Richard III set to be buried in Leicester as university makes final decision
The decision on the final resting place of Richard III lays squarely in the hands of the University of Leicester.
Officials at the Ministry of Justice stated categorically yesterday that the university alone has the power to decide where his bones are reinterred.
The statement is likely to derail a campaign launched to take the remains from the Leicester to be buried in York.
Council bosses in York said they would write to the Queen to state the city's case and had started an e-petition, which yesterday had 6,500 signatures.
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But a Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "When applying for an archaeological exhumation licence, the applicant must state that the remains will be laid to rest at a suitable location.
"The licence we issued states that the applicant (the University of Leicester) would, no later than August 31, 2014, deposit the remains at Jewry Wall Museum or have them reinterred at St Martin's Cathedral or in a burial ground in which interments may legally take place.
"The precise location of reburial is now for the University of Leicester.
"This means that no one except the licence holder, i.e. the University of Leicester, can decide where the remains end up."
Richard Taylor, deputy registrar at the University of Leicester, said: "We have said all along that the remains will be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral and I can see no reason why that decision would change."
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has previously said the bones of Richard III would leave the city over his dead body.
Speaking yesterday, he said: "The decision has already been made.
"All the permissions have been granted and the various authorities involved have agreed that the interment will take place in Leicester."
The Church of England has welcomed the opportunity to house the remains and said keeping the bones within the parish of St Martin's was the next natural step.
Leicester Cathedral Cannon Chancellor David Monteith said: "There's no question.
"It seems rather apt to reinter the bones at Leicester Cathedral, considering that Grey Friars is in the ancient parish of St Martin's.
"That just follows good ancient burial practices." The cathedral is in talks with a number of groups, including the Richard III Society, regarding a tomb.
However, it must get permission from English Heritage and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission of England before any work to alter the interior of the building.