The battle for the final resting place of King Richard III seems already won after it was revealed the decision is in the hands of university experts.
It was confirmed yesterday it is up to the University of Leicester to decide where he should be buried as it had been granted permission to exhume the monarch’s body.
The news came as York Minster rejected calls for the King to be laid to rest there.
More than 11,000 people have signed a petition calling for Richard to be re-interred in York and York Council is writing to the Queen and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to lay claim to the remains of the last Plantagenet king.
But yesterday the MoJ said an archaeological exhumation licence had been issued which required details of where the remains would be laid to rest.
It said: “The licence we issued states that [the University of Leicester] would, no later than August 31, 2014, deposit the remains at Jewry Wall Museum or have them interred at St Martin’s Cathedral or in a burial ground in which interments may legally take place. The precise location of reburial is now for the University of Leicester.”
A statement from York Minster said it had been Leicester Franciscans who had buried the King and the city’s cathedral had a memorial to him “at its heart”. It added: “The Chapter of York commends Richard to Leicester’s care and to the cathedral community’s prayers.”
Coun James Alexander, the leader of York Council said: “Whilst we acknowledge the sensitivities and delicacy of this matter, we have a duty to reflect the voice of the people of York, King Richard III’s descendants and academic opinion. Whatever the outcome we would want a lasting memorial to this last Yorkist monarch in his spiritual home.”
Leicester’s Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said plans were under way for re-interment at Leicester Cathedral next year.
Richard’s childhood home was Middleham Castle in North Yorkshire.