I suspect that most English history buffs and Shakespeareans have been following this story for some time, but I wanted to take a quick moment to highlight it here as well. In September 2012, a research team announced that they believed they had located the remains of Richard III, underneath a parking lot in Leicester. Richard’s final resting place has remained a matter of debate since his death in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, immortalized by Shakespeare in Richard III. I’ll avoid weighing in on the “was Richard as bad as Shakespeare portrayed him or wasn’t he” debate, except to say that I enjoy the play immensely, but feel that Shakespeare took strong artistic license to craft a version of Richard that was consistent with popular and royal opinion at the time.
The discovery looked very promising from the start, as initial inspections of the remains revealed signs of bodily trauma consistent with a death in battle. Yet even as a multitude of armchair archaeologists expressed near-unanimous agreement that this was Richard’s body, the research team urged caution while they tracked down descendants of Richard to collect DNA samples.
Today, however — confirmation! The results are in and they confirm, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” that it is indeed Richard. Many outlets have been covering the story since last fall, but readers may find The Telegraph‘s brief piece to be a good starting point, particularly as it offers a portal to article stubs and other perspectives on the discovery. If you’re like me and find burial customs to be a continual source of fascination, you may also want to jump to this article explaining why Richard will be given a low-key re-interrment at Leicester Cathedral early next year.
I do love how all of this information has been constantly and consistently available via the internet, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the first books on the discovery.