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Richard’s Reboot

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |

Richard III

When determining whether or not something is a social faux pas, I refer to Miss Manners. When determining whether or not something is ironic, I refer to Ms. Morissette. However, Alanis has failed me this time because there’s no verse that points to whether or not the family of a certain king, who was assumed to have shuffled his two nephews off their mortal coils, claiming a breach of human rights over his ultimate burial place is ironic.

Perhaps you heard the news last year that archeologists discovered a body buried under a parking lot. In February testing confirmed that the bones found under a parking lot were that of England’s King Richard III.  Bard-loving fans of the Wars of the Roses plays know Richard as a hunch-backed villain who really wanted a horse. Modern scholars have been a bit kinder, but there’s still some shade concerning the death of his two nephews—potential rivals for his crown and whose bodies are assumed to be the ones found in the Tower of London—while they were under his care. Now there’s a whole new drama brewing.

After Richard’s body was found, the UK Ministry of Justice issued the University of Leicester (the archeologists were from there) an exhumation certificate which would let the University decide where the remains go. The University chose Leicester Cathedral, which actually wasn’t too far from the parking lot where he was found. Nice, right? Not according to the Plantagent Alliance, a group of individuals claiming to be Richard’s relatives, descended through his siblings. (When he died in 1485, Richard had no surviving children.) The Alliance wants Richard’s final resting place to be in York, which they claim was his “spiritual home” (he was the last King of the House of York). They claim they should have been consulted before the certificate was granted, and that the Ministry violated article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Article 8 covers “private and family life.

With the Dean of York receiving some pretty serious hate mail over the situation, at least one politician is advising all concerned to take a chill pill.  No one wants a War of the Roses reboot. Medieval history aside, think of how it ended for Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.

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