Body of King Richard III found?

Filed in Gather News Channel by on February 3, 2013 0 Comments

After more than five hundred years, the lost remains of one of England’s most controversial monarchs may have finally been unearthed, according to the Huffington Post. On Monday, scientists will announce whether or not the skeleton buried under a municipal parking lot in central England belongs to King Richard III. With signs of trauma to the skull, possibly from a bladed instrument, the skeleton appears to belong to a man killed in battle, which would fit in with the death of Richard, who was the last British monarch to be killed in battle.

As reported by Daily Mail, a search for the missing body, led by The University of Leicester last September, uncovered the skeleton, which also shows signs of scoliosis, “consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard’s appearance”, although something of a departure from Shakspeare’s description of him as a hunchback.

If this body really is that of the British monarch, who reigned 1483-1485, it will be very exciting for historians, particularly those interested in The War of the Roses, one of England’s most eventful chapters. New interest in the period has been sparked by contemporary authors like Philippa Gregory with her Cousins’ War series.

After the iconic slaying of Richard by Henry Tudor’s army at the battle of Bosworth Field, ending the decades-long War of the Roses, it was believed that his body was buried by Franciscan monks of Grey Friars at a church in Leicester. The site of the king’s final resting place became murky after the church was dismantled following Henry VIII’s termination of the monasteries in 1538, and the location eventually forgotten.

Tests, including radiocarbon dating and DNA, have been conducted on the remains since its discovery.

The Richard III Society, a group seeking to repair the image of the Yorkist monarch, who was painted in Shakspeare’s play as a power hungry fiend, murdering his own nephews to attain the throne, have a special interest in the discovery. They hope that renewed interest in the king will provide the opportunity to reexamine the “Tudor propaganda” which sought to vilify him.

As interesting as this find might turn out to be, the discovery many history buffs continue to hope for is that of Richard’s nephews’ the “princes in the tower”. Although the reign of the Tudors has always been popular in literature, theater, film and now TV, Plantagenet rulers—such as Richard—had more than their fair share of scandals and colorful characters.

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