Has anyone seen the King? Try the car park…
It may have taken 528 years of mystery and speculation but finally the puzzle has been solved.
The remains of King Richard III have been found beneath the unlikely location of a car park in Leicester. A team of researchers from the University of Leicester carried out a 5 month archaeological investigation before finally excavating the skeleton on Wednesday 5th September 2012. However DNA results have only recently confirmed that the bones matched that of a distant descendant of the monarch, a 17th generation nephew of the king’s sister.
Lead archaeologist at the University of Leicester, Richard Buckley, addressed the world’s media, announcing that “beyond reasonable doubt”, ‘The Grey Friar’s skeleton’, as it has been dubbed, was in fact Richard III. The announcement was met with cheers and applause as Buckley declared it “potentially one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries of recent years”.
At the age of 32, King Richard was the last English monarch to die in combat at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Extensive analysis on the skeleton revealed his numerous battle wounds. The King had suffered 10 injuries, with eight alone to the skull, thought to be incurred around the time of death. Two of the skull wounds are considered to have been potentially fatal, possibly inflicted with a bladed weapon. Further to this, signs of Scoliosis were found, a condition which causes the spine to bend or curve abnormally. These findings mirror the modern day view of the king’s appearance further confirming the discovery.
Despite having reigned for just 26 months from 1483, one of the shortest reigns in English history, the king has become infamous for the ‘Princes in the Tower’ controversy. Following the sudden death of his brother Edward VI in 1483, Richard was appointed protector of his nephew Edward V. On the way to his coronation, Edward was intercepted by Richard and escorted to the Tower of London. He was later joined by his brother, but then both mysteriously disappeared having been labelled illegitimate. Richard III still remains the main suspect for their murder making his discovery even more intriguing as the event is re-examined.
The mayor of Leicester, Peter Soulsby has now confirmed that the King will be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral.
It might not be where you would normally expect to find the burial of one of England’s infamous monarchs, but it has solved the mystery that has baffled historians and archaeologists for not just decades but centuries.