"Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III," according to results published Tuesday in Nature Communications. And with that, a 529-year-old cold case can be laid to rest, thanks to DNA forensics.
The British royal died in battle in 1485. But while he would be immortalized in his namesake Shakespeare play, King Richard III was buried without fanfare. The church that marked his grave had long since been demolished when researchers went looking for it in 2012, and pinpointing its former location took some investigating. But when they finally tracked down Greyfriars Church, its foundation — and by extension, the body of a king — turned out to be under a modern-day parking lot.
Richard III's skeleton was exhumed soon after and tentatively identified based on its age, battle wounds, and signs of scoliosis — from which the king is believed to have suffered, based on historical descriptions. But to get a more certain identification, researchers needed to look at the skeleton's DNA. And that's no easy task.
The University of Leicester in the UK has more here about the genetic research findings–and the questions they raise, including scandalous suggestions of infidelity within the royal lineage.
And below, a podcast from the University of Leicester in which Dr Turi King and Professor Kevin Schϋrer discuss the findings of the genetic and genealogical analysis in the King Richard III case. This includes coverage of all the genealogical research, and the results of the mitochondrial and Y chromosome analysis.