Finding well-known people is not the usual brief given to archaeologists but in what has been described as a “million to one” chance buried beneath the tarmac in Leicester they managed to find the skeleton remains of Richard III, the last English king to die on the battlefield in 1485.
It is a scenario even the most gifted of Hollywood script writers would have struggled to come up with and hundreds of years after his death the king is set to come under the global spotlight in 2015 when he is once again lain to rest hundreds of years after his death.
Campaigners fought an unsuccessful legal battle to have Richard III’s remains reinterred in York. As such the focus of events in March will be in Leicester where his remains were found but Richard III had strong links with York and the North and the occasion will be marked in the city.
At the Yorkshire Museum, in York, an exhibition is planned to mark the occasion redisplaying the museum’s iconic Richard III objects.
A spokesman said: “The display will concentrate on what life was like in York during his reign, his influence on the city and how it was affected by the War of the Roses which led to his downfall.”
The redisplay, which museum bosses have said will not be a huge exhibition, is intended to reflect the interest there is predicted to be in the king in 2015 and is expected to open in March and will be refreshed throughout the year.
Archeologists discovered Richard III underneath the car park which was once the site of a church and it is thought the Franciscan friars who carried out the burial of the monarch, killed in battle at nearby Market Bosworth would have buried him with a proper, although perhaps minimal service. His reburial at Leicester Cathedral however will be a far grander affair.
The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, said: “Our Cathedral has been consistently committed to providing a fitting, dignified and memorable ceremony for the reinterment of King Richard.”
On Sunday March 22, the king will travel from Leicester to Bosworth, remembering the life he lost and his journey in 1485.
His coffin will arrive at the cathedral in the early evening and be transferred to the care of the church during a service of reception.
For three days King Richard III will lie in repose in his coffin and will be reburied on the morning of Thursday March 26.
The following days, Friday 27 and Saturday 28 March, will mark the end of the journey with the reveal of the tomb and a service to mark the completion of the reinterment.