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Scientific Sleuthery Confirms the Identity of Richard III’s Remains

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DNA tests have confirmed “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the remains found last year underneath a parking lot in Leicester do in fact belong to Richard III, the notorious hunchback/(possible) nephew-killer and last English king to die in battle. He was also the subject of Shakespeare’s Richard III and, more amusingly (not that Richard III didn’t have its moments), a pair of Kate Beaton history comics.

Archaeologists at the University of Leicester already believed that the remains belonged to the king, who died in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field, due to their “famed spinal curvature” and fatal battle wounds. But it took a blessed union of science and history to prove it.

DNA from the remains was compared to that of a Canadian family directly descended from Anne of York, Richard’s eldest sister. One of those royal descendants is cabinet-maker Jeff Ibsen, who “says he was warned long ago that his family might be called upon if the king’s burying place was ever discovered,” reports the CBC. Someone get Anne Hathaway on the line, I have a Princess Diaries spinoff idea that I want to get her opinion on.

(And the Shakespeare/Anne Hathaway connections keep piling up…)

Writes the CBC:

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 [Richard III 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.”

In addition to archaeologists, historians, and the members of the Richard III Society, local tourism officials are also apparently invested in the skeleton belonging to Richard III. I can see it now: A Richard III Amusement Park, featuring a Tower of London Drop Ride (probably not historically accurate, but hey, they serve mini-pizzas and smoothies at Renaissance festivals) and a food court with Hunchback Hamburgers and Nepoticide Nachos.

(via: io9)

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