The date for King Richard III’s reinterment has finally been announced. Richard will be finally laid to rest on Thursday 26th March 2015.
Richard’s reinterment service will be part of a week-long series of events commemorating his life. On Sunday 22nd March the University of Leicester will transfer Richard’s remains into a lead-lined coffin. From there he will travel to Bosworth, through villages connected with his final campaign, and finally to Leicester.
Richard will then lie in repose for three days, in his coffin covered with a commissioned pall, for any who wish to pay their respects. The Cathedral says that special arrangements will be in place to allow as many as possible who wish to visit to do so. Richard will be reburied on the morning of Thursday 26th. The following days, Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March, will mark the end of the journey with the reveal of the tomb and a service to mark the completion of the reinterment.
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. We can now see how this works out in detail and our city and county look forward to all the events of next spring.”
The Very Revd David Monteith said “King Richard’s reinterment in Leicester Cathedral will proclaim afresh his Christian hope in the resurrection. We are now preparing with great care to offer him lasting sanctuary and peace”
The reinterment service will be broadcast live on Channel 4 with a programme of highlights shown that evening. A series of programmes will also be broadcast during the week. The programmes will feature historians, scientists and representatives of the City of Leicester, the University of Leicester team, the Looking for Richard Project and the Richard III Society.
Channel 4 Commissioning Editor John Hays says: “Having been there at the start of this extraordinary story, we’re proud to be working with our partners in Leicester to bring this, its culmination, to the country and the world. I simply cannot think of any comparable event and so am hugely looking forward to what promises to be a unique national moment.”
His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, the Royal Patron of the Richard III Society, is to be Patron of Leicester Cathedral’s King Richard III Appeal in support of the Cathedral’s reinterment plans.
David Monteith said: “This is a huge boost not just for the Appeal but for the whole of Leicester. It demonstrates, beyond all doubt, that our Cathedral and city are well equipped to undertake this responsibility on behalf of the entire nation. We are now very well advanced in our plans and look forward to reinterring Richard next year with dignity and with honour.”
The target for the fund-raising appeal is £2.5m and the Cathedral has already raised nearly £1 million. The Samworth Foundation, a charitable trust run Sir David Samworth and his brother, John, of the Samworth Brothers food empire, have just made a generous donation of £500,000.
Contractors Fairhurst Ward Abbots, who have worked on Buckingham Palace, Ely Cathedral, Leicester’s Magazine Gateway and Chatsworth Hall in Derbyshire, have commenced work on the Cathedral’s interior, which has been redesigned to accommodate Richard’s tomb.
Matt Webster of FWA said “We are delighted to have the privilege of being part of the Richard III story. It is a great honour to be asked to create a resting place for a king, especially in Leicester’s delightful Cathedral.”
The public will be able to view the works as they proceed by means of observation windows cut into the main screening – and Channel 4 will be installing a time-lapse camera to record the entire process from start to finish.