The living relatives of King Richard III demand his remains are reburied in York after being identified during an archaeological dig at a council car park in Leicester.

A painting of Britain's King Richard III by an unknown artist is displayed in the National Portrait Gallery in central London (Getty)

The remains are due to be re-interred at Leicester Cathedral next year despite campaigns to bring them to York.

Nine of Richard III's relatives said they believed the king, the last monarch of the House of York, would have wanted to be buried in the northern city.

They said in a statement: "We, the under-named, do hereby most respectfully demand that the remains of King Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England and our mutual ancestor, be returned to the city of York for formal, ceremonial reburial.

"We believe that such an interment was the desire of King Richard in life and we have written this statement so that his wishes may be fully recognised and upheld.

They continued: "We, the under-named blood descendants, unreservedly believe that King Richard is deserving of great recognition and respect and hereby agree to dutifully uphold his memory.

"With due humility and affection, we are and will remain his Majesty's representatives and voice."

Petition signed by 23,000

Earlier this month, city leaders in York said they were to write to the Queen and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in a bid to get Richard III's remains returned to his "spiritual home".

King Richard grew up at Middleham Castle in the Yorkshire Dales and visited York several times during his 26-month reign.

Known as Richard of York before his coronation, he also funded part of the city's medieval gated walls.

The monarch's links with the area are celebrated to this day, with a Richard III Hotel in Middleham, a Yorkshire-made Richard III Wensleydale cheese and a Richard III Museum in York.

A petition calling for King Richard to be re-interred at York has been signed by more than 23,000 people.

But the MoJ said it was the University of Leicester's decision to make as they had been granted permission to exhume the monarch's body.

Plans are being made for the re-interment at Leicester Cathedral next year and architects will be commissioned next month to design the King's tomb.

The statement from the relatives was signed by Charles Brunner, Jacob Tyler and Eleanor and Charlotte Lupton, King Richard's 17th great nephews and nieces; Stephen Nicolay, Paul Tyler and Vanessa and Linda Roe, the monarch's 16th great nephews and nieces; and Raymond Roe, the 15th great nephew of the King.

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