Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They deposed the king
And put up a parking lot
Life imitates a (slightly modified) Joni Mitchell song?
Scientists announced Monday that they had found the monarch’s 500-year-old remains under a parking lot in the city of Leicester—a discovery Richard’s fans say will rewrite the history books.
University of Leicester researchers say tests on a battle-scarred skeleton unearthed last year prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that it is the king, who died at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, and whose remains have been missing for centuries.
“Richard III, the last Plantaganet King of England, has been found,” said the university’s deputy registrar, Richard Taylor.
Bone specialist Jo Appleby said study of the bones provided “a highly convincing case for identification of Richard III.”
Richard III ruled England between 1483 and 1485, during the decades-long tussle over the throne known as the Wars of the Roses. His brief reign saw liberal reforms, including introduction of the right to bail and the lifting of restrictions on books and printing presses.
His rule was challenged, and he was defeated and killed by the army of Henry Tudor, who took the throne as King Henry VII.
The [Richard III] Society’s Philippa Langley, who helped launch the search for the king, said she could scarcely believe her quest had paid off.
“Everyone thought that I was mad,” she said. “It’s not the easiest pitch in the world, to look for a king under a council car park.”
Now, she said, “a wind of change is blowing, one that will seek out the truth about the real Richard III.”
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.
Then, last September, archaeologists searching for Richard dug up the skeleton of an adult male who appeared to have died in battle.
Appleby said the 10 injuries to the body were inflicted by weapons like swords, daggers and halberds and were consistent with accounts of Richard being struck down in battle—his helmet knocked from his head—before his body was stripped naked and flung over the back of a horse in disgrace.
She said some scars, including a knife wound to the buttock, bore the hallmarks of “humiliation injuries” inflicted after death.
The remains also displayed signs of scoliosis, which is a form of spinal curvature, consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard’s appearance, though not with Shakespeare’s description of him as “deform’d, unfinished,” hunchback.
Pretty amazing, really. I’m not sure that the “humiliation injuries” stuff isn’t mostly conjecture; to a foot soldier with a knife, a buttock is about as high as he could reach a man on a horse.
Did you see the photo of the skeleton? That was some severe scoliosis. I’m surprised he could fight at all.
From what I read, his body was… sodomized.. with a sword.