The members of the Looking for Richard Project project are not unanimous about where we would like to see Richard III reburied. However, we are unanimous in believing that Richard III should be treated honourably, and not as a scientific specimen. We hope that his remains will soon be removed from the university to a prayerful environment. We also hope that his bones will not be subjected to preservation, or piled in an ossuary box, but will be laid out anatomically for reburial in a proper coffin, and given a suitable and fitting monument to honour the last warrior king of England.
In a letter to The Independent published on Wednesday, the "Looking for Richard Project" slams the “cavalier disregard of the legal process” over the university’s desire to sequence the king’s genome. The group, part of the Richard III Society, which in 2012 began the search for his remains in conjunction with the university and Leicester City council, said the tests “raise serious questions of propriety and ethics”.
The authors add: “There has been no independent verification that these tests are either ethical or necessary. Indeed, the university has, in effect, authorised itself to conduct tests that are far from essential and will add very little to our useful knowledge of England’s last Plantagenet king.”
The project’s Phillipa Langley, who led the search two years ago and co-authored the letter, also accuses the university of not honouring her contract with the University of Leicester Archaeological Services(ULAS). The letter said that “any remains positively identified as Richard III would be transferred to her as custodian to be placed in a prayerful environment to await reburial”.
As the person who first documented Richard III's family link to Joy Ibsen; who, as a result, first published the king's mtDNA sequence; who researched for the BBC the 'body in the river' myth and disproved it; who established that Richard III definitely had been buried at the Franciscan Priory in Leicester, and accurately predicted the probable location of the lost priory church, I feel acutely aware of the fact that without my historical and genealogical research Richard III's body would never have been rediscovered in 2012.
I therefore feel deeply responsible for the safety of King Richard III's remains. A case to determine who should have charge of the king's body is at present before the High Court. Under these circumstances it seems particularly outrageous that any destructive research should be conducted upon the remains by those who currently hold them. Yet that is precisely what is being done. Parts of the king's bones have recently been destroyed without outside consultation, for no good reason, merely in order to allow completely gratuitous scientific investigations to be conducted.
If, like me, you feel that this is wrong, you might like to give your support to this petition:
If you are outside the UK, you can sign this petition: