UK
23/05/2014 10:10 BST | Updated 23/05/2014 12:59 BST

Richard III Can Be Laid To Rest In Leicester, As Family Challenge To Have Him Buried In York Fails

Centuries after Richard III became the last monarch to die in battle, the High Court has ruled it is time for the remains of the York King "to be finally laid to rest" - in a controversial spot.

Found on the site of a Leicester car park, the battle-scarred bones must be interred at Leicester Cathedral, the judges said.

But a group formed by some of the king's distant relatives are considering whether to appeal against the decision. They want the king, who died in 1485, re-interred at York Minster.

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Richard III of York will not be buried in the city but in the place his remains were found, Leicester

On Friday, three judges rejected an attempt by the Plantagenet Alliance, acting on behalf of the monarch's "collateral descendants", to force Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to set up a wide-ranging public consultation exercise to decide where his final resting place should be.

The judges ruled there were no legal reasons why plans to rebury him at Leicester Cathedral should not go ahead.

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The Alliance wanted the remains to be buried at York Minster, claiming that was the wish ''of the last medieval king of England'', who was known as Richard of York.

The costly legal challenge has led to angry condemnation of the Alliance by Grayling, but the group says it raised an issue of legitimate public interest.

It is understood that, by mid-March this year, the Government had run up costs of £82,000 on the legal battle.

There was applause at Leicester Cathedral as Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens read out the High Court decision in London at 10am to a crowd of supporters and media.

Matthew Howarth, partner at Yorkshire law firm Gordons, who spearheaded the alliance's legal challenge described the court's verdict as "highly regrettable" and said an appeal was now under consideration.

The distant relatives' counsel Gerard Clarke said the issue was important as the last English king to die in battle ''is not just any old bones''.

The three judges said in a joint ruling: "Since Richard III's exhumation on 5th September 2012, passions have been roused and much ink has been spilt.

"Issues relating to his life and death and place of re-interment have been exhaustively examined and debated.

"The Very Reverend David Monteith, the Dean of Leicester Cathedral, has explained the considerable efforts and expenditure invested by the cathedral in order to create a lasting burial place `as befits an anointed King`."

"We agree that it is time for Richard III to be given a dignified reburial, and finally laid to rest."

In Leicester Bishop Stevens said: "We are, of course, delighted. Here in the cathedral, in the diocese, in the city, in the county, we've waited a long time for this."

Welcoming the court ruling, Grayling said he was "frustrated and angry that the Plantagenet Alliance - a group with tenuous claims to being relatives of Richard III - have taken up so much time and public money.

"This case, brought by a shell company set up by the Alliance to avoid paying legal costs, is an example of exactly why the Government is bringing forward a package of reforms to the judicial review process."

Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 - ending the Wars of the Roses and the Plantagenet dynasty.

His body was taken to Leicester by supporters of the victorious Henry VII and buried in Greyfriars church, now the site of the council car park.

Channel 4 is planning a live broadcast as the king's body is finally laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral, as part of a series of programmes around the event.