| UK monarchy – Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are usurper king’s!

Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king’s ~ BBC.

The skeleton is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ the remains of Richard III.

A skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of English king Richard III.

Experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the monarch’s family.

Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: “Beyond reasonable doubt it’s Richard.”

Richard, killed in battle in 1485, will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.

Mr Buckley said the bones had been subjected to “rigorous academic study” and had been carbon dated to a period from 1455-1540.

Dr Jo Appleby, an osteo-archaeologist from the university’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, revealed the bones were of a man in his late 20s or early 30s. Richard was 32 when he died.

His skeleton had suffered 10 injuries, including eight to the skull, at around the time of death. Two of the skull wounds were potentially fatal.

One was a “slice” removing a flap of bone, the other was caused by bladed weapon which went through and hit the opposite side of the skull – a depth of more than 10cm (4ins).

‘Humiliation injuries’Dr Appleby said: “Both of these injuries would have caused an almost instant loss of consciousness and death would have followed quickly afterwards.

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Who was Richard III?

The earliest surviving portrait of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral
  • Richard was born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, where Mary Queen of Scots was later executed
  • As Duke of Gloucester, Richard took a rampant white boar as his sign
  • His coronation took place in Westminster Abbey, in a ceremony very similar to HM the Queen’s
  • Richard had one of the shortest reigns in English history – 26 months
  • He was the last English king to die in battle, killed by the forces of the future Henry VII

Source: BBC History

“In the case of the larger wound, if the blade had penetrated 7cm into the brain, which we cannot determine from the bones, death would have been instantaneous.”

Other wounds included slashes or stabs to the face and the side of the head. There was also evidence of “humiliation” injuries, including a pelvic wound likely to have been caused by an upward thrust of a weapon, through the buttock.

Richard III was portrayed as deformed by some Tudor historians and indeed the skeleton’s spine is badly curved, a condition known as scoliosis.

However, there was no trace of a withered arm or other abnormalities described in the more extreme characterisations of the king.

Missing princesWithout the scoliosis, which experts believe developed during teenage years, he would have been about 5ft 8ins (1.7m) tall, but the curvature would have made him appear “considerably” shorter.

Dr Appleby said: “The analysis of the skeleton proved that it was an adult male but was an unusually slender, almost feminine, build for a man.

“Taken as a whole, the skeletal evidence provides a highly convincing case for identification as Richard III.”

Richard was a royal prince until the death of his brother Edward IV in 1483. Appointed as protector of his nephew, Edward V, Richard instead assumed the reins of power.

Edward and his brother Richard, known as the Princes in the Tower, disappeared soon after. Rumours circulated they had been murdered on the orders of their uncle.

Challenged by Henry Tudor, Richard was killed at Bosworth in 1485 after only two years on the throne.

DNA trailHe was given a hurried burial beneath the church of Greyfriars in the centre of Leicester.

Mr Buckley said the grave was clumsily cut, with sloping sides and too short for the body, forcing the head forward.

University of Leicester findings

Richard III's skull

• Wealth of evidence, including radiocarbon dating, radiological evidence, DNA and bone analysis and archaeological results, confirms identity of last Plantagenet king who died over 500 years ago

• DNA from skeleton matches two of Richard III’s maternal line relatives. Leicester genealogist verifies living relatives of Richard III’s family

• Individual likely to have been killed by one of two fatal injuries to the skull – one possibly from a sword and one possibly from a halberd

• Ten wounds discovered on skeleton – Richard III killed by trauma to the back of the head. Part of the skull sliced off

• Radiocarbon dating reveals individual had a high protein diet – including significant amounts of seafood – meaning he was likely to be of high status

• Radiocarbon dating reveals individual died in the second half of the 15th or in the early 16th Century – consistent with Richard’s death in 1485

• Skeleton reveals severe scoliosis – onset believed to have occurred at the time of puberty

• Although about 5ft 8in tall (1.7m), the condition meant King Richard III would have stood significantly shorter and his right shoulder may have been higher than the left

• Feet were truncated at an unknown point in the past, but a significant time after the burial

“There was no evidence of a coffin or shroud which would have left the bones in a more compact position.

“Unusually, the arms are crossed and this could be an indication the body was buried with the wrists still tied,” he added.

Greyfriars church was demolished during the Reformation in the 16th Century and over the following centuries its exact location was forgotten.

However, a team of enthusiasts and historians managed to trace the likely area – and, crucially, after painstaking genealogical research, they found a 17th-generation descendant of Richard’s sister with whose DNA they could compare any remains.

