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British cricket commentators debate Richard III, reinterment plans announced

A facial reconstruction of King Richard III is unveiled by the Richard III Society on February 5, 2013 in London, England.
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

"Your lot pinched our king, our Yorkshire king. Your lot in Leicestershire where you live."

You might not expect to hear something like that during sports analysis, but that’s exactly what went down when the topic of Richard III came up between cricket commentators Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew during a recent match. BBC News noted on Aug. 10 that the duo had been talking about King Lear and Shakespeare when Boycott, a Yorkshireman himself, claimed the town that became Richard III’s final resting place “pinched his bones” and is keeping them just to make money.

A little background: Richard III died in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field, after which Henry Tudor VII ascended the throne as Henry VII. Richard’s remains were not identified until early last year, when a team of scientists with the University of Leicester found them under a car park in the town of the same name and determined they were his “beyond reasonable doubt.”

The Plantagenet Alliance, a group of the king’s modern-day descendants who hoped to have the last king of House of York “brought home,” previously filed an appeal in March claiming their wishes as the king’s living relatives about his reburial were not acknowledged enough. However, since Leicester had already been granted a burial license, Britain’s High Court of Justice ruled against them in May and said the king should receive a “dignified reburial” at Leicester Cathedral.

In response to Boycott’s accusation, Agnew stuck up for Leicestershire, the county in which he lives, saying Richard “has been quite happy there under a car park for hundreds of years."

"Yeah, you only kept him so you can make money, people looking at him. He is king of Yorkshire," Boycott responded.

Agnew said the king’s reburial would be “moving,” adding that he deserved to be laid to rest, but Boycott remained unmoved, saying, “Yeah, you kept him for the money.”

The debate over Leicester’s true motives behind keeping Richard III’s remains comes days after plans to reinter the king at Leicester Cathedral were finalized. On March 26, 2015, the monarch’s remains will be given that “dignified reburial” after a week-long program of events leading up to the ceremony, which includes transporting the remains to Bosworth and other villages in the county in a memorial parade. The Duke of Gloucester, a title Richard III once held himself, has agreed to be the patron of a fundraising effort to come with the £2.5 million needed to help cover the reinterment costs.

Though the official reburial won’t happen until next year, history buffs can now visit the King Richard III Visitor Centre, which opened on July 26. The center is situated around the spot where his remains were found and aims to educate visitors about Richard III’s dynasty, death, and (re)discovery.