King Richard III’s skeleton has given up another clue into his health besides his well-documented problem with a hunch back. It appears Richard III had roundworms; parasitic worms that grew up to a foot long and lived in his gut. The worms would eventually spread to other vital organs.
According to CBS News on Sept. 4, since finding King Richard III remains under a parking lot in London last year, researchers are discovering more about how this king lived. Richard III was known for his violent, yet short reign. This king was depicted in a play by William Shakespeare as a reviled hunchback emperor, who had his two nephews killed to assure his place on the throne.
Roundworm eggs were found in the soil near where Richard III intestines were located when he was put in the burial plot in the 15th century. The eggs did not appear anywhere else in the grave, which indicates the worms were living inside the belligerent king’s belly.
During the 15th century the poor hygiene caused many to become infested with roundworm and even though it is present in society today, it only takes one cheap pill to rid the parasite from the body.
A child having roundworm would most likely suffer from stunted growth and have a reduced IQ. An adult, especially a King who had a never-ending supply of food, would most likely just experience discomfort in his gut. The limited medical services didn’t know about treating roundworm during the 15th century.
Richard III was killed in 1485 on the battlefield, making him the last British King who was killed during a war. Some believe that Richard III’s horrendous reputation was spawned by the Tudor monarchs who succeeded him.
Those people are hoping that the discovery of his skeleton will somehow offer up some evidence to shoot down the awful reputation of a king they believed to be godly.