Last week, the remains of a male skeleton were discovered in Leicester during an archaeological dig aimed at finding the lost burial place of the English monarch who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The archaeologists believe there is strong evidence to suggest that this is Richard III, although DNA testing will take several weeks to confirm the results – click here to read more about the discovery.
A debate is now underway on where the body should be buried if it is that of the former king. While some have suggested that he be laid to rest in Westminster Abbey alongside other kings and queens of England,the Richard III Foundation believes the most appropriate location would be York. Richard III wanted to be buried in that city, and in 1483 set in motion plans for a new chantry chapel at York Minster. Indeed, so strongly was Richard linked to York that the City authorities greeted the news of his death at the Battle of Bosworth with these words: “King Richard, late mercifully reigning over us, was, through great treason, piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city.”
Joe Ann Ricca, Founder and Chief Executive of The Richard III Foundation, Inc., said: “Richard obviously had no choice after he was killed as to where his remains were taken, but today we have the opportunity to right the many wrongs that have been done to this unjustly maligned king, by correcting the distorted picture that has been painted of Richard over the centuries, and by bringing his remains home to Yorkshire, and to York Minster as he wanted.”
Richard, who was the last Plantagenet king, and the last English monarch to die in battle, had strong connections with the City of York and the County of Yorkshire. He spent much of his youth at Middleham Castle and for 12 years he ruled the North of England on behalf of his elder brother, King Edward IV, earning a widespread reputation for fair-mindedness and justice. After becoming king, he visited York several times and was showered with gifts each time. His son, Edward, was crowned Prince of Wales whilst in York.
Andy Smith, the Foundation’s UK Public Relations Director, added: “York was Richard’s city. It is where he belongs, and it is only right that this great Lord of the North should return home to Yorkshire after more than five hundred years’ enforced absence. The Richard III Foundation urges the people of Yorkshire to join with us in calling for Richard, our hero and martyr, to be brought home to the city that he loved, and where he is still loved to this day.”
Speakers at the conference will include the distinguished actor, historian and author Robert Hardy CBE, Hon. Patron of The Richard III Foundation, who said he believed King Richard to have been “a first rate fighting man” and that his death at Bosworth was “a tragedy, a sacrifice to end the civil wars”.
The conference will be preceded on Friday 12 October by a walking tour of the battlefield site at the Bosworth Battlefield Centre led by Richard MacKinder and Mike Ingram, author of a new book on the battle.
The Richard III Foundation, Inc. is an international not-for-profit educational organization promoting knowledge and understanding of the life and times of Richard III and seeking to correct the distorted picture of the king that has come down to us through literature and popular culture. The Foundation provides grants and scholarships to help promote the study of King Richard and the Wars of the Roses.
For more details on the Foundation and its 2012 Conference, go to: www.richard111.com or visit the Foundation’s page on Facebook, or write to: Andy Smith, Public Relations Director (UK), The Richard III Foundation, 24 Floral Court, Ashtead, Surrey KT21 2JL.