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Richard III Has Been Found!

Posted By on February 4, 2013

Photograph from the University of Leicester

Yes, DNA test results have proved that the remains found in the Grey Friars archaeological dig are those of Richard III.

I watched the press conference live on BBC News 24 and listened to them on BBC Radio Leicester at the same time (good job I did as the BBC interrupted their coverage for other breaking news!) and here are the main points:

The Remains

  • The remains were found in front of the Grey Friars’ choir stalls so were a prime candidate for Richard III.
  • The skeleton was well preserved and substantially complete – It was just missing its feet.
  • The hands were crossed, which was not consistent with other medieval burials, so the hands may have been tied.
  • Carbon dating of the bones gave a model date of 1455-1540.
  • Skeletal remains showed that the person had a slender, almost feminine, build, was in their late 20s to late 30s, was around 5’8 in height but had scoliosis of the spine which would have made them substantially shorter in reality. All of this was in keeping with what we know about Richard – aged 32, slender build and some type of spinal abnormality. There was no evidence of a withered arm, it was completely normal.
  • There was trauma to the skeleton – 10 wounds were found, 8 on the skull and 2 on the body. They occurred at death and shortly after death.
  • Main skull injuries – There was a penetrating wound to the top of the skull which was consistent with a non-fatal blow to the head. There was also a large wound at the base of the skull which was consistent with a bladed weapon, such as a halberd. A third injury to the skull was also consistent with a blow from a bladed weapon. Wounds two and three would have caused “almost instant loss of consciousness and death would have followed shortly afterwards”.
  • Further skull injuries – These consisted of a wound on the cheekbone, probably caused by a dagger, and a wound to the jaw, caused by a bladed weapon. They would have caused blood loss but were not fatal. They are not consistent with the person wearing a helmet at the time so could be humiliation injuries.
  • Injuries to the body – There had been a blow to the ribs and a a dagger blow to the right pelvis. The pelvic injury is consistent with a dagger being thrust from behind, upwards into the right buttock. The ribs and buttocks would have been protected by armour during the battle so these wounds could be humiliation injuries. We know that Richard III’s body was flung over the back of the horse, so this would have been an ideal opportunity for his enemies to cause these injuries.
  • It was concluded that the remains were highly consistent with what we know about Richard III in life and the circumstances of his death.

The DNA Results

Professor Kevin Schurer explained the background to the DNA testing, explaining that the team had tracked down four living male descendants of Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, for the male line from Edward III, a living descendant of Anne of York (Michael Ibsen) and also living descendants of a second maternal line.

Dr Turi King then explained the DNA results, noting that the individuals of the maternal line were the last of their line so in another generation these tests could not have been done. Dr King went on to explain that the team did manage to obtain DNA from the remains and although it was too early to say whether the DNA matched the male line, tests showed that the remains were male. Michael Ibsen’s DNA results confirmed that he was a descendant of Anne of York and lineage two also matched. The family tree was verified. It was then a case of comparing the DNAs of the maternal line with those of the remains….

There was a match between the remains and descendants of Richard III’s family. Dr King concluded that the DNA evidence pointed to the remains being Richard III.

Richard III Found!

Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist, concluded that “beyond reasonable doubt the individual exhumed at Grey Friars on September 12th is indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England”.

What Happens Now?

It was confirmed that Richard III’s remains will be re-interred at Leicester Cathedral, the nearest consecrated ground to where he was found. From February 8th there is going to be a temporary exhibition there and then a permanent exhibition at a special visitors’ centre, which will open next year. The King will be given a fitting resting place and the Richard III Society have already received a donation of £10,000 for his tomb.

If you have access to Channel 4 then don’t forget to watch the programme Richard III: The King in the Car Park at 9 o’clock tonight.

More news on the press conference and findings can be found at:

Update

The Channel 4 programme unveiled the reconstruction of Richard III’s face last night and you can see photos at http://news.sky.com/story/1047715/richard-iii-kings-face-is-revealed and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21328380

56 thoughts on “Richard III Has Been Found!”

