Leicester Now Virtually Certain to be Richard III’s Burial Place

The question on Richard III’s final resting place seems to have been resolved after York withdrew its candidacy, leaving Leicester as the only serious contender for the honour.

Although Leicester had always been the frontrunner, support for York has been steadily growing. Over 11,000 people had signed a petition to bring King Richard’s remains to York. After all, Richard III was a representative of the House of York (the branch of the House of Plantagenet) and he was extremely popular there. When news of his death reached York, the city elders recorded how the King who had “mercifully” reigned over them was “piteously slain and murdered to the great heaviness of the city”.

Many also objected to Leicester’s candidacy on the basis that it was never a “resting” place for Richard. Although he was buried there for over 500 years, it was the site where he was humiliated and buried without any honours befitting a Monarch.

Richard III

Richard III

A statement on York Minster’s website read: “The Chapter of York understands the strong feeling of some people in York and Yorkshire that Richard III is significant to the history of the county and that therefore his body ought to be returned. However, the recent verification of the identity of his remains follows a significant period in which Leicester and Leicestershire gained a sense of Richard belonging there, at least in death. It was Leicester Franciscans who gave him burial, and the cathedral has a major memorial to his memory at its heart.” (more…)

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Richard III’s Facial Reconstruction Unveiled

Today, the Richard III Society officially unveiled the facial reconstruction of Richard III by the University of Dundee craniofacial identification team. The finished result is perhaps most amazing in one aspect – just how much it looks like the portraits of the late King.

The facial reconstruction (left) and a non-contemporary portrait of Richard III (right)

The facial reconstruction (left) and a non-contemporary portrait of Richard III (right)

The facial reconstruction is highly significant because there are no surviving contemporary portraits of Richard III. The reconstructed face has a slightly arched nose and prominent chin, quite similar to the portraits that were appeared years and centuries after Richard III’s death. According to Dr Ashdown-Hill, the fact most of the surviving portraits of the King are so alike in every detail (not to mention resemble the reconstructions), suggests all of them were based on a single contemporary portrait painted in the King’s lifetime.

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DNA tests confirm remains found in a Leicester car park belong to Richard III

Forensic test results announced on Monday confirmed the skeleton that had been found in a Leicester car park does indeed belong to Richard III who died in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: “Beyond reasonable doubt it’s Richard.”

Philippa Langley in one of the trenches where the remains were found

Philippa Langley in one of the trenches where the remains were found

Series of tests were carried out to determine whether the bones found buried under the floor of a medieval church belonged to the late King. The tests, along with DNA results and the collective decision of the experts, conclusively proved that the remains are indeed those of Richard III. Scientists have compared DNA sample from the bones with the mitochondrial DNA of Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born carpenter who currently resides in Britain. Mitochondrial DNA can be inherited solely down the maternal line, and Ibsen is a direct matrilineal descendant of Anne of York, Richard III’s sister.

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Richard III: A Villain or a Victim of a Successful Propaganda?

On Monday, scientists from the University of Leicester are to finally reveal the results of DNA that will tell us whether the bones discovered in a Leicester car park last year belong to Richard III. But while we are waiting for the results, perhaps we could have another look at the King and reassess his reign and personality.

And indeed, what do we know about the last Plantagenet Monarch? And what of we know is accurate or just a plain character assassination? Was he a monster depicted in Shakespeare’s famous play? Did he kill his young nephews and usurp the Throne? Why did he lose the Battle of Bosworth Field and how did he die? Unfortunately, none of those questions could actually be answered conclusively but I will try to draw as unbiased a portrait as possible.

Richard III and his wife, Anne Neville

Richard III and his wife, Anne Neville

Richard was born as the eighth and youngest child of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville both of whom had strong claims to the Throne of England. From an early age, Richard was a staunch supporter of his brother’s quest to claim the Crown. After Edward finally ascended to the English Throne (for the first time) in 1461, Richard was named the Duke of Gloucester.

Of all their siblings, it is indisputable Edward IV had the most trust in his youngest sibling, and the latter never disappointed him; throughout Edward’s reign, he was a loyal, caring and dedicated brother. Perhaps even more importantly, he proved to be an able commander; Richard played crucial roles in the battles of Tewkesbury and Barnet that resulted in Edward reclaiming the Throne from Henry VI.

(more…)

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