On March 27th, 2015 we learned about

Richard III buried, again

In 1485, English king Richard III was killed in battle at the Battle of Bosworth Field. That battle ended the Wars of the Roses, with Henry Tudor’s forces claiming the throne. He was buried naked in a humble grave for over 500 years, until archaeologists dug him out of a parking lot.

From forensics to funeral

The body’s discovery was not accidental. An search was put together by the Looking for Richard project, which funded the search and subsequent analysis of the remains. The body was identified with a number of methods. Mitochondrial DNA analysis with living relatives provided two matches. And more gruesomely, the body showed damage consistent with both a halberd sword to the head as well as subsequent “humiliation injuries.”

This week, in agreement with the Looking for Richard projects specifications, the body was reburied, this time in Leicester Cathedral. 35,000 people attended, including members of the current royal family.


My kindergartner asked: What kind of king was Richard III? Was he nice and helpful or some kind of tyrant? This is, of course, hard to measure. During his life, accounts were mild and mixed. After his death, accounts took a negative turn, but it’s hard to say if these were opinions that were simply repressed during his life, or if they were part of a purposeful shift in narrative launched by his successors.

Still, the disappearance of potential competitors to the throne and multiple rebellions against him don’t speak too well for the king’s reputation. Shakespeare’s rendition of Richard certainly didn’t seem to call for this week’s goal of restoring the king’s remains “the dignity and honor denied to them in death” either.

Source: Richard III, Whose Remains Were Found Under A Parking Lot, Reburied by Krishnadev Calamur, The Two-Way

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