Skeleton in car park is King Richard III, scientists say
Extensive tests confirm bones found in Leicester car park belong to last English king killed in battle
A SKELETON found beneath a council car park in Leicester does belong to Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England.
DNA from the skeleton, which had suffered ten injuries including eight to the skull, was matched to genetic material from the king's descendents by a team from the University of Leicester. The team's lead archaeologist Richard Buckley told a packed news conference in Leicester today that it was "beyond reasonable doubt" the individual exhumed at the Grey Friars car park on 12 September "is indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England".
The Guardian says the dramatic conclusion was reached after extensive scientific testing including "radiocarbon dating" to establish the age of the remains. Researchers have also compared DNA from the skeleton with samples taken from Michael Ibsen, a Canadian believed to be a direct descendant of Richard's sister Anne.
It was established that the bones belonged to a man in his late 20s or early 30s and date from 1455 to 1540. Richard was 32 when he died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
Among the gruesome details to emerge from today's press conference was the revelation that a stab wound to the king's right buttock after death "was consistent with humiliation of his naked dead body" while it was slung over a horse.
The BBC reports that Richard III's bones will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral - the nearest consecrated ground - but details of the ceremony have not been released.
The popular image of the last English monarch to die in battle has been shaped by Shakespeare's play, which depicts him as a bloodthirsty usurper who "leaves a trail of bodies" on the way to the throne, says Yahoo. Many historians say that image is unfair and that he was the victim of Tudor propaganda.
The Cambridge academic and TV star Mary Beard appeared to be uncomfortable with the "hype" surrounding today's highly orchestrated announcement, The Guardian reports. Beard tweeted: "Great fun and a mystery solved that we've found Richard 3. But does it have any HISTORICAL significance? (Uni of Leics overpromoting itself?)"