THE battle over the burial site of King Richard III will hot up tomorrow (Tuesday, March 12), when pleas for two different sites in the region are made.
Hugh Bayley, the York Central MP, will stage a Commons debate to make the case for the monarch's 500-year-old skeleton to be reinterred in York.
The Labour MP will urge ministers – who have cleared the way for reburial at Leicester Cathedral, next year - to instead set up an expert panel to decide the controversy.
And he will quote the opinion of some leading archaeologists that the decision should not be made by the University of Leicester, simply because it exhumed the body.
But Helen Goodman, the Bishop Auckland MP, is urging the government to consider Barnard Castle, in her constituency, where Richard III “lived happily for many years”.
The future king is known to have lived in Barnard Castle after becoming its owner in 1474 and is described as a great benefactor to the church.
As Duke of Gloucester, he carried out extensive alterations and a white boar - Richard III's emblem - is still carved above a window in the west wall of the inner bailey.
Ms Goodman said: “My constituents have been raising with me questions about the legality of what is happening at the moment about this.
“I would like to press the case for burying Richard III in Barnard Castle, where he lived happily for many years and where his insignia, the white boar, can still be seen engraved.”
Meanwhile, Mr Bayley said the advice he had received – including from an archaeologist sitting on the advisory panel on burials – was that the identity of the bones was a “game changer”.
Instead of the remains being those of an unknown commoner, they belonged to a former king – which made reburial the responsibility of the government.
Mr Bayley said: “It shouldn’t be up to academics at Leicester University – however brilliant – to decide where a king is buried.
“Now the identity of the remains is known, it’s for the government to decide when and how, as well as where, reburial takes place. An advisory panel should consider all claims.
“My own view is that there is still a sense of loss in the north of England about Richard’s death and the outcome of the War of the Roses – and he should be reburied in York.”
Nine of Richard III's descendants have said they believed the king, the last monarch of the House of York, would have wanted to be buried in the city.
King Richard grew up at Middleham Castle, visited York several times during his 26-month reign and also funded part of the city's medieval gated walls.
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