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'Car park king' Richard III's tomb revealed

28 march 2015, 12:48
0
A picture of England's King Richard III hangs in the window of an opticians shop outside Leicester Cathedral in central England. ©AFP
A picture of England's King Richard III hangs in the window of an opticians shop outside Leicester Cathedral in central England. ©AFP

 The stone tomb covering the grave of Richard III was unveiled Friday, the last act in the reburial of the 15th-century king found beneath a car park, AFP reports.

The 2.3-tonne slab of Swaledale fossil stone went on public display the day after he was reinterred in Leicester Cathedral, central England, in the presence of royalty.

The light-coloured stone was quarried from land that Richard once owned in Yorkshire, his northern English stronghold.

The oblong tombstone, facing east, is slightly tilted upwards and has a Christian cross deeply carved into its surface.

Richard's coffin was reburied in the Leicester Cathedral on Thursday, across the street from where his remains were discovered in 2012.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, England's highest cleric, sprinkled it with holy water and threw on soil from the places where Richard was born, grew up and was slain.

The tombstone over the grave rests on a black Kilkenny marble plinth, which bears Richard's name, coat of arms, the dates of his life (1452-1485) and his motto, "Loyaulte me lie", meaning "loyalty binds me".

"King Richard III's tomb is now a permanent feature in Leicester Cathedral," said the cathedral's spokeswoman Liz Hudson.

"However, there are still a considerable number of visitors from all over the world in Leicester who we expect will want to take a last opportunity to see it before returning home.

"We anticipate a great deal of interest."

More than 35,000 people lined the city's streets for a procession which took the coffin to the cathedral on Sunday.

Some 20,000 people had queued for hours to file past Richard's coffin in the days preceding his reburial on Thursday.

The last English king to die in battle, Richard ruled from 1483 until his brutal death at the Battle of Bosworth near Leicester in 1485, aged 32.

His body was hastily buried by monks at Greyfriars monastery, which was dissolved in 1538.

Bosworth was the last major conflict in the Wars of the Roses and changed the course of English history as the Tudor dynasty captured the crown from the Plantagenets.

A wreath of broom, or planta genista, from which the dynasty took its name, was laid on the plinth. It contains white roses, the symbol of Richard's House of York.

The wreath is made of 14 pieces of broom and 85 roses -- the numbers apparently a coincidence.


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