It was a battle fought with online petitions rather than swords and longbows.

The tussle for the remains of Richard III has pitted Leicester against York and engaged more than 16,000 people who put their names to rival campaigns.

Now the battle appears to be over after York Minster said the former monarch should remain in Leicester.

richard iii

Richard III as recreated by scientists this week

"The Chapter of York commends Richard to Leicester's care and to the cathedral community's prayers," it said in a statement.

Experts confirmed on Monday that a skeleton found under a Leicester car park was that of the last King of the House of York.

York's council leaders said their city was Richard's "spiritual home," because he had grown up in the county and planned to be buried there.

A Downing Street e-petition calling for him to be reinterred there has been signed by more than 12,000 people.

Meanwhile, a rival one for Leicester has 4,500 signatures.

In its statement, York Minister said it "understands the strong feeling of some people in York and Yorkshire that Richard III is significant to the history of the County and that therefore his body ought to be returned.

"York Minster itself has a window in his memory and many reminders of Richard's place in our story."

The Ministry of Justice has said it is the University of Leicester's decision to make as they were granted permission to exhume the monarch's body.

And the Minster acknowledged there had been "a significant period in which Leicester and Leicestershire gained a sense of Richard belonging there, at least in death."

York Council had planned to write to the Queen to lay claim to the king's remains.

Sir Peter Soulsby, the Mayor of Leicester, said: "I can understand the move by the city of York because obviously where the remains are re-interred is a matter of considerable interest but in fact the decision is made.

"It is very clear in the licence given for the actual dig by the Ministry of Justice to the university."

He said Leicester cathedral was deciding where to lay the body and that members of the public would be able to view the grave following the interment ceremony.