A team of British medieval archaeologists from University of Leicester goaded by a member of the Richard III Society has uncovered the skeletal remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, who was killed at Bosworth and buried in the Grey Friars church in Leicester.
The announcement is extraordinary since the king was buried surreptitiously and the church that served as his resting place was destroyed in the 16th century. The finding was validated by DNA analysis of one of his direct descendants (a Canadian carpenter). According to Dr. Gunn, cited by the BBC, the resting place was determined by King Henry VII, Richard’s vanquisher:
“After the battle of Bosworth Henry VII didn’t want anyone claiming that they were Richard III and had survived the battle.
Richard’s body was taken to Leicester, slung naked over the back of a horse, and publicly displayed so people could see he was dead.
But there was the problem of how and where to bury him – what seems likely is that they wanted to avoid anything that would generate a posthumous cult.
There was a tradition in medieval England that people who were political victims then became popular saints. They wouldn’t have wanted to bury him in York, where he was very popular.
Greyfriars was convenient and safe. Henry VII put steps in action for a tomb to be built, and the inscription was to be ambivalent, and in some ways rude about Richard III, talking about his nephews and indicating that he wasn’t a very good king. There is evidence that people talked about him being buried there.”
Richard III burial overlay image and tomb location
The precise spot of the trench in which Richard’s skeleton was found can be seen on this map, depicting the parking lot of Grey Friars Social Services office, in Leicester, UK overlaid with a map of old Leicester.
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The Google Street View below identifies the last known spot where Richard III went down in the heat of the battle at Bosworth.