Leicester

Richard III tomb: Cathedral confirms £1m plan

Outline design of Richard III's tomb
Image caption Part of the cathedral will be remodelled to house the tomb as part of a £1m plan

Richard III will be laid to rest beneath a raised tomb inside a remodelled Leicester cathedral.

The remains of the king, who died in battle in 1485, were discovered by archaeologists under a city car park in September.

Church officials, who had originally favoured a simpler floor level slab, said the decision had been guided by responses to a consultation.

The tomb area is part of a £1m plan to reinter the skeleton in May 2014.

As well as the raised tomb, the exact design of which is yet to be finalised, the new plans will see a series of changes to the inside of the cathedral to create a "significant space", with a new floor, lighting and stained glass windows.

'Big vision'

The Dean of Leicester, The Very Rev David Monteith, said: "We have listened very carefully to what the public have had to say.

"We have come to a view that a tomb which gives the sense of the volume of a human body seems to be important to people when dealing with a dead king".

He admitted raising money for the work, which includes raising and enlarging the altar, would be a challenge.

"But money follows vision and I think we have a great vision for the cathedral and Leicester has a great vision for honouring King Richard.

"Those two things combined I think will mean people will be generous and want to be part of this," he said.

'Absolutely splendid'

The Richard III Society, which was involved with the excavation to find the king's grave, had said it was "appalled" over earlier proposals for a simple slab tomb.

But secretary of the society's Leicester branch, Sally Henshaw, felt the new design was far better.

She said: "I particularly like the circle the tomb is standing on, which is done in the shape of a rose. I thought that was absolutely splendid.

"The tomb needs a bit of work, we are not quite there yet, but it is early stages."

Final designs for the tomb are expected to be approved in November.

The decision to lay Richard to rest in the cathedral is being challenged by the group called The Plantagenet Alliance, which includes distant relatives of the king.

A decision on a judicial review of the plans is expected in the coming weeks.

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