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Proponents of burying Richard III in York win court decision

| Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, 9:18 p.m.
Remains found underneath a car park in September 2012 in Leicester, which have been declared 'beyond reasonable doubt' to be the long lost remains of England's King Richard III, missing for 500 years.

LONDON — A court battle over plans to rebury the remains of ancient English King Richard III in the city of Leicester has been won for the moment by a group including distant relatives who want him buried in York instead.

Richard's skeleton was unearthed in a municipal car park in Leicester last year by Leicester University archaeologists. Backed by the Ministry of Justice, they decided the monarch — who was killed in battle nearby in 1485 — should be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral.

But objectors, who include some of Richard's descendants, argued at the High Court in London that because the king had strong links to York, 110 miles away, he should be buried at its cathedral, which is called York Minster.

Richard grew up in the county of Yorkshire and was known as Richard of York before he became king.

Granting the pro-York camp permission to take the case to a further court hearing later in the year, the judge said it could be argued there was a legal duty to consult more widely over where Richard should be reburied.

“The archaeological discovery of the mortal remains of a former King of England after 500 years is without precedent,” Justice Charles Haddon-Cave said.

Leicester Cathedral is already working on a project to accommodate the king's tomb. There also are plans for a major visitor center.

The judge said: “The benefit in terms of prestige and increased tourism to the city or place or institution which eventually secures these royal remains is obvious.”

Richard III was the last king from England's House of York. His death at the Battle of Bosworth brought to an end the so-called Wars of the Roses and the Plantagenet dynasty.

Haddon-Cave said he hoped the dispute could be settled out of court.

“In my view, it would be unseemly, undignified and unedifying to have a legal tussle over these royal remains,” the judge said, urging the opposing sides “to avoid embarking on the (legal) Wars of the Roses Part 2.”

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