Richard III: Calls for the skeleton of king to go on display are dismissed by Leicester Cathedral
Calls for the skeleton of Richard III to be put on open display before he is reburied at Leicester Cathedral have been dismissed.
Cathedral staff said they were determined not to turn the remains of the monarch into a "sideshow".
They said if it was decided to invite people to pay their respects, the remains were more likely to be presented in a closed casket.
The comments were made after suggestions the skeleton might go on public display were debated on a BBC Radio Leicester phone-in yesterday, with several callers – and members of the public interviewed by the Mercury, see below – saying it should.
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Leicester Diocese director of communications Liz Hudson said cathedral staff were discussing the appropriate protocols to adopt once the skeleton was released by the University of Leicester.
"We must remember these are the mortal remains of a human being and, as such, must be treated with the utmost respect," she said.
"No decisions have been made but I do not think we would be disposed to displaying the bones.
"To have them in a casket before re-interment could be an option.
"But, I must stress it is very early in the process and we will be consulting widely on what is the best way forward."
Miss Hudson said the position of the grave established.
She said the cathedral's own archaeologists would have to survey the ground under the building to establish a suitable location.
Under the licence granted to the University of Leicester to exhume Richard's skeleton, the remains must be reburied in the cathedral by August next year.
Miss Hudson said: "Whatever is decided, we will not be turning it into a sideshow.
"This is the cathedral for the people of Leicester and what will happen must be decided with great care and consideration."
Sarah Tarlow, professor of historical archaeology at the University of Leicester, said the remains were being treated with utmost respect.
She said: "Invasive procedures are being kept to an absolute minimum. We are under an obligation to return the entire remains for re-interment.
"We are not allowed to retain samples for further work.
"We may seek agreement with the cathedral to make the remains accessible, should archaeologists in the future need to carry out further tests."
A spokesman for the university said research on the remains would recommence following Monday's announcement.
The spokesman said: "There is a great deal of work still to do and what has happened this week is an interruption in a programme which will now continue to enable academic papers to be written."