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Tug of war for Richard III hots up
CAMPAIGNERS who want the remains of Richard III to be buried in Leicester have claimed their support is closing in on York’s – despite a 6,000-signature gap.
An online Government petition backing the East Midlands city’s claim to be the final resting place of the last Yorkist king, after his skeleton was discovered under one of its car parks last summer, had topped 24,000 by yesterday lunchtime.
But that was still lagging behind a similar petition calling for him to be reinterred at York Minster which has more than 30,200 declarations of support but is now entering its final days.
The petitions battle is one aspect of a bitter fight between the two cities over Richard’s remains, as Leicester Cathedral chiefs announced he would be buried under a raised tomb ironically made out of Yorkshire limestone.
Relatives of the king, calling themselves the Plantagenet Alliance, have applied to the High Court for a judicial review over the decision to grant Leicester the right to bury him, saying he should be laid to rest in York due to his strong links with the city.
The limestone for the tomb, which would cost £1.3 million and be placed on a floor inlaid with a large Yorkist white rose within the cathedral’s chancel, is quarried near Middleham, where Richard – killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 – underwent his boyhood training as a knight and later made his home.
The cathedral hopes to reinter his remains in a ceremony next year, but this will depend on the outcome of the Alliance’s legal challenge.
The Leicester petition has three weeks to run, with local media saying support for it has soared in recent days. The “Richard III to be reinterred at York Minster” petition ends on Tuesday and can be found at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions.
“We fully respect the process of the judicial review, which will ensure the procedure leading to the reinterment is correct,” said the Dean of Leicester, the Very Reverend David Monteith.
“While this takes its course, we must, as would any cathedral in this position, seek planning permission for the detailed and costly changes which need to be made to the building.
“The overall concept is regal and respectful, as befits the final resting place of a King of England.”
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