"Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York." - William Shakespeare, Richard III
"The archaeological discovery of the mortal remains of a former King of England after 500 years is without precedent." This is the opening line of the judgment of the Honorable Mr Justice Haddon-Cave dated 15 August 2013 in which he granted permission to apply for a judicial review in respect of the final resting place of Richard III. The legal proceedings have been brought by the Plantagenet Alliance which is described in the judgment as "a campaigning organisation incorporated...by the 17th great-nephew of Richard III". The case concerns the significant discovery by the University of Leicester archaeological team of the remains of the king under a municipal car park in Leicester. The application seeks to contest the decision of the Secretary of State for Justice in granting a licence for the removal of the remains of "persons unknown" without adequate consultation as to the re-interment. The University of Leciester is named as the second defendant and the cathedrals of Leicester and York are named as "interested parties". The background in the judgment sets the scene:
"On 22nd August 1485, Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth. His body was taken by supporters of the victorious Henry VII to the nearby town of Leciester and buried in Gray Friars Church. Richard III's death brought to an end the Wars of the Roses and the Plantagenet dynasty, and heralded the advent of the Tudor era. Richard III has remained a historical figure of significance and controversy."
Haddon-Cave J. confirmed that it is "plainly arguable that there was a duty at common law to consult widely as to how and where Richard III's remains should appropriately be re-interred." The substantive hearing is to follow.