The University of Leicester announced that they have identified the remains of King Richard III that were found under a parking lot in Leicester. According to a story in the Washington Post on Monday, Feb. 4, all the skeletal evidence was very convincing. King Richard was known to suffer a curved spine, which is clearly visible in the attached slideshow of the remains. The body also showed signs of post-death humiliation,which was considered accurate, also. The next step is a decision where the remains will be reburied.
King Richard III was only king for two years before he was killed in the Battle of the Roses by the Tudors, the ancestors of Queen Elizabeth. So, it is understandable that Buckingham Palace would not welcome his remains with a ticker tape parade. According to the article in the Washington Post, however, Buckingham Palace officially wants to remain neutral:
When contacted by The Washington Post, a Buckingham Palace official said that this was not a matter for the royal household to decide.
How does one lose a king’s remains, anyway? This king, considered to be quite distinctly physically deformed, was not well-loved by England, although some have challenged the historical record. He was accused of killing his two young nephews who were in line for the crown after he had them placed in the Tower of London. ABC News has some interesting background on the story.
For centuries, the location of Richard's body has been unknown. Records say he was buried by the Franciscan monks of Grey Friars at their church in Leicester, 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of London. The church was closed and dismantled after King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1538, and its location eventually was forgotten.
Now that the remains have been identified, it will be interesting to see what happens next. There is an organization in Great Britain whose sole purpose is to defend the honor of King Richard III who they think was smeared by his Tudor successors . According to ABC News, the Richard III Society was “set up to re-evaluate the reputation of a reviled monarch.” They were hoping for at least a grand carriage ride through the streets of London to honor the former king.
Another interesting part of the story, reported by ABC News, involves the DNA evidence that they used. They managed to get a DNA sample from a Canadian plumber working in Britain who was the 17th great-grand-nephew of King Richard's older sister. There was a match of a rare strain of mitochondrial DNA.