Monday, February 04, 2013

King Richard III Found Under A Parking Lot

I didn't know King Richard III was missing, but apparently he was but he has been found. Well, his remains anyway. The remains of the king made famous by Shakespeare have been found under a parking lot in Leicester, England. Apparently he really did have a hunchback but no withered arm. The bones were found last August, and this morning, scientists announced they had confirmed it was King Richard III through DNA tests.

62 comments:

prolixe said...

I read this the other but the headline wasn't nearly as funny. Go, Enty!

auntliddy said...

Truth IS stranger than fiction!!

Vicki Cupper said...

Wow.

KPeony said...

It's amazing he was found mostly intact

Sarah said...

This feels very undignified for a king.

Lola said...

I know these guys spent years, and tons of research to find his remains, still...amazing that they were able to pinpoint it. And he didn't have a hunchback, according to test results. He had scoliosis which would (in his case) have given his back and arched appearance.

caralw said...

I used to read about him and how the Tudors commissioned Billy the Shakes to sully his name. I guess some things never change. ;-)

Audrey said...

What an awesome find!

Snapdragon said...

Pretty awesome.

@Sarah: I read this morning that he was the last king to die in battle, so it may be that they buried him close to where he fell.

caralw said...

It was the Battle of Bosworth Field. And yes, close to where they finally found them.

Seachica said...

So Joni Mitchell told the truth -- they paved where Richard lies, and put up a parking lot

Snapdragon said...

@caralw, if you haven't read The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, I highly recommend it. (Spoilers @ the link. Brief summary: a modern Scotland Yard inspector (well, the book's from 1951) is bedridden and decides to do an investigation into King Richard III to see whether or not he really was the murderer history has claimed him to be. A very entertainingly written fiction, in which a history lesson is disguised!)

janele said...

Now if only they would do a DNA test on the bones of the alleged Princes in the Tower now, instead of a few generations from now. Richard III allegedly killed them to claim the throne for himself.

daz said...

He did have both his nephews killed to claim the throne

caralw said...

@snapdragon Oooh, thanks. Looks interesting. :-)

Lola said...

Sarah, he was defeated by Henry Tudor (Henry VII) which swept in the Tudor reign. His body was said to be buried at a church in a Catholic monastery. When Henry VIII came to power and took all of the church's lands (as he instituted the Church of England as the state church) the church where Richard was buried was destroyed and eventually lost to history.

Karen said...

@seachica, as soon as I read the headline I started thinking about that song and how to make a joke. You beat me to it. :)

smash said...

Thank you lola! You are a fountain of info. :) seachica stole my joke. ;)

Snapdragon said...

@daz -- that's what has been recorded and repeated over the years, but the novel I mentioned brings that into question. Very compelling, and based on historical information.

@caralw: De nada!

Where's Shelly? said...

I love history, thanks guys for the great extra history info. This is so interesting. I wonder how in the world they found it? Under a parking lot? I'd bet the owner of that parking lots going to be making a bunch of money off the find, shouldn't it be designated some kind of landmark? Or at least put up a placque.

Snapdragon said...

@daz -- that's what has been recorded and repeated over the years, but the novel I mentioned brings that into question. Very compelling, and based on historical information.

Lola said...

daz, it was claimed he killed them but he didn't need to in order to acsend to the throne. After Edward IV's death, his marriage to Elizabeth was declared illegal and the princes were, therefore illegitimate and ineligible to be come kings. Richard "legally" became king (although as Lord Protector, who he was able to influence and/or pay off is another matter).

If he did kill the princes, it was likely to circumvent any future insurrections by supporters of Edward IV'S, and by extention, his sons from attempting to take the throne.

B. Profane said...

Damn! They actually confirmed that it's him? Oh my. Well, read Alison Weir's biography on the Princes in the Tower. Richard III was, by the standards of the time, hardly the ogre that Shakespeare made him out to be. He was actually quite an effective deputy for ensuring the power of the throne over the kingdom for his brother at a time when Wales was barely conquered and the Scots were a constant threat to the North. Even if he had the princes murdered, by the standards of the time, considering the opposing forces marshaled against him, it was the necessary act of a monarch trying to maintain a continuity of familial power. Horrible, but really not that less horrible other such acts that kings (or queens) did at the time.

B. Profane said...

I thought that the alleged remains of the Princes in the Tower were lost? The ones found under the steps outside the White Tower?

Connie151 said...

Outstanding find! I love when these mysteries are cleared up. Is Jimmy Hoffa next?

Pogue Mahone said...

What an amazing archeological find!

msgirl said...

