Richard III found under a parking lot–are we sure?

RichardIIIUnless you were living under a parking lot, you probably heard that the remains of King Richard III had been uncovered under a parking lot in Leicester, England. Richard III, who was King of England for only two years, 1483-5, died in the Battle of Bosworth Field, which was essentially the last battle of the civil war Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. The leader of the winning side, the Lancastrians, was Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty, Henry VII (and whose son included the infamous Henry VIII and granddaughters were Mary I and Elizabeth I). Richard was unceremoniously buried, which, over the centuries, was itself buried under the city of Leicester.

According to historical records, Richard III developed idiopathic scoliosis during his childhood, which was mocked by Shakespeare in his tragedy, Richard IIIContemporary historians wrote that Richard was killed by several blows to the head with swords and his helmet might have been knocked off during the battle. (Interestingly, Richard was the last British monarch to have died in battle.)

From these pieces of evidence, scientists from the University of Leicester drew upon historical evidence of both the scoliosis and the battle wounds and compared them to the skeleton found under the parking lot in Leicester. The scientists stated that the skeleton was Richard III “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  Continue reading “Richard III found under a parking lot–are we sure?”