A PROJECT to “research, celebrate and commemorate” Richard III in York has begun as the debate over where his remains should be buried rumbles on.

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.

Now City of York Council, York Minster, the University of York, York Museums Trust, the Richard III Society and the king’s descendants have attended a meeting to discuss how to build on the “extraordinary levels of public interest”.

It was decided a project should be organised to research and celebrate the Yorkist king.

A council spokesman said it would research and develop public awareness of the life and times of Richard’s reign, as well as celebrating the man and monarch in a manner similar to the York 800 programme of community involvement.

Kersten England, the city council’s chief executive, said: “Systematically working through the wealth of myths and hard evidence surrounding Richard will give us a firm knowledge base on which to build a programme of public involvement and celebration – with which we hope to include the people of Leicester – to keep alive the life and times of this remarkable man and monarch.”

Among the research sources available to academics will be House Books from the city’s archives and finds like the Middleham Jewel displayed at the Yorkshire Museum.

Buildings which may be used to illustrate the life and times of late 15th-century England could include Monk Bar – now a museum dedicated to Richard III – the Guildhall, where the last Plantagenet king dined, Barley Hall and York Minster.

A spokesperson for the Richard III Society said: “The society fully supports this venture which builds on its long promotion of the special relationship between the city and the king.”

Vanessa Roe, 16th great-niece of Richard III, said: “We wish to keep the impact and memory of the king alive.

“Adding to the existing body of research and celebrating his life is something I hope many, many people across the world will join us in, will enjoy and will continue to do so for generations to come.”