Archaeologists began digging up a parking lot in central England this past weekend looking for the remains of the last English king killed in battle.
Historians believe they may have finally located where infamous monarch Richard III is buried – under a parking lot in Leicester.
Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, the last clash of the War of the Roses, and according to records his body was interred in a Franciscan friary in the area.
A team from the University of Leicester is excavating the site, with an initial goal of finding the remains of the friary, according to Reuters.
“The friary was, however, knocked down during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, and the exact location of the burial site has been one of Britain’s enduring historical mysteries ever since,” according to The Daily Mail.
Archaeologists came to the conclusion that Richard, who was last Plantagenet ruler and is considered England’s last Medieval King, was buried in the parking lot after closely examining ancient maps, the publication added.
Archaeologists have access to Richard III’s DNA after swab samples were taken from a direct descendant of the king’s sister, Canadian-born Michael Ibsen, Reuters reported.
If any of the king’s remains are found, they will be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral, just a few steps away from the excavation site.
Richard was King of England from 1483 until his death at age 32 on Aug. 22, 1485.
With his death at the hands of forces led by Henry Tudor, three decades of internal conflict came to a close. Tudor took the throne as Henry VII.
Richard’s death at the age of 32 marked the end of Wars of the Roses, and the end of the Middle Ages in England.
Following his death, Richard’s clothes and armor were removed and his naked body carried on horseback to Leicester, where the corpse was displayed in public for three days.
Afterward, the king was brought to Leicester, where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as the Greyfriars. The location of Greyfriars was eventually lost to history, according to LiveScience.
Richard was later the subject of a play by Shakespeare, which portrayed him in a decidedly less-than-flattering light.
He has long been associated with the disappearance of his two nephews.
With the death of his brother Edward IV in April 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector of the realm for Edward’s 12-year-old son and successor.
As the youth travelled to London, Richard met and escorted him into the country’s capital, where he was lodged in the Tower of London. The youngster’s brother, Richard, later joined him there.
The young Edward’s coronation was to take place on June 22, 1483, but before that could happen, his father’s marriage to his mother was publicly declared to be invalid, making young Edward and his brother illegitimate and ineligible for the throne.
In late June an assembly of lords and commoners endorsed these claims and the next day Richard III officially began his reign.
The two young princes were not seen in public after August it remains unclear what exactly happened to them. Richard is accused of having had them murdered in order to strengthen his claim to the crown.
(HT: The History Blog.)
6 thoughts on “Is Richard III buried under a UK parking lot?”
Posthumous Richard has not been able to catch a break since the first Tudors destroyed what little reputation he had!
It’s tough when you’re dead and Shakespeare’s working for the other side, isn’t it?
“The young Edward’s coronation was to take place on June 22, 1583” should probably be in the year 1483
I reckon it should. Elsewise, that would have made him a very old Edward, rather than a young one.
Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.
Your article is very well done, a good read.
It is fascinating and, sadly, has remained a tried and true method to settle disputes, despite the fact that its outcome rarely proves ultimately conclusive.
Thanks for the kind words.