The living descendants of Richard III today backed calls for his remains to be reburied in York.

The monarch’s 500-year-old skeleton was identified earlier this month after it was uncovered during an archaeological dig at a council car park in Leicester last year.

Campaigners have been calling for his remains to be reburied in York, as he had wished, instead of in Leicester Cathedral, as currently planned.

Today, nine of Richard’s descendants said the king, the last monarch of the House of York, should be buried in York.

They said in a statement: “We, the undernamed, do hereby most respectfully demand that the remains of King Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England and our mutual ancestor, be returned to the city of York for formal, ceremonial reburial.

“We believe that such an interment was the desire of King Richard in life and we have written this statement so that his wishes may be fully recognised and upheld.

“King Richard III was the last King of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty which had ruled England since the succession of King Henry II in 1154.”

They continued: “We, the undernamed blood descendants, unreservedly believe that King Richard is deserving of great recognition and respect and hereby agree to dutifully uphold his memory.

"With due humility and affection, we are and will remain his Majesty’s representatives and voice.”

City leaders in York have said they will write to the Queen and the Ministry of Justice in a bid to get Richard’s remains returned to his “spiritual home”.

King Richard grew up at Middleham Castle in the Yorkshire Dales and visited York several times during his reign.

A petition calling for King Richard to be re-interred at York has been signed by more than 23,000 people.

But the Ministry of Justice has said it was the University of Leicester’s decision to make as they had been granted permission to exhume the monarch's body.

Today's letter is signed by Charles E Brunner (Richard’s 17th great nephew), Stephen Guy Nicolay (16th great nephew), Vanessa Maria Roe (16th great niece), Jacob Daniel Tyler (17th great nephew), Paul Tyler (16th great nephew), Raymond Torrence Bertram Roe (15th great nephew), Linda Jane Roe, (16th great niece), Eleanor Bianca Lupton (17th great niece) and Charlotte Jane Lupton (17th great niece).

Meanwhile, Raby Castle, the childhood home of Richard’s mother, Cicely Nevill, and his father Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, has also joined the debate.

A spokeswoman said: “It’s a lovely idea for Richard III to be brought to York. As the last Yorkist King it seems a fitting tribute.

“She survived most of her children and lived through times of great unrest, wars, sadness and treachery and the intrigue surrounding her children. We are now considering making more of her story for our visitors.”