  1. richard says:

    Well,I was so touched when the news came out that it really is Richard III, that I had water behind my eyes.

    1. Lady Brooke says:

      I indeed have followed the Richard III dig very exciting as well. I also knew that it would be him. I would love to hear about the princes as well, and since we are ” digging up old bones” does anyone know where Cardinal Pole is buried and or where his mother and younger brother were buried? They were hated for having Plantagenet blood in them. I believe Lady Salisbury was the mother.
      These are exciting times we live in. And to think that roughly 500 years later, we would be able to guess who a person is by the way his spine curved so much, and then now a DNA test done on his modern relatives to aid in comparison just blows me away. I love hearing this new information. I honestly believed that the Tudors relished and told tall tales about How badly his spine was deformed. When in fact the spine is way worse than anything I’ve heard of. And now looking upon it, it has to be one if the worse curvatures I’ve ever seen.

      1. Nancy says:

        Cardinal Reginald Pole, the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. His mother, Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, having been executed within the Tower of London on Tower Green, was buried in the Tower’s Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula. I’mnot sure where the younger son was buried.

      2. Yonita Fairfax Ward says:

        Yes according to Hazel Pierce’s book on The Blessed Margaret Plantagenet m arried to Richard Pole, Countess of Salisbury in her own right..her remains stayed at St. Peter ad Vincula after her execution. She is my direct ancestor as evidenced in Ruvigny’s Bllod royal and Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry’ via her daughter Ursula Pole, Dorothy Stafford. Elizabeth Stafford, Drury, Wray, Maunsel, Gabbett. ‘Her remains were found on 11th November next to those of Lady Rochford who had gone to the block nine months later with Queen Katherine Howard” (Bell Notices of the people buried in the Chpel of St Peter ad Vincula p,24). She was beatified by Pope Leo XIII The remains of her son Lord Montague also lie there… As far as I understand it Reginald died the day after Mary I st. She died at 7am on 17 Nov.1558 and Pole died 12 hours later in his Palace accross the river ( Fenlon p.280 Heresy and Obedience in Tridentine Italy, Cardinal Pole and the Counter Reformation). He was still Mary’s Archbishop of Canterbury. Ironic that Margaret should have lain next to Anne’s brother’s wife..when she was great aunt by marriage to Anne if one can put it that way…the Norfolks 3rd Duke married to Elizabeth Stafford , daughter of the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, and his son. Henry Lord Stafford married to Princess Margaret’s daughter Lady Ursula Pole..The Norfolks, Buckinghams, and Pole /Plantagenets were in laws related by the marriage of their children, which is why as the most powerful families in the land, Henry VIII was so threatened by the inter marraiges and had both the 3rd Duke of Buckingham executed and Princess Margaret executed, and the 3rd Duke of Norfolk was reprieved from his execution by Henry’s own death.

  2. Jane lawrence says:

    Oh myyyyyy!!!! I feel so excited and tearful at the same time!! That is amazing xxx

  3. Eliza says:

    It’s all so exciting! I was pretty sure from the beginning that this was Richard, due to the spine and the injuries but now it’s official! I wish the remains of the princes in the Tower would be found and examined, too.

    1. Julie Anne says:

      My thoughts exactly! Does anyone know if the Queen is the one who would have to give permission to have the bodies of the two children who are presumed to be the Princes exhumed and tested for DNA, or would it be someone else?

      1. TudorRose says:

        It would have to be authorised by the Queen and government.

  4. Thanks for this excellent summary of all the interesting points! I will download the page for reference.

  5. Sherri says:

    This is wonderful news that Richard III was found and will be given a proper burial for a king. I think that much that has been told about Richard III is not valid. I also do not think that Richard killed the princes in the Tower.

    May he rest in peace after all this time.

