Has Richard III Been Found?


I’m actually at this very moment watching the Greyfriars Project press conference about the remains found on the Richard III dig. They announced that they have found female remains and also the remains of an adult male. The skeleton of the adult male is significant because:

  1. The remains are in good condition and are those of an adult male.
  2. They were buried at the entrance to the choir of the church, which is where records say that Richard III was buried and was a high status place.
  3. The skeleton suffered significant peri-mortem trauma to the skull which are consistent with a battle injury. It appears that a blade cleaved the rear of the skull.
  4. A barbed metal arrowhead was found between two vertebrae of the man’s back.
  5. The skeleton had spinal abnormalities. It had severe scoliosis, a spinal curvature which would have meant that the man’s right shoulder was visibly higher than his left. He was not, however, a hunchback and he had an active life.

The project is now moving from an archaeological project to one of laboratory analysis as they examine the remains and do genetic testing. They have DNA from a descendant of Anne of York, Richard III’s sister, to use as a comparison. DNA analysis will take up to 12 weeks.

Exciting! Find out more at http://www2.le.ac.uk/news/blog/2012/september/richard-iii-press-conference-2013-live-updates-from-11.00am

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33 thoughts on “Has Richard III Been Found?”
  1. This is really geting ineresting! However, reading about the project on its website, I got a bit confused (maybe not the right word to express my thoughts). I didn’t find the information on Richard that objective, which is what I expect from a university. I also don’t think I know enough about Richard, so please, could you – or anyone else on this site – point me to a book about Richard, that isn’t either pro nor against him?

    1. Lina, I enjoyed “Royal Blood” by Bertram Fields. He approached the mystery of the Princes in the Tower as a court case and examined all the evidence to see what the chances would be that Richard III could be convicted. Of course, at this time there’s too much evidence we simply don’t have, so many have said Fields was biased for Richard, but I found him just unwilling to make assumptions that others have on too little evidence.

      Anyway, he examines Richard III’s life in good detail, especially the events just before, during, and after his reign. He uses good sources and when he does speculate he is very clear on what can and cannot be proven. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a real view of what we actually know about Richard III.

  2. Well this is very exciting! The archaeologists clearly think they have found him, although they won’t commit themselves without further tests. But ‘strong circumstantial evidence’ indicates it is probably King Richard. And he had scoliosis! Well, that explains where the hunchback legend came from – his enemies just exaggerated.

  3. I do hope they also test the DNA of the two little skeltons found that may be the lost Princes in the Tower. Their DNA would show if they are related with the newly found skelton that may be Richard III and solve the mystery of the identities of the found skletons once and for all. Plus it would give forensic pathologists a chance to test the two skeltons with modern methods to try to determine cause of death, and to recreate their faces using the skulls as models. So much could be learned if permission would be granted.

    1. Ooh Shoshana, great point! This could be the one way to positively identify the two little skeletons. Perhaps in time, someone will think of doing what you suggest.

  4. “Richard III” by Charles Ross is the standard text for information but it is somewhat anti-Richard but not outrageously so (unlike Michael Hicks, which since you seek unbiased accounts will be no use to you!). David Baldwin’s “Richard III” is also relatively balanced, and “Richard III and the murder in the Tower” BY P. Hancock is a thought provoking exploration of the dath of Lord Hastings – not the more famous Princes. Hammond also wrote “Richard III and the Bosworth campaign”, good if you are interested in his tragic death.

  5. Thanks, all of you! For those of you interested, i would like to reommend a small museum about Richard and the two princes, I visited in York in June. http://www.richardiiimuseum.co.uk A part of it is based on a broadcast or play called “Richard III on trial for murder” by Michael S. Bennett and therefore shown as as trial. Very nice for children, as well. Even so, I still think Richard had something to do with the disapearence of the boys even if It might have been as a Henry II-outburst-moment.

  6. It could be up to 12 weeks before the DNA results are back. I can’t help wondering who the female might be, though. As far as biographies go … if possible, read both Kendall and Ross. Both are excellent; Kendall buries a lot of meat in his footnotes, though (including disclosures as to what is or is not conjecture). Ross actually discusses why he thinks the princes could not have been murdered without Richard’s knowledge, citing the involvement of both Mortimer and Isabella (the official regent) in the murder of Edward II … since many historians think that Mortimer may have acted on his own in dealing with Edward II (whether it was murder or not), Ross’s argument is somewhat weakened. It would be nice if they did DNA testing on the bones in the Abbey, but I don’t see that happeneing.

  7. Lina- Paul Kendall’s book is definitely very good and fairly balanced for factual/conjecture reading. But if you want fiction, try Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time” or Sharon K Penman’s “The Sunne in Splendour”. There are more out there but those two are certainly what changed me into a Ricardian Geek!

    1. Hi Edie! I haven’t read “the Sunne in Splendour” but I really enjoyed “When Christ and His Saints Slept”. Do ypu know if “the Sunne..” book is in a serie?

      1. Lina-“The Sunne in Splendour” is more of a stand-alone. Sharon Penman write beautifully and I’ve read all of her books. Enjoy!

