Justice Secretary will ‘vigorously defend’ Leicester burial for Richard III

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The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will defend the decision to bury the remains of Richard III in Leicester, his department today confirmed.

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Speaking after a judge last month gave permission for descendants of the king’s relatives to challenge plans to rebury his remains in Leicester rather than York, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We will vigorously defend our position at this Judicial Review.”

A source close to the minister reportedly told the Daily Telegraph: “The justice secretary thinks it is ludicrous that judicial reviews are used for cases such as this. This is not what judicial reviews were intended for and is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Richard’s skeleton was discovered underneath a Leicester council car park last September, 527 years after he was killed at the battle of Bosworth.

The remains were in February identified as those of the last Plantagenet king and, as an organisation closely involved in the discovery, the University of Leicester holds a Ministry of Justice licence that lets it decide where the remains are re-interred.

The university decided on Leicester Cathedral.

But last month a High Court judge gave permission for descendants of the king’s relatives to challenge plans to rebury his remains in Leicester rather than York.

The 15-strong Plantagenet Alliance wants the remains buried in York, which, it claims, Richard regarded as his home.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave concluded the group had an arguable case, but said he hoped the matter could be settled without the need for an “unseemly” legal squabble.

The judicial review is likely to take place later this year in London, and is expected to last a full day.

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The Richard III Society has previously warned the dispute about where the king should be reburied is becoming “undignified”.