Plantagenet Alliance seeks judicial review - statement from University of Leicester

Issued 26 March 2013

Today, the Plantagenet Alliance have issued a statement announcing that they are seeking a judicial review of the granting of the licence to exhume the remains of Richard III. The University of Leicester completely refutes this claim.

The University of Leicester holds a legitimate licence granted by the Ministry of Justice. As the licence holder the University is responsible for the location of reinterment. Our decision was, and remains, that Richard III should be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral for the reasons outlined below.

  • The plan for reinterment in Leicester Cathedral was clearly stated and unambiguous at the start of the project and announced in a statement on Friday 24 August 2012. This was before the dig started.
  • Reinterment on the nearest consecrated ground is in keeping with good archaeological practice. Richard has lain in the shadow of St Martin’s Cathedral, Leicester, for over 500 years.
  • The landowner (Leicester City Council) gave permission for the excavation of the Greyfriars site on this basis.

Richard III is believed to have no living descendants. Any distant relations are therefore descended from his siblings. Statistically speaking, many tens of thousands of individuals alive today are descended in this way.

There is no obligation to consult living relatives where remains are older than 100 years.

The attempt to invoke Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for… family life) seems particularly odd given the distance of any relations, the years that have passed and thus the lack of any personal relationship with the deceased.

The University will continue to work with our partners, the Richard III Society, Leicester Cathedral and Leicester City Council to ensure an appropriate and fitting reinterment for England’s last Plantagenet monarch in Leicester.

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