The stirrings of controversy
From the project’s inception, it was the stated intention of the partnership involved in the search for the king’s remains that, if successful, Richard III would be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. This was deemed to be the most appropriate course because it was the nearest consecrated ground to Grey Friars, accorded with best archaeological practice and was consistent with the many existing strong connections between Richard III and the city.
This intent was announced to the public as the project launched in August 2012 and when the University of Leicester confirmed in February 2013 that its archaeologists had discovered King Richard III, the University announced it would proceed with the reinterment at Leicester Cathedral.
Unfortunately, following the announcement the stirrings of controversy over the proposed place of reinterment began. Whilst there was strong support for burial in Leicester Cathedral there was also support for other sites including Westminster Abbey and York Minster. The question of where Richard III should be reburied was sufficiently important to warrant a Parliamentary debate and the exhumation licence was challenged by a group of pro-Yorkists called the Plantagenet Alliance who stalled the reinterment process with a judicial review and a protracted wrangle in the High Court.
Finally, in May 2014 the High Court upheld the Ministry of Justice exhumation licence that was granted to the University of Leicester, permitting reinterment at Leicester Cathedral to proceed.