THE coffin in which the remains of King Richard III have been sealed in preparation for this week’s reinterment was made by one of his distant relatives.
Cabinetmaker Michael Ibsen, who is the 17th. great grand-nephew of the King who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, was asked to make the coffin. The skeletal remains of the last of the Plantagenets were discovered beneath a carpark in Leicester by archaeologists in 2012. The site had been where the Franciscan friary of Greyfriars had stood and where the King’s body had been taken following the battle.
DNA samples were taken from a number of distant relatives, including Mr. Ibsen, as part of the process to confirm the identity of the remains.
Mr. Ibsen, who is Canadian, has lived for many years in England and has a workshop in north London. He was delighted to be asked by Leicester Cathedral, where Richard will be reinterred: “It’s very special,” he said, “discovering that you are related to Richard III and then being able to use your natural abilities to be part of the whole reinterment.”
After considering a number of ideas for the design, Mr. Ibsen said he decided in the end to keep it simple: “I had all kinds of crazy ideas in terms of panelling, but at the end, I decided to keep it as simple as possible.”
There was never any doubt in the cabinetmaker’s mind which wood should be used to make the coffin. “It really had to be English oak. Traditionally, oak would have been used for a high-status funeral if there was a coffin.”
In the end, the oak came from a forest belonging to Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall estate.
Keeping with the traditional materials, English Yew was used to make the internal framework of the coffin.
A lead ossuary had to be made to fit inside the wooden coffin.
Weight was a major factor. The first design for the lead lining would have resulted in the ossuary weighing in at around 100 kilos, much too heavy for pall bearers to handle.
The final version, using thinner lead, ended up at 60 kg.
The lid of the coffin has the King’s name carved on it, along with the dates of his birth and death.
The carving was carried out by Anna Louise Parker and took a week to complete.
Natural materials were also used when it came to providing the padding for the coffin.
Thick natural woollen fleece and unbleached linen were used inside the coffin where Richard III’s were laid out anatomically. After the lead ossuary was sealed with solder, Mr. Ibsen then screwed down the lid.
Final Resting Place
Thousands of people have been filing past the coffin in Leicester Cathedral.
Covered in an ornately embroidered pall, with a crown placed on top, the coffin will remain on display until Thursday when it will be sealed in specially constructed tomb in the Cathedral.
View previous In the News items Helping medical education could pay for your funeral , Tributes are paid to musician Andy Fraser, Scientists find lost remains of Spanish writer , Thousand of skeletons being exhumed from burial ground , Tributes are paid to former Ulster Unionist leader James Molyneaux, More people are urged to make funeral plans, Campaign for memorial to forgotten footballer, Oldest person in UK passes away, Sixties pop star Dozy passes away, Actor and singer Lance Percival passes away, Tributes are paid to war veteran Bernard Jordan, Paisley family reveal how rosebud brought them much pleasure, MP warns of problems caused by funeral poverty, Funeral to take place of cancer campaigner Una Crudden, Actress Joanna Dunham passes away, Funeral takes place of rugby legend Jack Kyle, Tributes are paid to crime writer P D James, Join the donor register and help save lives, Funeral takes place of Brendan Megraw, Guitarist Manitas de Plata passes away, Family funeral planned for Brendan Megraw, Tributes are paid to American poet Galway Kinnell, Actress Marcia Strassman passes away, Tributes have been paid to the singer Alvin Stardust, Renowned newspaper editor Ben Bradlee passes away, Former Australian PM Gough Whitlam passes away , Tributes are paid to actress Lynda Bellingham, Hundreds attend Memorial Service for Ian Paisley, Tributes are paid to actress Marian Seldes, Cancer remains top cause of death, Country singer George Hamilton IV passes away, Songwriter Bob Crewe passes away, Funeral takes place of Ian Paisley, Tributes are paid to Lord Attenborough, Albert Reynolds is given State Funeral, Tributes are paid to broadcaster Gerry Anderson, Tributes are paid to veteran actor JJ Murphy, Tribute are paid to former DJ Mike Smith, Funeral takes place of Churchwoman Lynda Patterson, Supermarket founder Karl Albrecht passes away, Actor James Garner passes away, Tributes are paid to Elaine Stritch, Tributes are paid to Presbyterian minister, Punk rocker Tommy Ramone passes away, Footballing legent Alfredo Di Stefano passes away, Tributes are paid to jazz musician Paul Horn, Tributes are paid to soul legend Bobby Womack, MBE for inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton, Actress and activist Ruby Dee passes away, Author Eric Hill passes away, Tributes are paid to Rik Mayall, Funeral takes place of Sir John Gorman, Former film star Mona Freeman passes away, Actress Ann B Davis passes away, Judges rule on remains of King Richard III, Smithfield legend Joe Kavanagh passes away, Singer Jerry Vale passes away, Comedian Eli Woods passes away, Shankill pays tribute to Hugh Smyth, Inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton passes away, Colourful funeral for brave Oscar Knox, Scientist Colin Pillinger passes away, Former boxing champion Jimmy Ellis passes away, Tributes are paid to Elena Baltacha, Paul Robeson Junior passes away, Tributes are paid to former footballer Sandy Jardine, Headstones are damaged at a Belfast cemetery, Tributes are paid to popular politician, Generous response in wake of marathon tragedy, Tributes are paid to actress Edna Dore, Private funeral is planned for Mickey Rooney, Country musician Arthur Smith passes away, Comedy writer Bob Larbey passes away, Surfing pioneer Hobie Alter passes away, Writer Sam McAughtry passes away, Internet sensation Peter Oakley passes away, Tributes are paid to actor James Rebhorn or Funeral takes place of James Ellis
If you have a relative or a friend who has passed away and feel they should be mentioned in our In the News section, then please email us.
Our Email Alerts system means that if you register a name with us, we will send you a message if it appears on our website.