Historian calls for Richard III state funeral

 

A historian and Tory MP has called for a full state funeral for King Richard III, if remains discovered beneath a car park prove to be those of the medieval monarch.

Chris Skidmore, author of a book about the king's bloody final battle, said he hoped that DNA tests would show the skeleton found in Leicester is that of the Plantagenet ruler.

The skeleton, with a metal arrow in its back and severe trauma to the skull, was exhumed from a car park behind council offices in Leicester last week during an archaeological dig.

Initial examinations have revealed it to be the skeleton of an adult male with the remains said to be in a good condition.

It also has a curved spine, consistent with accounts of Richard III's appearance.

The king died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the last major act in the Wars of the Roses.

Richard III's demise was dramatised by Shakespeare, who had the king calling out "a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse" before being killed on the battlefield.

Mr Skidmore, whose book on the Battle of Bosworth is due to be published next year, said that it would be fitting to hold a state funeral despite the monarch's villainous reputation.

He said: "If it is found to be the body of Richard III then it would probably be one of the most significant archaeological finds of the century, arguably of the last 50 years."

He said all English monarchs are traditionally accorded a state funeral, and Richard's significance was such that he too should receive the final honour.

"He was the last Plantagenet king and the last English monarch to die on the battlefield," he said.

The body could either be laid to rest in Westminster Abbey, alongside his queen Anne Neville, or in York Minister, Mr Skidmore suggested.

Modern views of Richard III have been heavily influenced by Shakespeare's portrayal and the mystery of the princes in the tower - the young Edward V and his brother whom Richard is assumed to have had murdered.

Mr Skidmore, who has tabled a Commons early day motion calling for the state funeral, said Richard III was always seen in "black and white" terms but the reality was probably more nuanced.

"It was a brutal time," he said "but that's not to excuse what happened or to condone infanticide".

The cost of a state funeral, which could be conducted in a modern way or using the Yorkist traditions of Richard's time, could be offset by an expected increase in tourism, Mr Skidmore claimed.

"The eyes of the world would be focused on it," he said.

The DNA from the skeleton, which was uncovered by a team from the University of Leicester, will be analysed and compared with those of Michael Ibsen, a descendant of Richard III.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before