Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

King Richard burial review granted

The remains of Richard III were found in a council car park last year

A group of relatives of King Richard III, whose body was unearthed in a council car park last year, have won the right to bring High Court proceedings to challenge a plan to rebury his remains in Leicester.

Many of his relatives want the body buried in York, claiming it was the King's wish.

A High Court judge in London has given permission to the Plantagenet Alliance to bring judicial review proceedings against the Justice Secretary and the University of Leicester.

Richard was killed at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 and was hurriedly buried in the church of the Greyfriars in Leicester, which was subsequently lost during redevelopment.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, in granting permission for a hearing later in the year, said: "The archaeological discovery of the mortal remains of a former King of England after 500 years is without precedent.

"In my judgment, it is plainly arguable that there was a duty at common law to consult widely as to how and where Richard III's remains should appropriately be re-interred. I grant permission to the claimant to bring judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State for Justice and the University of Leicester on all grounds."

He added: "It is ironic that the Wars of the Roses appear to be returning whence they started - the Temple. Legend has it that John Beaufort and Richard Plantagenet picked the symbolic red and white roses in Inner and Middle Temple gardens...

"I would, however, urge the parties to avoid embarking on the (legal) Wars of the Roses Part 2. In my view, it would be unseemly, undignified and unedifying to have a legal tussle over these royal remains. This would not be appropriate, or in the country's interests. The discovery of Richard III's remains engages interests beyond those of the immediate parties, and touches on sovereign, state and church.

"For these reasons, I would strongly recommend that parties immediately consider referring the fundamental question - as to where and how Richard III is reburied - to an independent advisory panel made up of suitable experts and Privy Councillors, who can consult and receive representations from all interested parties and make suitable recommendations with reasonable speed."

The University of Leicester said in a statement: "The university is currently digesting the content of the judgment, which raises a number of important and complex issues. The university continues to take the view that the claim is without merit and that this is the conclusion which the court is likely to reach once it has had the benefit of hearing detailed evidence and legal argument during the course of the judicial review."

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