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England's Richard III to be reburied in one of three services at Leicester Cathedral in March 2015
A file picture taken on January 25, 2013 shows a painting of medieval English king Richard III by an unknown artist displayed in the National Portrait Gallery in central London. AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal.

LONDON (AFP).- The remains of English king Richard III will be reburied at Leicester Cathedral in March 2015 following a week of events honouring the infamous monarch, the University of Leicester announced on Thursday.

Richard will be reinterred on March 26 in one of three services to remember his life and death in 1485.

He was killed at the Battle of Bosworth that ended the War of the Roses, the 32-year conflict between the rival York and Lancaster branches of the royal House of Plantagenet.

Historical accounts said his body was transported naked and bloody on the back of a pack horse to the central English city of Leicester before being buried in an unmarked grave at a Franciscan friary.

His remains were found in 2012 under a car park, but his reburial was delayed by a legal battle over where it should take place.

Descendants of the king, immortalised by playwright William Shakespeare as a treacherous hunchback, had fought for his skeleton to be buried in York Minster, in the northern city that gave its name to Richard's royal house.

But the High Court said that there was no reason that Richard should not stay in Leicester.

His mortal remains will be put into a lead-lined coffin and taken on a tour of villages linked to his final days, and back to the Bosworth battlefield where he perished.

Accompanied by a cortege, his remains will arrive at the cathedral on March 22 before lying in repose for three days.

Richard's tomb will be revealed after his skeleton has been reburied, followed by a service to mark the completion of the reinterment.

"Our cathedral has been consistently committed to providing a fitting, dignified and memorable ceremony for the reinterment of king Richard," said Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens.

The service of reinterment will be broadcast live on Britain's Channel 4 television.

"I simply cannot think of any comparable event and so am hugely looking forward to what promises to be a unique national moment," said Channel 4 commissioning editor John Hays.

Richard, the 14 times great-grand-uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, became the last English king to die in battle.

His death marked the end of the war between the houses of Lancaster and York -- named after their respective heraldic symbols of the red and white rose -- and the rise of the Tudor dynasty.

Shakespeare's play long ago sealed the reputation of Richard as a bloody tyrant, although later historians have called the depiction into question.

In the play, Richard cries out the line "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse" as he seeks to flee the battlefield, before he is killed by the future king Henry VII.

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

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