Richard III: skeleton is the king
The body of Richard III, slain at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, has been found buried deep beneath a Leicester car park, scientists confirmed today.
The cleaved skull of Richard III has evidence of an arrow Injury Photo: University of Leicester /
Archaeologists said DNA testing proved "beyond reasonable doubt" that the skeleton was that of the Plantagenet king.
The University of Leicester team described their find as "truly astonishing".
They said the skeletal evidence "provides a highly convincing case for identification as Richard III". They said that the skeleton was the king as far as all scientific tests could prove.
The skull and the complete spine of king Richard III (University of Leicester/AFP/Getty Images)
"It is the academic conclusion of the University of Leicester that, beyond reasonable doubt, the individual exhumed at Greyfriars... is indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England," said Richard Buckley, who led the research, to applause.
Richard Taylor, the university's deputy registrar, said: "Today we bear witness to history."
The lower jaw of king Richard III with a cut mark caused by a knife or dagger (University of Leicester/AFP/Getty Images)
It came 24 hours after an image of the battle-scarred skull of Richard III was released for the first time. Scientists also uncovered the grave site.
The way they found the skeleton suggested the king had been tied when he was buried. There has been extensive damage to the bones, scientists say.
The skeleton had an "unusually slender, almost feminine build for a man" and was aged between the late 20s and early 30s. Richard died aged 32.
Without any "spinal abnormality", the skeleton would have been 5’ 8” high, which was above average height for a medieval man, scientists say.
A total of 10 wounds have been discovered made to the skeleton, including eight on the skull. The injuries suggest the king may have lost his helmet during the battle which saw him deposed by Henry VII.
The remains of King Richard III found buried deep beneath a Leicester car park (University of Leicester / Rex Features)
The skeleton was uncovered last autumn amid the historic foundations of a Franciscan Friary in Leicester, beneath a council car park which is overlooked by Leicester Cathedral.
They will be reinterred early next year at the cathedral, with a visitor centre to be created nearby, which will tell the king's story.
A depiction of Richard III – on the white horse – at the Battle of Bosworth Credit: ALAMY
Teams of experts carried out radio carbon dating, DNA tests and CAT scans and compared notes with experts in weapons and trauma, lifestyle and diet before announcing their findings today.
They have disclosed that the skull appears to have suffered a severe blow.
The body was identified just weeks into a project which began when experts identified the car park as the most likely historical location of the church of Grey Friars, where the King was said to have been buried after his defeat in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
The archaeologists initially described the dig as a "long shot" but uncovered the foundations of a church along with two bodies, one of which would prove to be the King.
As Henry VII's troops dragged the corpse into Leicester its head is said to have struck a stone and broken open.
The remains were dug up last September and Leicester University said there was “strong evidence” that it was Richard III.
Archaeologists searching under the city centre car park for the lost grave of King Richard III have discovered human remains (PA)
The skeleton is not believed to have been buried in either a shroud or a coffin, which although unusual for the time, tallies with historical accounts that suggest he was "irreverently buried" by Henry's forces.
Richard III, depicted by William Shakespeare as a tyrant who murdered two princes in the Tower of London, was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, bringing to an end the two-year dynastic struggle known as the War of the Roses and triggering the reign of the House of Tudor.
It has been claimed the discovery of Richard's body will lead to a re-examination of his reign and may go some way to rebalancing the largely negative portrayal offered by Shakespeare.
Richard III: skeleton is the king - Telegraph