Response to Questions

Response to questions from the Looking for Richard Team

The questions raised can be read here:

The Richard III Project Board has received a letter from the Looking for Richard Team (LFRT), which has also been posted on their website. The letter voices concerns about where the mortal remains of King Richard III are laid out prior to reburial and the desire to see those remains taken to a place of sanctity and rest prior to reburial. A response has now been sent, the substance of which is contained in the statement below, and represents our response to all enquiries on the matter.

·     We understand and accept there will be many divergent views about what is the best approach to this unique event, but the members of the Cathedral Quarter Partnership Board remain the final decision makers on the approach to the reinterment. The judgment handed down by the judicial review made clear that we are the appropriate and legitimate organisations to be taking these decisions.

·     The decision for the remains to stay on the University of Leicester’s premises is to ensure we accord with the responsibilities placed upon the University by the license issued by the Ministry of Justice. 

·     The remains are indeed fragile in nature, and contrary to assertions by the LFRT, they have not been frequently moved about the country. The remains have only been moved for the following occasions:

They were taken initially from the University to Leicester Royal Infirmary, a distance of less than one mile, in order for scans and x-Rays to be undertaken. The only other movements of remains have been for DNA analyses, which specifically involved teeth, and a femur which was transported in heavy protective wrapping. Such removal of the remains for research purposes falls within the permissions granted by the license issued by the Ministry of Justice.  The remains have never been taken to Loughborough and despite numerous requests, they have never been displayed specifically for visitors.

·     Since they have been held by the University, the remains have only been laid out four times. Once was for initial recording and scientific examination, twice for filming for the Search for Richard programme, and lastly in February 2013 in connection with the joint press conference confirming their identity. They have remained in the same secure location within the University since that date. 

·     We reiterate our absolute commitment that the process of laying out the remains will be conducted with dignity and honour. There will be undertakers present during this process and they will advise the University

·     The remains will indeed then lie in a place of sanctity and rest for three days prior to reinterment, that place of sanctity being St Martin’s Cathedral. The consecration of St Martin’s long predates both the Reformation and Richard lll’s lifetime, and its present status as a House of Prayer is one recognised by Roman Catholic and Anglican authorities alike and it is our firm view that St Martins offers an entirely appropriate place of sanctity and rest for a former monarch.   During those three days of repose the Cathedral will remain in a state of constant prayer, and in addition prayers will also be offered in nearby churches including the Roman Catholic church of Holy Cross Priory.