Civic tourism and the finding of King Richard

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From: Mrs AB Moreton, Chandos Avenue, Roundhay, Leeds.

WITH reference to the letter from GA Smith (Yorkshire Post, November 9), I agree that the timing of the archaeological dig in Leicester which seems to have located the bones of King Richard III looks more like a civic tourism opportunity than anything else. The site of the King’s grave in the choir of the Greyfriars has been known since the day he was buried there in 1485.

Leicester City Council was keen to develop what was thought by some authorities (including the late Dr Danny Williams of Leicester University) to be the battlefield of Bosworth back in the 1970s and 80s after Ambion Farm had very conveniently come up for sale, but it now seems that the enterprise was mistaken in its siting.

The memorial stone marking the presumed place of King Richard’s death has now been relocated from Shenton and plonked down in the expensive new visitor centre on the other side of the railway line.

Perhaps the intention to rebury the king in Leicester cathedral – where there is already a memorial plaque to him and which Richard wouldn’t even have recognised as a cathedral (unlike York or Durham) – looks very like compensation for the muddle at Bosworth. King Richard himself was conscious of the duty owing to a king, and arranged for the reburial of Henry VI (to whom he certainly owed no favours) at Windsor in more fitting surroundings. It is a pity that the same consideration has not been accorded to him, particularly since we know his own wish to be buried in York Minster.

After 527 years, his posthumous rehabilitation cannot yet be said to be complete.