Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Richard III petition misses target

King Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485

A petition calling for a Parliamentary debate on the final resting place of King Richard III has failed to reach its signature target.

The Government e-petition, set up by the Plantagenet Alliance, needed 100,000 signatures to request a debate in the House of Commons on the decision to re-inter the king's remains in Leicester Cathedral. But just 31,276 people had signed the online petition by the time it closed.

A rival e-petition, supporting the re-interment in Leicester, has already attracted more than 25,000 signatures. It closes on October 12.

Government e-petitions give the public the opportunity to request a debate on a particular subject in the House of Commons. A petition that gains 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate.

The Plantagenet Alliance, made up of a small group of King Richard III's distant relatives, has already successfully applied to the High Court for a judicial review into a licence granted to re-inter the remains at Leicester Cathedral.

The group wants the last Yorkist king's remains to be re-interred in York Minster as they believe it was the monarch's wish.

Stephen Nicolay, from the Plantagenet Alliance, has reportedly said he is "not disappointed" about missing the petition target.

Mr Nicolay told the BBC: "There is clearly a lot of interest in where he will ultimately be re-interred. The numbers that are there at the moment are illustrative of the fact that this is an important thing, it is something of national interest."

Richard's remains were discovered by archaeologists from the University of Leicester after a dig in a city centre car park following a campaign by the Richard III Society and with the permission of Leicester City Council, which owned the plot of ground. The licence to carry out the dig, issued by the Ministry of Justice, gave the university the authority to decide where to rebury the king.

King Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, bringing to a close the tumultuous period of English history known as the Wars of the Roses.

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