A maligned monarch found under a parking lot was buried in pomp today, as Britain embraced comeback King Richard III, a long-reviled ruler who is experiencing a remarkable posthumous renaissance. Royalty, religious leaders, and even actor Benedict Cumberbatch joined archaeologists, Richard's distant relatives, and curious Britons for a service in Leicester Cathedral that saw Richard's bones buried with dignity, 530 years after his violent death. "Richard's posthumous reputation has been less than glorious," Gordon Campbell, the University of Leicester's public orator, noted with understatement about a man whose name was long a byword for villainy. But now, Campbell said, he has "the greatest following of all English monarchs" apart from Queen Elizabeth II.
Twenty-first-century Britain has enthusiastically embraced the story of the medieval king whose battle-scarred skeleton was found under a parking lot in Leicester in 2012. Thousands came to view his coffin ahead of today's service, which was televised live. In his sermon, Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens said the discovery of the skeleton "has broken open not just a car park, but a nation's story." Richard, he said, belongs not just to archaeologists and historians, "but to all of us." Before he died, Richard battled roundworms. (Read more Richard III stories.)