Richard III dig: American group in bid to have King's remains buried in York
An international organisation dedicated to Richard III has launched a petition calling for remains believed to be those of the king to be buried in York.
The Richard III Foundation, based in Virginia, USA, has invited people to sign a petition which proposes reinterring the bones at York Minster.
The organisation said Richard spent much of his youth at Middleham Castle, in Yorkshire, and spoke about his wish to be buried in the county.
So far, 372 people have put their names to the campaign.
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However, Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby and Philippa Langley, from the Richard III Society, have reiterated their determination to place the bones in Leicester Cathedral.
Sir Peter said: "The foundation, from what I understand, is an American outfit with one representative here in England and thankfully no one takes it very seriously, least of all me.
"I couldn't think of a more appropriate place than Leicester Cathedral for the remains. Richard has rested in the city's shadow for over 500 years – there's a memorial to him in the cathedral and he has been closely associated with Bosworth for a long time.
"There is only place he should be buried as far as I'm concerned and that's Leicester."
Ms Langley, who began the search for Richard in 2008, said: "Initiating this project took three years and included having to go through the Ministry of Justice, royal coroner and the palaces.
"When I started the process everybody said the remains should stay in Leicester.
"There's a huge case for that because he's been here for the past 527 years and it's the Leicester authority which has paid for the dig and provided assistance from the start."
She said York Minster waited 15 years before agreeing to house a stained-glass window dedicated to Richard.
"It worries me to think the same will happen with the remains," she said.
"The problem is that York Minster is full and there might not be anywhere for him.
"I don't want the body sitting around for more than decade before they decide where they're going to put him."
University of Leicester archaeologist Richard Buckley, who led the dig, said: "The remains, assuming it is Richard III, were buried in good faith in the Grey Friars church and should remain in the parish.
"They've been here for 527 years and I see no reason to move them."
The Richard III Foundation has received backing on its petition website from enthusiasts in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and America.
Andy Smith, the foundation's UK public relations director, said: "York was Richard's city.
"It is where he belongs and it is only right this great lord of the north should return home to Yorkshire after more than 500 years' enforced absence.
"The Richard III Foundation urges the people of Yorkshire to join with us in calling for Richard, our hero and martyr, to be brought home to the city that he loved, and where he is still loved to this day."
Scientists are still waiting for DNA tests to confirm the bones belong to the last Plantagenet king.
The University of Leicester, which is carrying out the identification, said results were expected before the end of the year.
Mr Buckley and his team are analysing the data from the dig site to build a picture of the burial, which includes carbon dating the bones.
He said: "I believe we've got the prime candidate for Richard III – the location, spinal abnormalities and battle trauma all point to it being Richard.
"But the carbon dating and DNA analysis will allow us to say with 100 per cent confidence we've finally found him."