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Carolyn Harris

What’s Next for King Richard III?

Researchers at the University of Leicester announced Monday that the remains discovered in a Leicester parking lot in September, 2012 had been authenticated as those of King Richard III of England, who died at the age of thirty-two on the Battle of Bosworth field. Mitochondrial DNA from the skeleton matched that of Michael Ibsen, a Canadian seventeenth generation descendant of Richard III’s sister, Anne of York, in the female line.The authentication of Richard’s remains provides a wealth of information for historians beyond confirmation of where he was buried. The King’s skeleton shows evidence of scoliosis, curvature of the spine resulting in one shoulder being higher than the other. The symptoms of scoliosis are not the same as the hunched back displayed by the King in William Shakespeare’s play Richard III, but it demonstrates that the playwright was exaggerating Richard’s actual appearance rather than inventing a physical condition for his central character.Analysis of Richard’s remains also reveals the extent of his battle injuries at Bosworth Field. The King suffered an arrow wound to the spine, sword blows to the head that were the likely cause of his death and “humiliation” wounds inflicted after his death by members of the victorious forces of his opponent, Henry Tudor, who succeeded Richard as King Henry VII.Now that the question of the authenticity of Richard III’s remains has been answered further questions have emerged about the nature of the funeral and how the discovery will inform the often conflicting accounts of the King’s character and brief reign. The Richard III society has received a substantial donation toward the King’s burial in Leicester cathedral.As Leicester has experienced recent economic troubles, the presence of the remains of the famous King would benefit tourism in the region. The suitability of Leicester cathedral as a final resting place for the… Read More