Monday, 4 February 2013

The Remains of Richard III

Efforts are underway today to finally uncover the long lost grave of the English king Richard III. Richard, who allegedly arranged for the murder of his two young nephews in the "princes in the Tower" story, was killed in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

The exact whereabouts of his grave and remains has been lost over time, but historical records show that the body was taken to the church of the Greyfriars Franciscan friary in Leicester. That building has long since disappeared, but archaeologists believe that they can locate it under a modern car park.

If they are successful, and they find the church and human remains, then DNA testing will be carried out. From a genealogical perspective this is amazing, as the DNA of the remains will be compared with a modern descendant of Richard III. Canadian Joy Ibsen, now deceased, was confirmed as a descendant of the royal line, and had previously had her DNA sampled to be used in Plantagenet genealogy research.

It is going to be very interesting to discover if the remains of the famous Richard III have finally be found, and how this will enhance our understanding of the man and his life.

UPDATE: Excavation work at the site has revealed the church, chapter house, cloisters.....and reasonably well preserved human remains. These remains have now been sent for DNA analysis, which should take between 8-12 weeks. After this point we will know if the final resting place of Richard III has been discovered. 

UPDATE: At a press conference this morning (Monday 4th February 2013) researchers from the University of Leicester confirmed that the remains found in a Leicester car park were indeed those of King Richard III. The DNA evidence, in conjunction with the genealogical evidence carried out by the university's project genealogist Professor Kevin Schurer, confirms beyond reasonable doubt that the skeleton is that of Richard III. His remains will now be buried in Leicester Cathedral.

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