Statement from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Sir Robert Burgess

Professor Sir Robert BurgessToday the world’s media converge on the University of Leicester to hear a powerful story unfold that has the potential to shape the future of our City and County. 

The Search for Richard III is a landmark project that has brought the University of Leicester in close partnership with the City Council, the Cathedral and local people.

As our academic staff announce their findings we would wish to thank the hundreds of people who queued for hours to view the Grey Friars dig, and those who attended public lectures on the subject and sent us messages of goodwill.

Higher education is about improving lives – empowering people through education and transforming society through research.  Our world-class research in Archaeology and Genetics, as well as other subjects, has brought this project to fruition.

For what we announce today could be a defining moment in the story of Leicester.

We have potentially made one of the greatest medieval discoveries. It is a testament to the power of research that the story can capture our imaginations and advance our knowledge of the historical account.

From the outset, the Search for Richard III was an exciting project that has involved many hours of dedicated research by teams drawn from a number of University departments and has led to the astonishing finds we will disclose today.

The search has caught the imagination of not only local people but those far beyond Leicester as it has received considerable global attention.  It is a measure of the power of Archaeology and scientific research that it can excite public interest and provide a story about our heritage.

It is only through the considerable knowledge that University of Leicester archaeologists have acquired on the City over many years that this discovery could be made. 

I wish, therefore, to pay tribute to my academic colleagues whose outstanding research has delivered this historic announcement. I also wish to pay tribute to our partners, the City Council, the Cathedral and the Richard III Society for the success of this project. 

The University of Leicester, Leicester City Council and Leicester Cathedral are in agreement that the remains, should they be those of King Richard III, will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral in accordance with the Ministry of Justice’s Licence, granted to the University.

Richard III has been part of local history for over 500 years.  If the discovery proves to be the last Plantagenet King, long may he continue to be part of our heritage.

Professor Sir Robert Burgess is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester

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