  6. Wow…I guess I’m behind the times or something, as I was not even aware that there was an archaelogical dig going on there. Apparently it was a success. Can you imagine how exciting that would be!!!!! Kind of like, here in the U.S. when so many people were working on the dig at Custer Battlefield in Montana. That would have been exciting as well. History literally uncovered. Overwhelming, indeed. Very cool.

  7. Myrna says:

    This is … I’m speechless. I just started reading about the Two Princes (Alison Weir); this time period has always been fascinating to me. It is so great to have this new piece of history in the permanent record of our world at last.

    1. Melanie says:

      Weir’s research is analyzed by Bertram Fields in “Royal Blood: Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes.” Fields is a well-known American entertainment-law lawyer whose interest in R3 led him to write a book examining Richard’s guilt (or innocence) in the case of the young princes: evidence, motivation, opportunity, character, etc. Fascinating piece of work.

      1. Lisa says:

        I agree; Bertram Field’s book gave a lot of information from multiple sources and his logic was easy to understand. I haven’t read Weir’s book about the Princes, so I can’t compare them.

  8. Sharon H says:

    I wished I could have watched the live news conference. As soon as I awoke I checked the internet to find out the news. I am so excited! A brave king who died so heroically in battle will finally be buried with honor. This is an unforgettable day for all those interested in history. It is a part of our heritage. May his soul now finally rest in peace.

  9. Esther says:

    I also checked to find out the results when I first woke up, as I couldn’t watch the press conference live. An amazing find. Hope that he is given the Catholic burial he would have wanted … and that this find renews interest in his reign in context. Richard III’s parliament made laws, such as attempts to protect jurors and outlawing benevolences that compare very favorably to some of the Tudor enactments … and his alleged “murders” without any trial (Hastings and the Princes) aren’t much different from Henry VIII … Cromwell and Catherine Howard didn’t get trials, either, and the trials given to Anne Boleyn and the five condemned with her were so tainted as to be meaningless.

  10. Having viewed events unfolding at Leicester this morning and having a life-long interest
    in late medieval and tudor history I have come to realise just what a man of ‘destiny’ Lord
    Thomas Stanley was.

    If Margaret Beaufort’s husband had supported Richard as the King had hoped and not held back his and his brother, Sir William Stanley’s troops, which probably influenced
    Northumberland to do likewise, there was only one winner at Bosworth Field that day in
    1485.

    Just think – no tudors, no reformation (at least in the form it took) and no great Elizabethan
    age. Stanley has an interesting maternal descendant – John Lenon.

  11. Nancy says:

    This is the most exciting news that I’ve heard in a while! When they found the skeleton in September (only a few days before my annual trip to England and The Anne Boleyn Experience 2012!) I was hoping that they had finally found Richard III and would be able to give him the decent burial that he deserves! This just goes to prove that history does not exist in a vaccum – for years it was said that Richard’s bones had been thrown into the River Soar during the reign of Henry VIII – there was even a coffin that was used as water for horses that was said to have been Richard’s coffin! Now the history books will have to be revised! Richard certainly wasn’t the villan that Shakespeare made him out to be. Maybe one day (hopefully in my lifetime) they will find out what happened to the Princes in the Tower! BTW, when I was in York in September I visited the Richard III Museum, which I would highly recommend to anyone visiting York, which still holds Richard fondly in its heart.

  12. Alison says:

    amazing after all these years, I’ve always been a Yorkist myself and believed Richard did not kill the boy princes.

  13. Jessica C says:

    Very, very exciting. Though I’m in the camp that I think Richard did have the boys killed (call me a Lancaster, LOL) but he certainly wasn’t the insane hunchback of Shakespeare.

    Glad to see one mystery of that era has been solved.

  14. Baroness Von Reis says:

    What Great New’s!!! What a great find!!Claire do you know if they will try to do anymore DNA testing on more of the Royal’s? Thx Baroness x

    1. Claire says:

      I doubt it. DNA testing was only done on Richard’s remains because he was found during an archaeological dig, others would have to have their tombs opened.

