Richard III’s battles today are not being fought on Bosworth Field, but in the High Court. But what’s the battle all about?
As is well known the remains of the King were exhumed by Leicester University from a central Leicester car park. The exhumation occurred further to an Exhumation Licence granted by the Ministry of Justice to the University.
Normally after an archaeological exhumation the mortal remains are reinterred in the nearest consecrated ground. Leicester cathedral is 100 yards away and the plan was to lay Richard to rest there.
Signs emerged that not everyone agreed with this, but at the start it appeared to have a feel of good natured publicity. That was until the Plantagenet Alliance (an apparent loose association of the late King’s relatives) claimed that the University and Leicester City Council had failed to consult properly, further to the Licence upon were the remains should be interred. They also claimed that this failure breached the Alliance members Human Rights.
The Alliance applied to have the grant of the Licence to the University Judicially reviewed.
Judicial Review is a process for the review of exercise of powers by a public body. To proceed the permission of the court is needed and contrary to expectation this was granted by the Judge in August last year.
The Judge said there was a duty to consult “widely… given the legitimate public interest” in the Kings remains.
Having lost this battle the University did not roam the fields saying “a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse…”
Rather they regrouped and fought the next battle, the review itself which was heard in the High Court last week, where it was noted:
“Richard III would have raised an eyebrow if he’d been told that there would be public consultation on his reburial 500 years on”
It seems Plantagenet despots were not big on consultation.
Judgement was reserved and the decision is awaited. The outcome and its consequences will be covered in future blog posts.