Hell yeah I'm a huge believer that Richard's history has been the biggest and most successful PR propoganda in history! The Tudors had a very tenuous claim to the crown, and they also systematically killed off the rest of the Roses. I've been fascinated by this for a long time.

Yes Daughter of Time is a great jumping point to get into this mystery.

Lola said...

B, in the 17th century, 2 skeletons of young boys were found in the tower and were reburied in Westminster Abbey because they were thought to be the princes. No modern scientific tests have ever been used on them to determine if they are actually the princes.

I would imagine that today's news will renew the push for testing.

smash said...

I love history and will write down the name of that author thank you B.

Mooshki said...

I'm distantly related to him. Sorry for the disrespect, Uncle Richard.

Sherry said...

Funny Seachica...

I read about this somewhere earlier. He is the only king not given a "proper" burial but back then it was the most proper way to be buried. If I got that wrong, I thank you in advance for the history lesson. I'm not so great in that dept.

AndroidCookie said...

As a history major, never get your history from Shakespeare! He does get a lot right, but its fiction. Richard wasn't the greatest king, but he was far more capable than many, and he wasn't the deformed monster that made for a great story. I don't think we will ever know if he killed those 2 princes, there are other canidates, including Henry VII. BTW I'm also an English major, so I do love me some Shakespeare. Lol but medieval England is my historical specialty,

Max Power said...

Good to see my home town in the international news!

Lola said...

The thought in the century following Richard was that James Tyrell killed the boys, either by order of Richard or to get back in Richard's graces after a falling out. If memory serves, one of Richard's distant relatives (a Duke... The name is escaping me... Starts with a B). Many thought Henry VII might have done it to solidify the Tudor claims (seems unlikely since he ascended to the throne after the princes supposedly disappeared).

I love history. (Undergrad and most of a master's in history w/a concentration in Medieval and Renaissance studies) I've been pretty keen to hear the results of all of this.

I doubt Elizabeth is going to allow the urns to be opened though.

Lola said...

British CDANers... Haven't historians been trying to get Elizabeths okay to open the urns and Edward IV's tomb for ages and she's refused?

lunaire said...

Where's Shelly: I'm sure the investigators used ground penetrating radar (GPR) to look for Richard III's shallow grave. GPR is a geophysical equipment that detects differences in dielectrical contrast in materials. In this case, GPR was likely used to detect differences between compact and disturbed soils caused by burials. GPR is commonly used for archaeological studies. I use GPR for geological research:-)

MISCH said...

I have it on highest authority that it wasn't a parking lot at the time...

Lola said...

Lol @MISCH

JSierra said...

I bet my Auntie Doreen stole him, my Mom's whole side of the family lives there and she would do something cooky like that.

nova said...

The church they knew he'd been buried in (Greyfriars) wasn't exactly lost. They had several old maps attesting to its location (and not forgotten, either - the area has streets called Greyfriars Lane etc.) I suppose it just took a strong push from the Richard III Society to actually get a search project going. Glad the myth of him being dumped in the river during the dissolution of the monasteries didn't turn out to be true - this is such an interesting and exciting find. Next up will be a release of a rendering of his face based on the skull, yay!

I wonder if, with the tourist interest this will bring, the Leicester city council will allow the statute of him in Castle Park to stand... it's got him holding a crown in one hand and a dagger in the other, haha. Some good samaritan however has overlaid whatever was engraved on it with some hand lettering that's much more flattering than what it surely said originally, about him being a brave fighter for his country and so on.

(Waves at Max Powers)

Henriette said...

@AndroidCookie
You speak the truth! Just look at Antony and Cleopatra.

Tuxedo Cat said...

@Mooshki

The indignity of it all! He probably died of old age waiting for someone to answer the intercom at one of those effin attendant-less parking lots.

Agent**It said...

Snapdragon, that was a good book, fun read.

EmEyeKay said...

@Smash, I inhale her books, and then go back for seconds. Check her out!

Max Power said...

Hello! And hello to JSierra's family!

Robin the Mad Photographer said...

Lola: You're thinking of the Duke of Buckingham, and yes, he's another suspect in the princes' disappearance/presumed deaths. The sad part is that, even if he was the one who had them killed, he wouldn't have been any worse than pretty much any other medieval English ruler, and was actually better than many of them. He just had the misfortune to have the Tudor propaganda machine run roughshod over his reputation before he was even cold, and when Shakespeare got involved by writing a play for the granddaughter of the man who defeated him, well... (Mooshki: you're a relation, too? One line of my family is descended from Edward III's granddaughter Anne Plantagenet, which would make Richard some kind of shirttail cousin of mine; in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people here have a similar connection but don't realize it. After all, isn't a fair chunk of the UK descended from William the Conqueror? (I am, in 2 different ways.)

