Battle to bring king home gathers pace

A portrait of Richard III at the Yorkshire Museum, York

A portrait of Richard III at the Yorkshire Museum, York

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The campaign to bring Richard III’s remains back to Yorkshire is gathering pace with celebrity backers including Steve Coogan and thousands of others pledging their support.

The story of the king discovered beneath the tarmac of a council car park in Leicester has intrigued the public and earlier this month campaigners were at London’s High Court for the latest stages of a legal battle over where Richard III’s remains should be buried.

The remains of King Richard III in Leicester.

The remains of King Richard III in Leicester.

A judgement over whether permission for the regal bones to be re-buried in Leicester should be overturned will be made at a later date with campaigners arguing public talks should be held on such an important national issue.

Among those who have written in support of calls for him to be buried in York are comedian Steve Coogan, writer Julian Fellowes, who created Downton Abbey, which is set in North Yorkshire, and Geoffrey Boycott.

In a bid to keep the issue in the public eye campaigners have set up an online petition, which has already been signed by almost 1,000 people and a Facebook page which has almost 2,500 followers. But they are hoping more will sign-up and show their support.

Lisa Ward, from Castleford, who is involved in the campaign, said of the king: “As he loved Yorkshire so much and he wanted to be buried in York I hope that Yorkshire people will get behind us.”

The Yorkshire Post is supporting campaigners, who include Vanessa Roe, the 16th great-niece of Richard III, who want his remains returned to Yorkshire.

Campaigners have received a letter from Steve Coogan’s office saying he would like to give his “full support to the campaign.”

Other supporters include Julian Fellowes who says: “Richard III lived most of his adult life in the north, he was essentially ‘king’ of the north in a time of limited communications.

“He also had begun to build a chancel in York which he intended would house his own tomb. Since he ruled from York and he wanted to be buried in York, how can anyone question that Richard belongs in York?”

Geoffrey Boycott has also written in support stating: “..he was the last Yorkist King of England and he had a strong affiliation to the county and it was his wish to be buried there.”

The Plantagenet Alliance, a group of the king’s collateral descendants who want his remains to be reinterred in York, are challenging the processes surrounding the Ministry of Justice’s decision to grant a licence to allow the University of Leicester to remove the monarch’s remains and bury him at Leicester Cathedral. They argue public talks should have taken place and say he should be buried at York Minster.

People can sign the online petition by visiting: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/55196

To visit the Facebook page people should follow the link: https://www.facebook.com/PetitionToBringRichardIiiBackToYorkshire?ref=hl

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