Researchers at the University of Leicester announced yesterday that the skeletal remains found beneath a parking lot in this city, belong to the British King Richard III.
Richard Buckley, archaeologist in charge of the project to identify the bones, announced that the research and analysis of the remains discovered were made last September.
The bones were found for the first time when archaeologists used high penetration radars in the place where once stood the priory, and found that was not under a bench of the XIX century, but under a parking lot, across the street.
“Beyond a reasonable doubt”, the “individual exhumed” from an improvised grave beneath the foundations of a beach belonged to “Richard III, the last Plantagenet who ruled England,” confirmed Buckley to the press.
For centuries King Richard III was the most denigrated English monarch. He died at the age 32, at the Battle of Bosworth Field. His life besides his short but bloody reign inspired a work of Shakespeare.
Richard Taylor, general secretary of the University and coordinator of the team of archaeologists, historians, genealogists and geneticists, said that the last piece of the puzzle was assembled in place after this Sunday, when they met the DNA test results.
“At that moment we knew, beyond reasonable doubt, that this is Richard III. Now we are as sure as we can be sure of anything in life,” said Taylor.
The geneticist Turi King announced that DNA samples taken from two descendants of Richard III agreed with the bones found. Michael Ibsen, one of the descendants, is the son of a 16th generation nephew of Richard III. The second relative preferred to remain anonymous.
In a huge catalog of evidence of the remains of the monarch, it was confirmed that the body belonged to a man in his late twenties and early thirties. Also, scientists said the carbon examination conducted in two ribs of the skeleton, said the person in question had died between 1455 and 1540. Richard III died in August 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field, 40 kilometers from Leicester.
The skeleton has a large hole in the skull, coinciding to historical accounts that say the monarch died after being hit on the battlefield, more than 500 years ago. The remains showed many wounds consistent with historical chronicles of the fatal blows received during the battle and others probably received by soldiers of the army of Henry Tudor, the defeater of the Battle of Bosworth and Richard’s successor on the throne, with the name of Henry VII, including several dagger wounds on the cheek, jaw and lower back. The skeleton shows evidence of 10 injuries, eight of them in the head.
The location where they were found is exactly where the sixteenth century Tudor historian, John Rouse, had identified the place where he was buried, in the corner of Greyfriars priory chapel and a distinctive curvature of the spine typical of scoliosis sufferers, a disease that generates a hump, characteristic physical feature that throughout history has been attributed to Richard III.
Richard III’s detractors describe the 26 months of his monarchy as one of the darkest periods in England. The excesses of the king would be summarized in his alleged involvement in the murder of two young princesses-his own nieces-, to get rid of potential rivals to the throne.
Shakespeare told the story of King Richard III and described him as an evil and intriguing man with a hump, whose death at age 32 ended the War of the Roses over three centuries of reign of the Plantagenets, the end of the Middle Age in England.