We have announced today four ‘certainties’ for the re-interment of King Richard III in spring 2015. The first is that no appeal against the Judicial Review decision has been lodged; the second that the final design for the tomb has been approved; the third that the project costs have been finalised; and the fourth that the person who will create the coffin has been agreed.
The tomb design, which has been accepted by the Cathedral Fabrics Commission for England, shows a large, shaped block of Swaledale stone with a deeply incised cross, above a dark plinth of Kilkenny stone, carved with King Richard’s name, dates, motto and coat of arms. The stones are chosen both for their inherent beauty and to ensure the prominence of carved features.
‘This is a tomb which reflects the era in which it is designed as well as the solemn purpose for which it is commissioned,’ said David Monteith, Dean of Leicester. ‘To do anything else would be a pastiche of a medieval tomb and would ignore the fact he is being reburied in the 21st century. That is part of King Richard’s story now’.
The coffin will be built by Michael Ibsen, a known direct descendent of Richard lll’s sister, Anne. He is a cabinet maker by trade and has agreed to build the coffin in which the King will be laid to rest next year.
Ibsen, from London, is looking forward to the challenge. ‘I’m really looking forward to starting the project. It’s seems a very appropriate gift to offer to my royal ancestor.’
The total project budget will be £2,500,000 to which the Diocese of Leicester will contribute £500,000 for central costs, fees, contingency and initial preparation of the Cathedral. This means the Cathedral will be fundraising from private sources for the services and events, the extensive capital works on the Cathedral in readiness for the tomb and ambulatory, the windows, learning and interpretation. Over £10,000 has already been donated and further substantial sums are expected in the coming weeks.
The majority of the costs will be supported by trusts and foundations and by individual philanthropists. A community appeal is planned for the autumn in which the people of Leicester can be given an opportunity to fund a distinctive element of the project and play their own special part in this extraordinary event. However, we would add that we welcome all donations from those who would like to support the project now, and you can do this on the King Richard III in Leicester website.
‘We are now in a position to move forward with absolute certainty,’ the Dean added. ‘While trusting in justice to take its natural course, we have not been idle. We recognise that we are carrying out this responsibility on behalf of the entire nation and that the eyes of the world will be on Leicester at this unprecedented time. Our ambition for the scale of the re-interment events therefore reflects the importance of this momentous occasion.’
The winning contractor for the re-ordering of the Cathedral will be announced in the next few weeks.