A gold, garnet and sapphire crown will adorn the coffin of King Richard III when he is finally laid to rest – wherever that might be.
The regal gift has been paid for by Dr John Ashdown-Hill, who worked with Philippa Langley to identify distant relatives of the Plantagenet monarch, which led to his identification.
Dr Ashdown-Hill has said he had no preference where the king is reburied, so the crown has not been committed to any cathedral in particular.
However, clergy at St Martin’s in Leicester have said the gift is more than welcome to play a part in proceedings should a judicial review rule in the city’s favour, in March.
The Rev Pete Hobson, canon missioner at Leicester Cathedral, said: “We’re very grateful to John for donating the crown and it will be present in some form during the reinterment ceremony, but not buried with the coffin.”
Dr Ashdown-Hill said: “In the 15th century, closed crowns – with arches, like a modern royal crown – were just coming in and Richard III probably wore such a crown on occasions.
“But the crown he wore at his crown-wearing ceremony at Leicester, and at the Battle of Bosworth itself, must have been an open crown because he wore it over his helmet, so that’s the design I chose to reproduce.”
The crown will be made from a base metal and overlaid with gold.
It will also include pearls, garnets and sapphires.
Jewellers have not yet finished crafting it, said Dr Ashdown-Hill, so he cannot say how much it will cost.
It will make up part of the ceremonial pomp which will accompany the £1 million reburial.
A funeral pall – to be draped over the coffin – is also being crafted and commemorative stained-glass windows, which will tell the story of Richard III, are being created.
Textile artist Jacquie Binns will create the embroidered pall, while traditional stained-glass window-maker Thomas Denny is in the process of designing two pieces for the one of the cathedral’s chapels.
It is hoped the reinterment will take place before August. This depends on a battle for the bones which will take place at the High Court in London.
Representatives from Leicester Cathedral, the University of Leicester, the city council and the Ministry of Justice will fight the Plantagenet Alliance, which claims a wider consultation should have been carried out before deciding where to rebury the remains.
Article Leicester Mercury