The last Plantagenet King is found

via wikipedia

King Richard lll was the last Plantagenet King of England and the last to die in battle. After his death on the Battle Fields of Bosworth, Leicestershire in 1485 he was vilified by the then Tudor dynasty, and 100 years later Shakespeare painted a picture of him as a scheming, plotting villain. This is the lasting image that most people have of the last Plantagenet king.

As a result of these bones being discovered the true legacy may yet come to light.

via BBC

Image of head reconstructed from the skull found in the car park in Leicester.

The driving force behind the discovery is Philippa Langley, based in Edinburgh, and secretary of the Scottish branch of the Richard lll Society. Yes, that was new to me too, but apparently there is a worldwide membership running into several thousands. 

It was Philippa who visited the car park in Leicester and had a strong sensation that she was walking on Richard’s grave. The car park was covering an area that had been Leicester’s Grey Friars which was subsequently razed in Henry Vlll’s dissolution of the monasteries, and where it was thought his bones had been taken. There was a white “R” painted on the tarmac, “R” for reserved parking, not “R” for Richard but at that spot she felt she was on a mission.

Cutting through red tape and initial scepticism, Langley obtained permission from Leicester City Council to commission a dig by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, but funding fell through at the last minute. However, an appeal to the “Ricardians” from around the world raised £13,000 in two weeks. 

The rest is now history. The first trench dug revealed a skeleton with scoliosis of the spine and a blow to the head – the only known account of Richard’s death is a poem which states he was “pole-axed to the head”.

Yesterday following DNA analysis given by Michael Ibsen, a Canadian furniture maker living in London, a direct descendant through the female line of Richard lll’s sister, Anne of York, the bones were confirmed as those of King Richard lll.

courtesy University of Leicester

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21 comments

    1. Yes, it clearly shows the scoliosis of the spine.

    2. that’s fascinating report identifying the role of the media in public miage.

  1. It has been fascinating to follow this story.

    1. The technological advances used in archaeology today are having a huge impact in helping us to discover more about the past. I am sure that this story has more mileage in it.

  2. It’s amazing how technology can make such ties to the past. Regardless of whether one follows the pro-Richard or anti-Richard opinions of his rule and personality, this confirmation of his bones and identity is a terrific piece of news!

    1. Archaeology is at the cutting edge these days, no longer is it the poor relation.

  3. I got so excited when I heard this last night on the news. I felt a little sorry to learn he’d been under a car park, but what an amazing and exciting find! This is archaeology and history at its very best story telling! I thank you for more information on Langley than I had previously heard. She must be over the moon!

    1. You are correct, Langley was very emotional.
      The story seems to have caught the imagination of people from all around the world.

  4. Other people’s obsessions can be fascinating.

    1. It is something that would never have entered my head to have an obsession with a long dead king, but apparently there are thousands of them out there.

  5. I read about this in the news… I think it is wonderfully exciting. Archeological finds make history so ‘real’!!

    1. The tools and science available to archaeologists are improving at a rapid pace. Archaeology used to be the bridesmaid in science now it is becoming the bride.

  6. It’s exciting to see gaps in the historical record filled in. Kudos to Philippa Langley for keeping the project alive.

    If the reconstruction is accurate, Richard III was a handsome fellow.

    1. I think she was working on this project for 10 years, and yes, he certainly doesn’t look like a villain!!!

  7. Being a graduate of the Univ. of Leicester, I was invited to a presentation from their research team in 3 weeks… but sadly will not be able to attend. I find this whole thing fascinating and would love to have attended.

    1. are you allowed to pass on your invite to an interested party….?

      1. don’t know if my 1st reply went through or not! Unfortunately its a black-tie dinner for alumni only – with reservations / booking etc required so not transferable, otherwise I would definately find someone to go!

      2. shame!

    2. That is so disappointing for you, I can imagine how you must feel.

  8. wow, don’t know what else to say. This has been exciting eh?!

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