Councillors support return of the king

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THE Government is coming under renewed pressure to consider burying Richard III’s remains in Yorkshire after councillors in the monarch’s childhood home town backed the campaign to bring the skeleton to the region.

Members of Middleham Town Council have added their voice to the bid to ensure the bones are re-interred in York Minster instead of Leicester, where the remains were discovered under a council car park.

The market town in the Yorkshire Dales has strong links to Richard, who grew up at Middleham Castle. Town councillors are now planning to write to the Ministry of Justice to call for a change in the terms of the licence granted for the exhumation, which states the remains should be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral.

The council’s deputy chairwoman Sue Fairhurst said: “There is a general feeling among councillors that the remains will be buried in Leicester without any proper debate or discussion. We do feel the bones should not be buried there, and instead brought to Yorkshire where the king himself is said to have wanted to be buried.

“Hopefully the Government will see common sense, as there is a great deal of support for the remains to be returned to the North of England.”

The campaign to ensure Richard’s last resting place is in York Minster has attracted the support of MPs, leading councillors, academics and tourism chiefs. An online petition had collected nearly 24,000 signatures last night calling for the skeleton to be re-interred in the Minster.

The remains, one of the most dramatic archaeological finds in recent history, were confirmed “beyond reasonable doubt” earlier this month to be the king following DNA tests. Richard, who regularly visited York during his 26-month reign, died in battle in 1485, ending the Wars of the Roses.

York Minster has, however, distanced itself from the campaign to bring the remains to Yorkshire, pointing out that Leicester should be the final resting place under the terms of the licence granted for the exhumation.

email paul.jeeves@ypn.co.uk