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Richard III's Remains Found

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By JENNY GROSS

LONDON—Researchers said the long-lost remains of King Richard III have been found and identified—after sitting under what is now a parking lot in the English Midlands for more than 500 years.

The findings appear to solve a centuries-old mystery involving one of England's most-storied rulers, who has remained in the public fascination through a Shakespeare play and Hollywood movies.

University of Leicester researchers said at a news conference Monday that DNA tests on bones recently unearthed in an archaeological dig in Leicester match samples taken from two living descendants of Richard's sister. A separate skeletal analysis showed striking similarities between the unearthed bones and features Richard was said to have had, they said.

"It was the result we were all waiting to hear," the university said. "In one of the most important announcements in the University's history, our academics have today revealed that the…skeleton is indeed that of King Richard III."

Richard III, the controversial 15th century English monarch, was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. The story goes that the body was taken to nearby Leicester, about 100 miles north of London, after his death. Until recently, no one had tried to dig up his remains.

In September, archeologists at the University of Leicester acted on a hunch that Richard may have been buried under a city council parking lot. Archeologists started to dig and within a week had found a skeleton and a medieval friary, raising hopes that Richard's remains had been found.

Tests of the remains showed the man whose remains were found was likely to have been killed by one or two injuries to the skill, which fits with the story that Richard was killed in battle by sword or ax.

"The corpse was subjected to 'humiliation injuries'—including a sword through the right buttock," the university said.

The skeleton also has a curved spine, just as Richard was reported to have. Radiocarbon dating revealed the bones had a high-protein diet, including significant amounts of seafood, a sign he was of high status, the university said.

The bones of Richard will most likely be reinterred in Leicester, where they stayed for more than 500 years, but some Richard III enthusiasts are calling for Richard to be buried in York and others in Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle, where other monarchs are interred.

Leicester officials hope the prospect of proper burial site would be a boost to tourism, creating a focal point for a king who only ruled England for two years, but whose story has captivated enthusiasts for years.

Richard became king in 1483, taking power from his nephew, the 12-year-old Edward V. Richard said Edward was an illegitimate heir as the product of his father's second marriage. Richard was said to have imprisoned his two nephews in the Tower of London. Within months of Richard's taking the throne, the two nephews disappeared, and some assumed Richard had murdered them.

Some historians say Richard was an evil, power-hungry ruler who murdered family members to quicken his rise to the throne. William Shakespeare's "Richard III" helped to popularize this depiction, describing Richard as a crippled villain who killed anyone in his path to the throne.

Others say this description is fictional, and one spread by Henry Tudor, Richard's successor, whose army killed Richard in battle. Shakespeare was born about 80 years after Richard died and wrote during the Tudor dynasty. Pro-Richard enthusiasts say a closer look at Richard's reign shows he was one of the most progressive rulers of his time and one who promoted foreign trade and books.

His death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, outside of Leicester, marked a pivotal moment in English history and in the struggle for power between the House of York and the House of Lancaster, known as the "The Wars of the Roses." Richard was the last of the Plantagenet kings to rule and his defeat by Henry VII began the start of the Tudor dynasty, which lasted for more than a century.

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Just gets you thinking, what could be buried under your house.

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Just gets you thinking, what could be buried under your house.

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Pretty interesting actually.

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Just gets you thinking, what could be buried under your house.

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In September, archeologists at the University of Leicester acted on a hunch that Richard may have been buried under a city council parking lot. Archeologists started to dig and within a week had found a skeleton and a medieval friary, raising hopes that Richard's remains had been found.

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Wow, very cool. This skeleton is hundreds of years old. Can't believe they found it under a parking lot

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