The remains of King Richard III were finally laid to rest today at a reinterment service at Leicester Cathedral.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby presided over the service along with local senior clergy.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, attended the ceremony as well as a procession of invited guests.
The sermon delivered by the Very Rev David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, introduced the occasion as a “service of remembrance”. It was a ceremony where the former King of England was laid to rest respectfully and a time to remember all those who had died on Bosworth Field.
King Richard III’s remains arrived in Leicester on Sunday, and since then, thousands of people from all over the world were able to pay their respects.
The son of Richard Duke of York, Richard III, was born at Fotheringhay Castle in 1452. After becoming a principal authority in Wales, the North of England, East Anglia and the West Country, he was proclaimed King of England at the age of 30. He was slain in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and was found in a local Leicester City Council car park in 2012; the exceptional story of the King, even after his death, has contributed to the phenomenal attention the service received today.
The Right Reverend Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, reminded the congregation that King Richard III belongs to every single one of us. He urged them to consider the intricacies of God and human life, the consequences of damaging tribal behaviour, the sense of a common good, and the inevitability of death.
As his body was carefully lowered into the tomb, there was pindrop silence around the entire cathedral, the service was followed by a beautifully recited poem, written especially for the ceremony by laureate Carol Ann Duffy and read by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a descendent of King Richard III.
The crowds outside of the cathedral were much bigger than anyone had anticipated. “It’s just the whole fascination with everything that’s gone on, and the amazing coincidences with having managed to locate it,” said a visitor paying tribute.
Volunteers have also been an intrinsic part of the reinterment service. “It’s generally been really fun and most people have been very happy and helpful and responsive.”
Following the ceremony, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the tomb until Friday 27th March.