      1. Baroness Von Reis says:

        Claire,How on earth did he end up in a parking lot???? Baroness x

        1. Claire says:

          He wasn’t just under a car park/parking lot, he was buried in the choir stall of the church of the Greyfriars monastery. The monastery was dissolved in Henry VIII’s reign and demolished and, in modern times, the ground was built over. The car park belonged to Leicester Social Service. Weirdly, he was found underneath a spot marked “R” for “reserved”!

        2. Sonetka says:

          “R” for “Rex” obviously. Woe to anyone who parks their horse in his spot!

  15. Pamela says:

    Fantastic news! It brings the Tudor period into our present and makes us wonder anew at what really happened during these eventful years. I long believed Richard III to be guilty of the murder of the two princes but now am not so sure. I wonder about Stanley and Margaret Beaufort actions as well. It’s good to know that Richard will be properly reburied as a king should be. Greetings to Nancy with whom I shared the wonderful Anne Boleyn Experience in September! I am looking forward to returning to England sometime soon.

    Cheers, Pamela

    1. Katheryn Dennes says:

      What made you ch age your mind ov his guilt?? I’m not sure either way

  16. PHS says:

    Such exciting news!! And it occurs just as I’m visiting the UK from Australia! 🙂 This is an amazing development in history.

  17. Mary Ann Cade says:

    Hi Claire:

    Thanks for letting us know! Being in America, unless I get updates from your newsletter and website, I would not have heard of any of this information. Being a history buff, I am fascinated that new discoveries are being made all the time. I did have one question, though.

    Was there any information given about the female remains that were found around the same time as the remains that have been identified as Richard III? I would love to know if they have any idea who this lady might be.

    Thanks so much!

    Mary Ann Cade

  18. Marie says:

    This is exciting and wonderful news! I became rather emotional when reading all of this, with tears in my eyes. How deeply moving. Thank you for posting this information.

  19. Sandra says:

    Thank you so much for such keeping us to date with such exciting information, been at work all day, so although knew the results would be published today was not aware of outcome til now. How amazing and such an important day historically. Will watch documentry tonight. Thank you.

  20. Ceri C says:

    Such exciting news! I hope it results in a major re-evaluation of Richard, a much-maligned king.
    Looking forward to the documentary.
    Slightly disappointed that he is to be buried in Leicester, however. It would have been much more fitting to gice him a burial at York, a city which loved him and which he loved.

  21. Dani says:

    I first read about the archaeological dig on your website. thanks for the info. RIP King Richard!

  22. H. Elizabeth says:

    This is so exciting! I heard this on the news before I left for school. I could not wait to get there hoping that my history teacher would say something, but she didn’t.

  23. Louise says:

    From the curvature of the spine that poor man must have suffered an enormous amount of pain throughout his life.
    I wonder why his hands were tied?

    1. Valerie says:

      I was wondering that too actually, and when it was done – would it have been at the time of his burial or when he was killed? I

      1. Carolyn says:

        My speculation would be that the hands were tied when his body was transported by horse, to help keep the body from falling off if the arms flopped around. I’d guess they didn’t respect him enough to untie him before burial.

  24. Anne Barnhill says:

    Thanks! This is fascinating! Wow, so much to think about.

  25. miladyblue says:

    Glad to hear confirmation of the identity of King Richard III’s remains. I seem to recall that of all the monarchs who reigned over England, Richard III was the only one who was “lost,” as in not having a known burial place. Will he be laid to rest in an elaborate tomb, as were his predecessors and successors?

    It is a good thing he was found in modern times, where we have more of a reverence for history than closer to his own day, or that horrible legend of Henry VIII throwing his bones into the River Soar might have been true. Not that I wouldn’t have put it past Henry, but for crying out loud, Richard was DEAD, and there was no further harm he could possibly have done to anyone alive.

