March 22, 2015 - 11:26 AM
LONDON - Hundreds of people gathered in an English town Sunday as a procession carrying the remains of Richard III, the medieval king whose bones were found under a parking lot, headed to a cathedral before a proper burial ceremony more than 500 years after his death in battle.
A hearse carrying the monarch's remains, sealed inside an oak coffin, processed past Leicestershire's landmarks — including the battlefield at Bosworth where the monarch was killed in 1485. Dozens of people, including some dressed in medieval costumes and carrying torches, turned out at the battlefield to watch the cortege.
Richard, the last Plantagenet king, was buried hastily without a coffin in a church that was demolished long ago. His bones weren't found until 2012, when archaeologists excavated them from a Leicester parking lot. DNA tests, bone analysis and other scientific scrutiny established that the skeleton belonged to the king.
Michael Ibsen, a descendant of the monarch who built the coffin that carried Richard's remains, was among academics and others who placed white roses on the casket during a short ceremony earlier Sunday.
On Thursday, organizers plan to lower the coffin into a tomb at Leicester Cathedral.
"His reburial at the end of the week will have all the dignity and solemnity that his original burial never had," said Phil Stone, chair of the Richard III Society. "Our work will continue, in perhaps convincing the doubters Richard wasn't as black (evil) as he was once thought to be."
The monarch was portrayed as a hunchbacked villain in Shakespeare's play "Richard III," though some historians claim he was a relatively enlightened monarch whose name was besmirched by his opponents.
News from © The Associated Press, 2015