King Richard III's remains found in parking lot to be interred at cathedral

King Richard III is set to get a new burial place Thursday after his bones were discovered in 2012 under a Leicester parking lot. CBC's Reg Sherren, in the U.K. ahead of the reinterment, looks at the Canadian connection in the historic process.

Pair of Canadians instrumental in testing, confirming ancestral ties to king

Richard III's second burial

8 years ago
Duration 11:06
King Richard III will be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral, nearly 530 years after his death

King Richard III is set to get a new burial place Thursday after his bones were discovered in 2012 under a Leicester parking lot, thanks to a critical Canadian connection in the historic process.

Members of the Royal Family will attend Thursday's ceremony, which will be led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual head of the Anglican Church.

Questions swirled about the precise location of Richard's burial site for more than 500 years until the parking lot discovery.

The skeleton was found below the lot "in about a metre of soil in what used to be the Greyfriars Church," Sherren says. The curved spine of the skeleton was an indication that the bones might be those of Richard III and in 2013 the University of Leicester announced that the remains were in fact those of the king.

"There were fights over where he should be kept, how he should be handled, who owns the rights to him — where should he be buried," Sherren says.

The king's remains will be buried in Leicester Cathedral in a coffin designed by Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born furniture maker whose DNA was used to help confirm the identity of the remains. Ibsen's ancestors go back to the king's sister, Anne of York.

"I am a 17th-generation nephew," Ibsen said.

Ibsen is pleased to be involved for professional and personal reasons.

"My mother was quite proud of the connection. She never lost her fascination with her English heritage," he said.

Dr. Turi King, a Canadian who studied at the University of British Columbia, helped identify the genetic connection to the skeleton.

"It's been a really amazing project. Very high pressure, a lot of public interest, but really amazing project to be involved in," the University of Leicester lecturer in Genetics and Archeology said. "I'm really lucky."

Richard, the last of England's kings to die in battle on British soil, was killed in a 1485 clash with Henry Tudor. 

With a file from Reuters