Distant relatives of Richard III want the king's bones returned to York

15 ancestors threaten to take legal action if the royal remains stay in Leicester

University of Leicester/AP

Last September a human skeleton was discovered in a parking lot over top of a Medieval monastery in Leicester, England. On Feb. 4,  those remains were confirmed to be Richard III’s. Now, a group of 15 living relatives of the king want his remains returned to York, where the monarch spent his youth.

“Although the last English king to die in battle perished almost 500 years before the European convention on human rights came into force,” reports the Guardian, “his distant relatives are claiming they were not consulted and that their rights have been breached.”

The relatives, who call themselves The Plantagenet Alliance–after the royal house of which Richard III was the final sovereign–are threatening to take legal action against the Ministry of Justice, which granted the archaeological license to the University of Leicester in the first place.  The group of 15 has no affiliation–other than just really liking Richard III–with The Richard III Society, who provided most of the funds for the archaeological search.

The Richard III Society has proposed that the 528-year-old monarch’s remains be entombed in Leicester Cathedral, while the Plantagenet Alliance votes for York Minster, “pointing out that although he was born at Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire – which has also been suggested as a possible burial place – he grew up in Middleham in Yorkshire, was known as Richard of York before he claimed the throne on the death of his brother, and visited York several times during his reign,” says the Guardian.

A spokesperson for the University of Leicester said, “Our decision was, and remains, that Richard III should be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral.”

The spokesperson also seemed to comment on the legitimacy of The Plantagenet Alliance’s lineage logic: “Richard III is believed to have no living descendants. Any distant relations are therefore descended from his siblings. Statistically speaking, many tens of thousands of individuals alive today are descended in this way. There is no obligation to consult living relatives where remains are older than 100 years.”

Where ever Richard III’s final resting place will be, the site will most likely bring in significant tourist revenue.