The remains of Richard III will be buried with honour beneath a raised tomb within a specially created area in the Cathedral, it has been announced.
Leicester Cathedral is planning to spend around £1 million on the reinterment, which includes alterations to the building, preparations for the event and the ceremony itself.
Plans for King Richard’s final resting place will see a series of changes to the inside of the Cathedral to create a significant space for the raised tomb, with a new floor, special lighting and new stained glass windows.
There are several possible designs for the tomb, which are being developed by van Heyningen and Haward architects, on behalf of the Cathedral, and a working party that includes representatives from the Richard III Society, the University of Leicester and the City Council.
The plans to date were shared with a series of organisations yesterday (Wednesday, July 17) and will be refined over coming weeks ready for submission to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE). Final approval is expected by November. Speaking after seeing the plans Dr Phil Stone, The Chairman of the Richard III Society was delighted. “I think that the design is absolutely fantastic” he said.
The Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith, said the plans were influenced by feedback from a variety of sources, including members of the public who had been visiting the Cathedral and commenting in the media.
“We are committed to reinter King Richard with honour and we have listened carefully to the different views that were expressed. We want to create a really wonderful space in the Cathedral for him and the many thousands of people we know will want to come to visit and pay their respects.
The Bishop of Leicester, The Rt Revd Tim Stevens hopes the plans will please everyone involved. “This is an immensely complex project and we are determined to get it right. Inevitably that means considerable expense but we are confident that with the support of the Church and the public, we can honour Richard and his story.”
Final details are still to be decided, but the reinterment will be the climax to a week of events celebrating the city’s history, the discovery of the King’s remains and the fact that Leicester is to be his final resting place.
The City Council is planning a series of events during the week of the reinterment. City Mayor Peter Soulsby is fully involved. “Leicester was the backdrop to King Richard’s final days and became the location of his grave, so we are now proud and honoured that the Cathedral in the heart of the old town will be the place for his final reinterment.
“This amazing chapter in the story of Richard III’s life, death and rediscovery has been a partnership between the City Council, the Cathedral and the University of Leicester. The reinterment itself will be another historic moment which we want to share with the nation, which we hope will join us in celebrating this unique occasion.”
Professor Sir Bob Burgess, Vice Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “We are proud of the archaeology team that found the remains of King Richard lll and we are confident that the reinterment plans being developed by the Cathedral will be a fitting climax to this remarkable journey.”
The Cathedral and the Diocese of Leicester have revealed for the first time the scale of the project. A series of working groups are tackling different aspects of the challenge – including the changes that need to be made to the fabric of the Cathedral. Groups are also working with the City Council, the University of Leicester and the Richard lll Society to create events around the re-interment. Words and music for the services and the interpretation of King Richard’s life and death and its relevance to modern life, form a key strand of work. A fund raising group is working on ways to create the best possible experience for the City, County and the nation.