Joy Ibsen, from Canada, died several years ago but her son, Michael, who now works in London, provided a sample.

The researchers were fortunate as, while the DNA they were looking for was in all Joy Ibsen’s offspring, it is only handed down through the female line and her only daughter has no children. The line was about to stop.

Tomb plansBut the University of Leicester’s experts had other problems.

Dr Turi King, project geneticist, said there had been concern DNA in the bones would be too degraded: “The question was could we get a sample of DNA to work with, and I am extremely pleased to tell you that we could.”

She added: “There is a DNA match between the maternal DNA of the descendants of the family of Richard III and the skeletal remains we found at the Greyfriars dig.

“In short, the DNA evidence points to these being the remains of Richard III.”

In August 2012, an excavation began in a city council car park – the only open space remaining in the likely area – which quickly identified buildings connected to the church.

Laurence Olivier as Richard III in the Shakespeare play of the same name
Richard’s villainous reputation owes much to the way he was characterised by Shakespeare

The bones were found in the first days of the dig and were eventually excavated under forensic conditions.

Details of the reburial ceremony have yet to be released, but Philippa Langley from the Richard III Society said plans for a tomb were well advanced.

She said of the discovery of Richard’s skeleton: “I’m totally thrilled, I’m overwhelmed to be honest, it’s been a long hard journey. I mean today as we stand it’s been nearly four years.

“It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work. I think, as someone said to me earlier, it’s just the end of the beginning.

“We’re going to completely reassess Richard III, we’re going to completely look at all the sources again, and hopefully there’s going to be a new beginning for Richard as well.”

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Richard III of England

“Richard III” redirects here. For the play by Shakespeare, see Richard III (play). For other uses, see Richard III (disambiguation).
Richard III
The earliest surviving portrait of Richard (c. 1520, after a lost original), formerly belonging to the Paston family
(Society of Antiquaries, London).
King of England (more …)
Reign 26 June 1483 – 22 August 1485
Coronation 6 July 1483
Predecessor Edward V
Successor Henry VII
Consort Anne Neville
Issue
Edward of Middleham
John of Gloucester (illegitimate)
Katherine Plantagenet (illegitimate)
House House of York
Father Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York
Mother Cecily Neville, Duchess of York
Born 2 October 1452
Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire
Died 22 August 1485 (aged 32)
Bosworth Field, Leicestershire
Burial Greyfriars (Franciscan Friary),Leicester; for reburial in Leicester Cathedral 2014[1]
Signature

Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of thePlantagenet dynasty. His defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses and is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of the eponymous play Richard III by William Shakespeare.

When his brother Edward IV died in April 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector of the realm for Edward’s son and successor, the 12-year-oldKing Edward V. As the new king travelled to London from Ludlow, Richard met and escorted him to London, where he was lodged in the Tower of London. Edward V’s brother Richard later joined him there. Arrangements began to be made for Edward’s coronation on 22 June.

However, before the young king could be crowned, Edward IV’s marriage to the boys’ mother Elizabeth Woodville was publicly declared to be invalid, making their children illegitimate and ineligible for the throne. On 25 June an assembly of lords and commoners endorsed these claims. The following day, Richard III officially began his reign. He was crowned on 6 July. The two young princes were not seen in public after August and there arose subsequently a number of accusations that the boys had been murdered by Richard, giving rise to the legend of the Princes in the Tower.

There were two major rebellions against Richard. The first, in October 1483, was led by staunch allies of Edward IV and most notably by Richard’s former ally, Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. The revolt collapsed and Stafford was executed at Salisbury near the Bull’s Head Inn. In August 1485 there was another rebellion against Richard, headed byHenry Tudor, 2nd Earl of Richmond (later King Henry VII), and his uncleJasper. Henry Tudor landed in Pembrokeshire, his birthplace, with a small contingent of French troops, and marched through Wales recruiting foot soldiers and skilled archers. Richard died during the Battle of Bosworth Field, the last English king to die in battle (and the only English king to do so on English soil since Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066).

In 2013, after an archaeological dig on a City Council car park on the site of Greyfriars, Leicester, the University of Leicester confirmed that a skeleton discovered in 2012 was, beyond reasonable doubt, that of Richard III, based on DNA tests and confirmation with contemporary reports of Richard’s appearance.[1]

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Richard_III_earliest_surviving_portrait Travestyofjustice1

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