northern England as lord president of the Council of the North under his brother.

There are also millions of pounds in tourist revenue at stake. Thanks to the Shakespeare play, which depicts Richard as a crook-backed killer, its movie versions and to works attempting to rehabilitate Richard, like Josephine Tey's detective story "Daughter of Time," he is one of England's best-known kings, in spite of a reign that lasted less than three years.

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