After hundreds of years of lying in what is now a car park, one of England's most notorious monarchs is going to be reburied in Leicester Cathedral. But not before a very long procession.
Fans of King Richard – who, according to Shakespeare was one of the world's greatest villains, with a hunchback and a penchant for child-killing – have got a week's worth of celebrations to mark the reinterment.
He was exhumed in 2012, with archaeologists hoping the unusual curvature of the spine meant they had struck gold: a DNA test, using blood from descendent Michael Ibsen, confirmed that he was the long-lost king.
The last Plantagenet ruler, who was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, was “coffined” earlier this week.
On Sunday March 22, there will be a procession starting at 10:50am from the Fielding Johnson Building at the University of Leicester to a private ceremony at Fenn Lane Farm, the closest place to where he died.
Soils from three places that featured in Richard's life – Middleham, Fotheringhay and Fenn Lane – will be brought together during the service led by Rev Hilary Surridge.
There will then be a 10-minute service on the village green at Dadlington, another 10-minute service at Sutton Cheney Church, a ceremony at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and a service at Market Bosworth.
By 4:30pm, the procession will have reached Bow Bridge, the medieval city boundary, where there will be a brief ceremony wrapping a garland of roses around the bridge post. The coffin cortege will continue to St Nicholas Church for yet another service, before travelling through the city centre to arrive at Leicester Cathedral at 5:45pm.
Here is what that route looks like:
On Monday a requiem mass will be given in the Catholic parish church the Holy Cross, and the choir from St Barnabus Cathedral in Nottingham will sing.
The cathedral will be open to the public from Monday to Wednesday. Thursday will see the service of the reinterment take place, where Richard's remains will finally be laid to rest. The Archbishop of Canterbury will attend the service, along with other senior clergy.
On Friday, Leicester Cathedral will reveal the sealed tomb to the public and in the afternoon the public will be able to visit. That night there will be a firework display from the cathedral roof to celebrate the burial.
The team at Leicester Cathedral has been working on the plans for the week of events for a year.
“The reburial itself will be the occasion of a special service, which will draw together all we know of medieval reinterment rites, but will also clearly be intelligible for a modern 21st century global audience,” it said.
“This will not be a funeral service, when the departed is clearly commended into the hands of God in the presence of those who knew them personally in life, because this has already taken place. It will involve prayers in memory both of Richard and of all who died at Bosworth and in warfare, and will commend his soul afresh to God’s merciful judgement.”
For those who can't get to Leicester for what the Richard III Society has called “Reinterment Week”, Channel 4 has a trio of programmes planned over the week.
Richard III: The Return of the King will show the procession to the cathedral; Richard III: The Burial of the King is live coverage of the reburial service and Richard III: The King Laid to Rest will show highlights of that service.