Richard III, the power hungry English king who was the last to die in battle, laid for five centuries in an unmarked grave beneath a parking lot until his remains were discovered in September 2012. Today, he began his final ride before being reburied with honors.
The last of the Plantagenet dynasty was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 by troops loyal to Henry Tudor.
Tudor, who later become King Henry VII, establish the Tudor dynasty in British royalty, which lasted until 1603. After Queen Elizabeth I died childless that year, King James VI of Scotland, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, was named king and established the House of Stuart.
By then, Richard III had been vilified, most notably by Shakespeare’s play of the same name, and largely forgotten. Legend had it his body had been tossed in a river, or possibly buried on the grounds of a Franciscan monastery known as Greyfriars in Leicester, according to historic references.
Working on the latter theory, a search was launched to find his body on the site where the monastery once stood. The Franciscan order disbanded in 1538 and the friary was demolished. Any trace of Richard was lost.
The property went through numerous transformations until the parking lot was built in 1944. After a meticulous search his body was finally discovered using ground-penetrating radar.
After DNA tests and other evidence confirmed the remains were Richard’s plans were made to rebury him in a place of honor. But Queen Elizabeth II explicitly rejected a royal burial.
Instead, the remains were moved today (Mar. 22) from the University of Leicester to Leicester Cathedral. The route that took the body through several local villages and the site of the Battle of Bosworth at Fenn Hill Farm, where he died.
He’ll lie in “repose” until Wednesday (Mar. 25) and will be reburied the following day in a ceremony headed the Archbishop of Canterbury. His tomb will be unveiled and open to the public on March 27.
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