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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

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Take Richard home

Those ghostly cries, muffled and eerily diluted by exhaust fumes hovering and swirling over Leicester, seem unmistakable ... now that we know.

Skull photo
King Richard III will stay in Leicester

“A hearse, a hearse, my kingdom for a hearse!”

Poor old Richard wanted to go home. Well, of course he did. Wouldn’t you?

Hundreds of years buried in the wrong place, most recently under an undignified downtown council pay and display car park; separated by miles and centuries from his beloved home county. That’s a clamping too far, by anybody’s reckoning. And a very poor deal for a monarch.

Richard III, the last King of England to die in battle, has been unearthed. His old bones have been confirmed as undeniably regal, by the magic of DNA testing.

They are, beyond reasonable doubt, the remains of the Plantagenet ruler who may or may not have locked up two princes in The Tower (depending on whose side your history teacher was on) to grab the throne and trip off to Bosworth for the last major scrap in the Wars of the Roses ... the premier football hooligan clashes of the 15th century.

University of Leicester scientists and archaeologists have done a tremendous job to release and rescue Richard from his successive winters of discontent under Tarmac.

Their exhaustive efforts to identify his old bones have been extraordinarily spectacular. But marvellous as all that has been – has it been enough?

Exhumed from his ignominious resting place, Richard still won’t make it home. He’s to be buried in Leicester Cathedral – a final indignity for the Yorkist warrior king.

Should he not be granted the state hearse for which he has called down the ages and transported with due ceremony and white roses to York Minster? At least there belief in his innocence from all princes’ imprisonment charges is still strong – and he has his own museum.

But Leicester? He’ll rage for all eternity there, and no mistake. Take him home. It’s the least the poor soul deserves.


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