LONDON – Richard III was finally getting the ceremony and honor a king deserves, 530 years after his ignominious death in battle.
Hundreds of people, including some in period costume and armor, turned out in Leicestershire on Sunday to watch a procession carrying the remains of the medieval king whose bones were found in 2012 under a parking lot. The cortege made its way to Leicester Cathedral, where the monarch will be properly reburied.
Richard, the last Plantagenet king, was killed in battle against Henry Tudor in 1485 and buried hastily without a coffin in a long-demolished monastery.
His bones weren't found until 2012, when archaeologists excavated them from a Leicester parking lot. DNA tests, bone analysis and other scientific scrutiny established that the skeleton belonged to the king.
On Sunday, a hearse carrying the monarch's remains, sealed inside an oak coffin, processed through Leicestershire's countryside to Bosworth, the battlefield where the monarch fell. Crowds lined the route of the cortege, and re-enactors in costume fired cannons in a 21-gun salute.
Michael Ibsen, a descendant of the monarch who built the coffin that carried Richard's remains, was among academics and others who placed white roses on the casket during a short ceremony earlier Sunday.
The coffin will lie in Leicester Cathedral, where it will be lowered into a tomb on Thursday.
"His reburial at the end of the week will have all the dignity and solemnity that his original burial never had," said Phil Stone, chair of the Richard III Society. It was time to reconsider the king's legacy, he added.
The monarch was most famously portrayed as a hunchbacked villain in Shakespeare's play "Richard III," though some historians say he was a relatively enlightened monarch whose name was besmirched by his opponents.
"Let us remember King Richard III: The good king. The warrior king," Stone said.