TORONTO – A historical mystery that stumped British experts for centuries appears to have finally been solved, thanks to a DNA sample from a Canadian family.
Scientists say they have found the 500-year-old remains of England’s King Richard III under a parking lot in the city of Leicester.
University of Leicester researchers said today it is “beyond reasonable doubt” that a battle-scarred skeleton unearthed last year is the king, who died at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
Osteologist Jo Appleby said a thorough study of the bones provides “a highly convincing case for identification of Richard III.”
The skeleton showed signs of Richard’s famed spinal curvature and of fatal battle wounds.
Scientists compared its DNA with samples taken from a Canadian family that is a direct descendant of Anne of York, Richard’s eldest sister, and today they announced that the samples matched.
Jeff Ibsen says he was warned long ago that his family might be called upon if the king’s burying place was ever discovered.
Archaeologists had long sought the monarch’s grave, which has been the subject of speculation for centuries.
They, along with historians and local tourism officials, had all been hoping for confirmation that king’s long-lost remains had been found.
And so had the monarch’s fans in the Richard III Society, set up to re-evaluate the reputation of a reviled monarch.
The last English king to die in battle, Richard was immortalized in a play by William Shakespeare as a hunchbacked usurper who left a trail of bodies — including those of his two young nephews, murdered in the Tower of London — on his way to the throne.
Many historians say that villainous image is unfair
“It will be a whole new era for Richard III,” the society’s Lynda Pidgeon said. “It’s certainly going to spark a lot more interest. Hopefully people will have a more open mind toward Richard.”