LONDON – The Leicester Cathedral on Sunday will receive the remains of King Richard III (1452-1485), which will pass in a funeral procession through the streets of this English city in the prelude to the official interment to be held in four days at the church.
Thousands of people were expected to view the passage of the funeral cortege accompanying the wooden oak and yew coffin containing the bones of the monarch, whose death in the Battle of Bosworth Field more than five centuries ago marked the end of his brief reign and closed a bloody period in British history.
After moving through Leicester’s historic center and emblematic sites associated with Richard III, the funeral procession will arrive at the cathedral where an “intimate and emotional” ceremony will be held late Sunday afternoon, according to Leicester Bishop Tim Stevens.
The religious service will be presided over by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Catholic archbishop of Westminster, in accord with the Catholic faith professed by the last Plantagenet king, who lived decades before the reform of the English church during the reign of Henry VIII.
The casket will remain on display at the cathedral for the next four days until on Thursday a burial ceremony will be held with the participation of the Protestant archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as well as representatives of the Catholic Church and other religions.
Richard’s remains were found by University of Leicester archaeologists in 2012 underneath a municipal parking lot, where preservation work was underway on part of the ancient monastery where the king was originally buried.
Tests comparing the remains with the DNA of descendants of the monarch’s older sister confirmed the identity of Richard, whose death brought the War of the Roses – between the House of Lancaster and the House of York – to an end.