It’s official, the body is that of King Richard III. Congratulations to the team at the University of Leicester. Plus congrats, to Philippa Langley who persuaded Leicester City Council to go ahead with the excavation in the first place, and the Richard III Society (who’s website is being updated, no doubt to take account of the tremendous news).
The Mayor Peter Soulsby also confirmed the remains will be interred in Leicester Cathedral, which is likely to be early next year. There will be a temporary exhibition in the Leicester Guildhall on 8th February.
Key to establishing the identity beyond reasonable doubt was the results of the DNA test. Dr Turi King, project geneticist, said there had been concern DNA in the bones would be too degraded:
“The question was could we get a sample of DNA to work with, and I am extremely pleased to tell you that we could.”
She added: “There is a DNA match between the maternal DNA of the descendants of the family of Richard III and the skeletal remains we found at the Greyfriars dig.
“In short, the DNA evidence points to these being the remains of Richard III.”
Note: It was suggested by Jo Appleby, an osteologist at Leicester (pictured below), that King Richard III lost his helmet in battle, due to wounds to his head, and wounds also included post-mortum ‘humiliation injuries’. This included wounds to the buttocks, maybe to his body as carried by horse to the city of Leicester from the Battle of Bosworth. Here are a few pics taken live from the press conference, but you can also see the University of Leicester pics in full on Owly.
I played a very small part in this process, after being contacted by the Leicester Civic Society I was one of many who contacted Channel 4 to suggest they run with an idea for a documentary, which they eventually agreed to, and which shows tonite as a “world exclusive” at 9pm. Oh, and in true #thinslicing manner I set up the FourSquare check-in for ‘Body of King Richard III’ before the dig was announced. Though that hasn’t got much traction as yet, that may change once the visitor centre is open.
My email with reference to my own documentary attempt with a more modern historical figure (Dr Martin Luther King), above and the story of how the site of his death and it’s use as a means of urban regeneration become a controversial story in itself in Memphis.