DNA indisputably identifies skeleton as that of Richard III
DNA analysis conducted by the geneticist Dr. Turi King at Leicester University has without doubt confirmed that the skeleton found at Greyfriars in August 2012 is indeed that of Richard III. This identification has been based on the identical mitochondrial DNA of two independent descendants of Anne of York, the sister of Richard III and the DNA extracted from the skeletal remains from Greyfriars.
These results were presented at a press conference earlier today in Leicester where other details were given about his manner of death.
It appears that the skeleton carried ten wounds, some perimortem and some probably postmortem wounds. Although it is not possible to decide without doubt which of these wounds were the fatal ones, at least two, which had been inflicted to the skull must have been deadly. One was a heavy blow probably inflicted by a halberd or the like at the back of his neck and cutting off a significant slive, while another was from a blade stuck into the brain.The researchers have speculated that the trauma to the head must have been the result of the loss at some point of the helmet of the king.
Several wounds were of a slighter character and done by daggers. The researchers have compared these to those found on individuals who were buried in a mass-grave at Towton in 1461. These individuals were found with skulls and skeletal remains, some of which were defaced post-mortem. It is generally believed this was done as part of a wilful defamation of the vanquished foe.
At the news conference the view was voiced that Richard III might have suffered the same treatment, since some of the wounds must have been inflicted after the body had been stripped of its armour.
This corresponds very well with a contemporary text, which says that after King Richards body had been discovered among the dead “many other insults were inflicted, the body was carried to Leicester in an inhuman way, a rope being placed around the neck” (Crowland Cronicle). Probably the head was tied to the rope which was strung between the feet and the hands of his body. Maybe a remnant of this fact may be discerned from the grave itself. Apparently the body of Richard III was interred with his hands still tied in front of him as opposed to the usual position of the arms and hands at that time, being laid parallel to the dead body.
On the other hand, although it is known that the body was slung naked over the back of a horse, one source tells us that it was ridden by his pursevant of arms, one Blanch Senglier or White-Boar. Thus there is no doubt that he was stripped at the battlefield; something which was done routinely by the victors and their accompanying throng of looters. Such stripping may very well have been done with the help of daggers, explaining the some of the smaller knife wounds inflicted on the body. The wounds, however, may not have been part of a willful defamation.
Further, the fact that he was not wrapped in a cloth or blanket while being carried from the battlefield may reflect nothing more than the need for the new king, Henry VII to exhibit his trophy thus avoiding any rumours that king Richard had succeeded in fleeing from the battle.
This also accounts for the fact that his dead body apparently was paraded for several days at Newark, the city hall, before being interred at Grayfriars. The body was presumably laid to rest unshrouded as it had not been pressed together as would have been the case had it been wrapped in a piece of textile. No personal objects of any kind were found in the grave.
At the News conference a spokesman for the cathedral told what was decided several months ago that King Richard III will be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral some time early next year. At that time a proper exhibition is expected to be opened at a location near the former Greyfriars.
However already a smaller exhibition is announced to be opened at Leicester Cathedral on the 08.02.2013.
Tonight (04.02.2013) the full story of the location of the grave, its excavation and the scientific study of the skeleton will be aired at Channel Four at 9PM. Here a facial reconstruction will be shown as well as a reconstructed film showing how Richard III may have walked due to his massive scoliosis.