Robin the Mad Photographer said...

smash: Alison Weir is definitely an interesting writer (although, IIRC, one of her theories is that Richard was banging his niece Elizabeth, who later went on to marry Henry VII, and I just don't think that happened). As far as writers to avoid, I'd put Philippa Gregory at the top of my list--if she tells you the sun rises in the east, make sure you check for additional documentation. For some reason, she has a serious bug up her ass about Anne Boleyn (and publicly admits that she hates her), and wastes no opportunity to trash her (e.g., The Other Boleyn Sister, which is frankly a complete crock of shit) or play fast and loose with history in general. Just my $.02 worth... (Anne wasn't a saint, but in the end she was far more sinned against than sinning; people seem to forget just how much of a psycho Henry VIII became over the course of his life.

B. Profane said...

(Just parenthetically, I'm going to observe that some CDAN'ers know their shit about Tudor history! I shall retire to the weeds and not comment further. I mean, I knew about the controversy about Richard III's bones being under the car park and all, and I'm certainly trained re. the inaccuracies of Holinshed...but, boy, you guys know your stuff!)

Were the bones interred at Westminster the same bones supposedly found under the stairs? I'm being lazy, I don't want to go back and read up on that again.

Agent**It said...

smash/Em, Eleanor of Aquitaine is a wonderful book by her.

Lola said...

B, yes. They were analyzed in the beginning of the 20th century and were found to be a mix of animal and human bones. All they were ultimately able to dicern was that it was 2 children (no way to tell sex) and that those 2 children were in the general age range of the princes. Because they may be royalty, they have to get permission to do even "cracked the seal" on them. There is also a question of 2 unknown coffins in Edward IV'S and Kathrine's tomb which may/may not be the princes but Elizabeth (and all previous Kings) has refused to allow the tomb to be breached.

Lola said...

Yes Robin, Buckingham. Thank you. (dur...I was having a complete brain fart)

msgirl said...

Alison Wie has a good reputation as a historical writer, altho like them all she has her definite opinions. I've been meaning to read the Eleanor one, now she is a fascinating woman in history!

I'm so glad there's such an intelligent conversation going on, we sure are a smart and well-informed group! And it's great to have those who didn't know now be aware of one of the great mysteries of history, it's so interesting isn't it!

Lynette said...

You history experts are all so brilliant. I hated history in school but love it now that I'm waaaay older. Enjoying all this historical info. I was born in Wales and visiting Cardiff and Caerphilly castles and Tintern Abbey are some of my greatest memories. The Roman ruins under Cardiff Castle are fascinating. Wasn't the roof of Tintern Abbey removed and used to make weapons (showing my lack of attention in History class here)? I still get chills when I remember the worn down stone steps that the monks ascended hundreds of years ago. Got to go read up on it again.

Rickatoo said...

Does this make you Princess Mooshki?

Mango said...

Wow, this is fascinating. I hope they use the skull to do a reconstruction of what they believe his face looked like.

@ Lynette - I've been to Caerphilly and Cardiff castles and Caerphilly has to be my favorite of any castle I've been to. It's ruined and weathered and worn and slightly mystical and everything a medieval castle should be.

Renoblondee said...

Shoot! I can't believe I missed Tudor history convo! I am obsessed! I like Wier alot. Totally agree that Gregory is complete trash. She really has it in for Boleyn for sure. Loved David Starkey. His book and his docu on the wives of Henry VIII was wonderful! I highly recommend!

WBotW said...

ALison Weir is actually one of the least respected historians out there. Ives and Starkey are the ones to read imho. Don't get me wrong, I personally enjoy Weir, but she is definitely not someone whose work you can trust.

If you want a good novel on Richard III, I recommend 'Sunne in Splendour' by Sharon Kay Penman. Two more good reads dealing with the War of the Roses are by Susan Higginbotham: 'The Stolen Crown' and 'Queen of Last Hopes.'

Jazzy said...

That is so effin' cool!

Jessie said...

So weird, I just listened to the Rexfactor podcast about him. The withered arm amused me as it works well in an ongoing game of "would you rather" in which "little arm" frequently pops up. I'm so impressed about how muh you guys know about history - no wonder these comment sections are so great.

Seahorse said...

Wow I could sit and listen to you for hours! I blew off my college opportunity and eventually became a (very) amateur Historian I plan to return to school eventually and maybe become the worlds oldest Masters Degree candidate

Seahorse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JanetEyre said...

Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir is FANTASTIC btw. Had to stop lurking to mention that. Although I agree that the Eleanor book was one of her best.