Many people will have been amazed at the depth of feeling generated on both sides of the recent court battle over the re-burial of the body of King Richard III. Before the archaeological dig began, the University of Leicester, which led the excavation of Greyfriars Church in 2012, was granted a licence by the Ministry of Justice which stated that if the remains of Richard III were found they were to be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral or another legal burial ground. However, in a case that has now been dismissed, the Plantagenet Alliance, a group of Richard’s distant relatives, challenged this decision; arguing that it was Richard’s desire to be buried in York.
The modern debate over the intentions of Richard III for his own memorial throws up some interesting questions about how centuries-old evidence can be valuable to very current issues. What evidence is there for Richard’s intentions for his own burial? What is known about his original tomb? To what extent has archival evidence been used to support modern legal arguments? How has this information been used to inform debate in print and online?