  8. I was awaiting the news of this, first archeologists find what they think might be the place then they find artifacts take pictures then last but not least they have found Richard. I wonder who the female is though? maybe a relative close or maybe distant. It is obviously from the medieval period I would say and to buried in the same place as a king she would of had to have been of some significance at the time. Its just awaiting the DNA results now, twelve weeks to go.I will be keeping myself informed by the follow up of the posts. Its strange although after all these years well centuries and more things are coming to light.Its good though but why all of a sudden now I wonder?!.

    Did anyone attend the event at Leicester on the 8th of september last saturday? between 11:00 and 2:00? I wonder if their will be any more events coming up in relation to this at some point some day. I am sure that there will be or should I say that there should be.

  9. Wow! What exciting news! I hope the resutls of the dna analysis will prove the archeologists right. I find it fascinating, too, that a descendent of Anne of York has been found.

    Thanks for posting Claire:-)

  10. I’ve been following the news on the dig as soon as I heard they were doing it. I think it’s so exciting and it sounds promising that they have indeed recovered the remains of Richard III!

  11. Yes, I think this must be Richard III – the circumstantial evidence is just too strong. And as someone with scoliosis I find it very interesting that this may be where the legend of Richard’s ‘deformity’ comes from! I just have a small curve in my spine, but it’s caused me to lose an inch of height in a few years.

    It’s going to be a long 12 weeks though!

  12. Claire:

    I saw the initial report on this on the internet and in that report they stated they found a female skeleton which had been separated at the leg joints I believe. They gave no further information about her as to whom they think it might possibly be. Did they elaborate on the female skeleton in the press conference> Just curious.

  13. As a young woman from America I am fairly new to all this royalty stuff and I’m trying to catch up. Can you please tell me how Richard died? I read about the trauma to the head and an arrowhead between the vertebrae. And also one more question….. doesn’t Dna erode after a while?

  14. This is exciting..I said on a previous post that I wouldn’t hold my breath on them finding Richard’s remains, but I am certainly waiting with ‘bated breath’ now!! can’t wait for DNA results.
    If these remains are Richard III, I think (or would hope) that it will spur on permission for the bones of the supposed two Princes to be checked out, as it would be only fitting that past heirs to the throne be ‘properly’ recognised, as I am sure if it is Richard III he will be re- interred as befitting a King, I wonder were they would put him? Westminster Abbey maybe, what do you think?

  15. I have been keeping track of the excuvation and if the remains are Richard III they should examine the little skelotons and see if they are really the Princes in the Tower and if the remains are really Richard will he buried in Westminster Abbey with the other monarchs?

  16. I sent a bit of time trying to read more about Richard the third when I read about this. According to Allison Weir Cardinal Woleys buriel site was next to Richards. refered to as the tyrants sepulchre. I then look for a photo of wolseys buriel site seems surrounded by grass . Is this where they are digging?

  17. What a great find,I to hope they get some DNA, that would be fantastic to see what they can learn about the people back in the day. I do hope that the remaines are well in tack to get some good DNA.What a find!!Claire are they planning any more digs and do you know who they might be?? THX Baroness

  18. Claire ,have another QA is it true that QUEEN Catherine Parr had blonde hair?? I see her with a brownish red in pics,but read on the site that she did in fact have blonde hair?

    1. Baroness

      Catherine Parr supposedly had strawberry blonde hair, which is extremely close to blonde hair with a hint of light red. I have strawberry blonde hair and many people think that my hair is blonde not realizing the difference as it is a very unusual and rare hair color.

      I have come across on the internet (one on Pinterest) and the other one I can’t quite remember (maybe Claire knows ???) which have pictures of her actual hair in a locket (again not sure) which shows that the her hair is actually very blonde.

  19. I have been watching the developments with regard to Richard. I first ‘found’ Richard back in 1987. I read ‘The Daughter of Time’ by Josephine Tey and after that I was hooked. I have read just about every book on Richard, both negative and positive (another wonderful novel is ‘We speak No Treason’ by Rosemary Hawley Jarman). Richard has been with me for many years, before I became involved with ‘Anne’. They have a lot in common I think! I am most definitely on the Pro Ricardian side; plus I live in Leeds, Yorkshire and I have been on many visits to Middleham and Sherriff Hutton Castles. Brilliant and evocative places. Anyhow I just wanted to say that if it does turn out to be Richard, and I so hope it will be; then regardless of anyone else’s views I would hope he could be given a King’s burial in York Minster. The people of York and Yorkshire thought very highly of him and I’m afraid Henry VII (who never fought in the battle himself – stood on the sidelines) took over the best of Richard’s policies, which worked very well. The Princes in the Tower are an enigma in themselves and I think people need to look at the whole period, and in particular Richard’s relationship with his brother King Edward IV. There were some strange goings on at Court after Richard took the throne including the disappearance of the two boys but it was also a little odd that Elizabeth Woodville; Edward’s Queen agreed to come out of sanctuary with the rest of her family and for Richard to say he would find good husbands for them. It begs the question how could she come back to Court with her girls if she believed Richard had her sons murdered. As a mother myself, I think I would find it extremely hard to even be in the same room as such a monster!! I do not believe any of the charges held against Anne Boleyn and I tend to feel the same way about Richard. Sorry about the length of this!!!

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