Archeologists claim to have unearthed what they believe are the remains of King Richard the thirdDNA testing and forensic analysis will be carried out to confirm whether the remains are truly those of the infamous king. The 15th century bones have been found under a city centre car park in Leicester.

Who was Richard the III?

Richard the third was King of England for just 2 years; despite his short reign as king, he has left an indelible and bloody mark in history books. He was the son of Richard, duke of York and lived in the turbulent 15th century Britain. His life was interesting enough for William Shakespeare to dedicate a whole play to him amongst his well-know tetralogy of history plays. Not the most likeable of kings, it is said that Richard the third murdered Henry VI and also cold bloodedly murdered Edward of Wales. His claim to the throne of England was insecure as he was not next in line. Until his nephews lived, Richard sat uneasily on the throne. This made him orchestrate the murder of the young Edward the V and his brother – the story goes that the bodies of the young boys of royal blood are till today buried somewhere in the walls of the dreary Tower of London.

DNA Testing and the presumed bones of Richard III

DNA testing has been used countless times to help identify unidentified remains. Researchers and archeologists have unearthed ruins of a Franciscan friary inside which they have found what they believe to be the bones of the young king who died at just 33 years of age. The skull believed to be that of the king clearly showed fractures which indicate the person died of cranial trauma – in fact, Richard died in battle – some historic sources say from a fracture to the skull. To be able to validate their claim however, archeologists will need to compare the DNA found in the bones with the DNA of the known living decedents of the king. Forensic genetic testing of such samples is indeed complex and challenging; the success of the DNA extraction very much depends on how well the DNA has been preserved in the remains.

DNA testing will again come to establish whether the remains found are really those of Richard III, the last king of the House of York.


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