Skeleton found in car park is Richard III

Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, speaks at a press conference at the University Of Leicester as archaeologists announce whether the human remains found in Leicester are those of King Richard III. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty

Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, speaks at a press conference at the University Of Leicester as archaeologists announce whether the human remains found in Leicester are those of King Richard III. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty

Mon, Feb 4, 2013, 00:00

Tests have established that a skeleton found under a car park in Leicester is that of King Richard III.

Following a long wait it was today announced the remains of a man buried on the site in Leicester are those of the last Plantagenet king, Richard III. 

After suffering at least two fatal head wounds, tests on his skull and body showed evidence he was brutally hacked, presumably by the victors, after falling and dying on the battlefield in 1485.

Reviled in the history books and by playwright Shakespeare, for his perceived weakness and hunch back, archaeologists found evidence of a man with curvature of the spine and a slender, almost feminine frame.

Following extensive tests, Richard Buckley, dig project leader, said: “It is the academic conclusion that beyond reasonable doubt, the individual exhumed at Grey Friars in September 2011 is King Richard III — the last Plantagenet king of England.”

The remains, which had lain almost totally undisturbed less than a metre below ground for more than 500 years, will be interred in the city’s cathedral. The find has provoked many academics to call for a revision of Richard’s achievements.

Philippa Langley, of the Richard III Society, said: “The men who knew him said he was ‘the most famous prince of best memory’.

"When he fell he was stripped naked and his scoliosis (curved spine) became known and was used to denigrate him.Today, we find the idea of using physical disability against a person as abhorrent. Let this now be a break from the Tudor medieval mindset.”

DNA recovered from the remains, radio-carbon dating, battlefield wounds found on the skeleton, and the link between what was found during the dig and what was mentioned in documentary sources from the period, combined to allow Leicester University academics to today conclude the identity was “beyond reasonable doubt”.

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