    Was there any report of what the modern descendants of Richard’s family thought of this?

  26. Madeleine says:

    This is really interesting!!
    I heard about the Grey Friars dig a little while back but I haven’t been following it as closely as I would have liked. This came as a rather pleasant surprise!!! AWESOME!!!!

  27. John D says:

    Just watching Richard iii. King in the car park. First of all that woman is a bit bonkers. Richard iii was a medieval king and of course he would have eliminated any true contenders to the throne, for example the two princes. Power was everything to a medieval monarch.

    1. Jillian says:

      I have just watched the same fascinating documentary and it was interesting that the historian, Dr. Pollard, thought it likely that Richard did have his nephews murdered.

      We will never know for certain, but they would have always been a threat to Richard’s kingship whilst they remained alive. It would also have been virtually impossible for anyone to gain access to the princes’ chambers in the Tower of London to kill them without Richard’s knowledge and permission.

      1. Katheryn Dennes says:

        Yes she was a bit crazy!! I’m glad I’m not the only one to think that! Especially when she draped the box in his colours even before we knew it was him!! How inappropriate would that have been if it had turned out a negative result!!! Crazy women! Especially her face when they were talking about the curve in the spine!

    2. LaOriental says:

      Yes, I agree she is a bit bonkers, especially when she looked at the facial reconstruction and said “that’s not the face of a tyrant, I’m sorry but it’s not”. But she is passionate and had a mission and am glad she had the drive to do this and persevere to see it’s completion. I am utterly fascinated by it all…
      I tend to agree with Jillian and John D. Yet there is no “smoking gun”. Will their ever be? I hope that new discoveries are made. I also hope that QE II changes her stance against DNA testing of the bones found in the tower.

    3. Christine says:

      Yes she’s obsessed with him, making him out to be a romantic hero but in reality he was a devious opportunist who callously murdered two innocent little boys, his own nephews he was certainly a Jekyll and Hyde character, Alison Weir states that he was loyal to Edward his brother yet it was all false, as soon as he was dead he declared his marriage to be unlawful and therefore the princes bastards, he was doing everything he could to take the throne, and no matter what his followers say, Richard 111 was an evil man and he got his come uppance.!

  28. Dawn 1st says:

    This is a major part of lost history found, it doesn’t happen very often, and it’s brilliant news.
    I’m just hoping that this will finally lead to finding out about the two remains supposed to be the young Princes, though I know this won’t answer the ‘who dunnit’ question, it will solve another historical mystery.

    I was quite shocked to see just how curved King Richard’s spine was. It is amazing that he was able to be so physically active. He must have been in pain in many parts of his body, more times than not, as the rest of his skeleton would have to ajust accordingly to compensate for this disability, and cause many more problems for him.

    It is nice to see that he is going to get a decent burial, and I hope this much maligned King at last gets to rest in peace. In saying that I suspect his grave/tomb is going to generate visitors in their thousands….
    I wonder if there will be a member of the Royal family present at his re-internment. I think it would be only proper that there was really, because of his status.

  29. Lisa P says:

    Wow! Mind blowing!

  30. Lisa says:

    Delighted to hear that Richard’s remains have finally been identified! Congratulations to the University of Leicester, the archaeology team, and everyone involved. Terrific work!

  31. theladydawn says:

    Congratulations to the Richard lll Society and all involved with this amazing find.

  32. henry dicarlo says:

    He probably was given a proper burial if he was buried in a monastery. He probably had all of he trappings of a high mass.

  33. TudorRose says:

    I had a feeling that this had to be the long lost remains of Richard III. I am just wondering who the woman was also which has yet to be mentioned or clarified.

  34. Mallory says:

    Thanks for the news Claire! I would have written sooner but have had jury duty all week, so am just now catching up on all my emails. How fascinating! I am in the Lancaster camp on the death of the princes, but one never knows for sure. And, I did read “Daughter of Time” years ago which was a convincing argument that Richard did not order the murder of his nephews.

