On 4 February 2013, the University of Leicester announced that the human remains discovered buried in the lost medieval Greyfriars church in central Leicester city had been confirmed as those of King Richard III. One year on, we now know that the judicial review Plantagenet Alliance Ltd, R (o a o) v Secretary of State for Justice & Anor is to be heard at the High Court on Thursday, 13 March 2014. There is some misapprehension as to what will be achieved, [our emphasis]:
“The University of Leicester and the Ministry of Justice will visit the High Court, in London, on March 13, to argue the legality of the licence, which gives the university control of Richard III’s remains,” [Leicester Mercury]
“The Right Reverend Tim Stevens said “I think that as the court concentrates on the central question, which is ‘where do human remains that have been disinterred belong?’, the answer is in the nearest consecrated ground to the place of discovery,” [BBC].
At least the Richard III Society has got it right,
“The court is being asked to decide whether or not the Ministry of Justice and the University of Leicester failed to conduct due consultation with regard to the reburial of King Richard.”
“The Judicial Review held on 26 November was adjourned due to Leicester City Council becoming an interested party as they considered themselves the custodians of the king’s remains, and the plaintiff, the Plantagenet Alliance, requested that the Council be joined as co-defendants. The Council have since issued a statement that it no longer considers itself the custodian of the king’s remains and will not be carrying out the public consultation discussed at the JR on 26 November. “
Should the court decide that the MoJ and the University should have undertaken a broader consultation, there will be a further delay whilst this is planned, undertaken and analysed. However, as we noted in an earlier post, on 24 October the Cathedrals Fabrics Commission for England, (CFCE), recommended further study and discussion on Leicester Cathedral’s plans for the reburial of Richard III, with particular reference to the treatment of the furnishings scheme installed by Sir Charles Nicholson in 1927. The CFCE is due to make a decision on design matters on 20 March.
In a statement on 11 November the Dean of Leicester, David Monteith, indicated that the works necessary to provide the tomb and its place of honour would take about six months. This would imply that the earliest these works might be concluded is mid-September 2014, provided no further consultation is ruled as necessary.
Leicester Cathedral has just launched a King Richard III website.