A memorable was held Sunday morning marking the beginning of the final journey of the mortal remains of King Richard III.
King Richard III’s remains have arrived at Leicester Cathedral ahead of his reburial. His funeral cortege entered the city at the historic Bow Bridge after touring landmarks in the county. Cannons were fired in a salute to the king at Bosworth, where he died in 1485.
His coffin was on public view at the cathedral beginning at 09:00 GMT Monday. He will finally be reinterred during a ceremony on Thursday.
Richard’s skeleton was found in 2012, in an old friary beneath a car park.
The former king’s coffin, which is made of English oak from a Duchy of Cornwall plantation, emerged during a ceremony at the University of Leicester.
Archaeologists, academics, researchers and descendants of Richard III’s family, including Michael Ibsen who built the coffin, placed white roses on it during the ceremony.
The reburial procession began at Fenn Lane Farm, believed to be the closest spot to where the king was killed. Ceremonies were held for the king as his cortege travelled through the county, including those at Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Bow Bridge.
Ahead of the cortege arriving in Leicester, city mayor Peter Soulsby said: “It was from Leicester in 1485 that Richard rode out to battle and it was to Leicester that he returned, defeated, slung ignominiously across the back of a horse.
“It’s now our opportunity to put it right and to make sure this time that it’s done with dignity and honour.”
However, campaigners who petitioned for Richard III to be reburied in York have described the events in Leicester as a “pantomime”.
After a service at St Nicholas Church, the coffin was transferred to a horse-drawn hearse before arriving at the cathedral via High Street and Grey Friars. The public will be able to view the coffin at the cathedral from today (Monday) to Wednesday before a reinterment service on Thursday.
A spokesman for Leicester Cathedral has confirmed that the Queen has written a greeting that will appear in the order of service at the reinterment but details of the message’s content will not be released ahead of the event.
The former king’s skeleton was sealed inside a lead-lined inner casket known as an ossuary earlier last week.
Soil from the village where Richard III was born will be placed alongside his remains when he is reburied.
The last Plantagenet king was born at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, and members of his family were buried at the local parish church. Soil from the castle grounds and two other sites will be laid around his coffin by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on 26 March.
Site owner John Gould said he was “delighted” to have been involved.
Soil from the castle, a Yorkist palace during the 15th Century, is one of three samples from sites significant in the former king’s life to be sprinkled inside the vault where his coffin will be placed.
Samples from Middleham in Yorkshire, where Richard met future wife Anne, and the site of the Battle of Bosworth, have also been collected.
Some of the soil will be blessed by Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens at a private ceremony on Sunday and will be put into a wooden casket to be displayed at the Battle of Bosworth Field Centre.
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