    Again, thanks:-))

  35. Cindy says:

    Claire,
    Thank you for the wonderful update. What news!! What a fascinating find, an amazing story. I’ve been fairly obsessed with every aspect of it since the news broke. How incredible it must have been for those digging to uncover an actual skeleton, see those skull wounds… and the curved spine!!! I actually got chills. Ok, no not the ‘hunchback’ he was reported to be, but certainly a curved-back abnormality that would have given him an odd, one shoulder higher somewhat hunched look. As for the ‘withered arm’ Shakespere graced him with, I wonder… if one shoulder was higher… might Richard being consious of it – automatically have held the opposite side arm slightly bent to make his hands look more level???
    I’m also fascinated with the possible Tudor/Shakespere influence of shall we say manipulation of information on Richard 111 – that became pretty much accepted as truth?? It’s rather how we feel that Anne Boleyn’s reputation and history was influenced by Chapuys (sp) the Spanish Ambassador who always hated her…
    The first thing I noticed about Richard’s skull (beyond the horrible wounds) was , wow he had such a square, heavy, MASCULINE jaw… his paintings give him a prominent chin, but more pointed, more angular—more feminine jawline… interesting? hmmm. Fascinating, all so fascinating… all incredible things that happend 4-500 years ago that still hold us spellbound.
    Considering the horrible wounds he suffered, I do hope it was instant death,,, and the worst of the huniliation wouunds were absolutely post-mortem. What a time to live in.
    I suppose at that time with all the unrest and battling for the crown, they had to take no chances and make abolutely SURE the defeated foe WAS actually dead, and SEEN by the public as so.
    Though horriffic and sad… a fascinating story… If Richard 111 had not been defeated in battle by Henry V11… we would not have had Henry V111… or the amazing story of our beloved Anne Boleyn.

    Cindy

  36. Flan Boleyn says:

    I cried for days after this was announced. God bless Richard III, god bless your merry soul. I remember the day you were brutally murdered by the evil Henry VII – I’ll never forget it. You’re with the angels now. God bless you, King Richard the right and faithful. I wish he married Anne Boleyn instead of Henry. 🙁

  37. BanditQueen says:

    The news now seems so long ago, bu the debate goes on as if it happened yesterday. It was the best news for some time. I really was excited and still am. Dug out all my old Richard books and looked up a few more on the Net. Am dismayed that arguments over the bones have led to some rubbish debates in the media forums but see the debate on here is sensible and sensitive. The whole thing is exciting and hope it makes young people interested in history again. I am a fan of the Tudors personally but I find some interesting things about Richard and find his character praise worthy when it comes to good government. However, he was also controversial and ruthless. His swift action to take the crown and charge of Edward V, and his executions of Hastings and Rivers showed that he will not apply anyone to stand in his way. He needed to get them out of the way as they and the Woodvilles opposed his bid for power. However, he was a devoted husband and father, devoted to his brother and moderate in his application of justice and mercy. He was not popular in the south, but the midlands and north were his own people. It is a shame that where he was most loved that he should be most fought over now that he is dead. Although the finding of his remains is a good thing and will ensure that he gets a decent memorial and resting place, may-be had he remained where he was the country would not be on the verge of war again over his bones.

  38. Sonja M. Beyer says:

    If one reads all the books on Richard III and his reign carefully one has to notice too that the Duke of Buckingham had the power (and motive) to kill the two princes. He rebelled against Richard III as he wanted to become King kimself – being of royal blood and descended also from Edward III.
    Also Henry VII had a motive – the princes had been declared bastards – and he married their sister, Elizabeth of York! There was an awkward situation for him!
    Richard was a family man and very fond of his brothers; always loyal to Edward IV, and terribly unhappy about George Clarence’s death which he vowed to avenge.
    Therefore I do believe he did not kill his nephews.

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