Tests on a skeleton found under a car park in Leicester have confirmed that the remains belong to Richard III, archaeologists have said.

Scientists and historians from the University of Leicester announced at a press conference that DNA evidence as well as battle-inflicted injuries and the age of the skeleton suggest they were the remains of England's last Plantagenet King.

richard iii

My kingdom for a hearse!

The skeleton was dated as belonging to a man who died from 1455 to 1540, and was in his late 20s to late 30s. Historians know that Richard III was aged 32 when he died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

richard iii

Dr Jo Appleby pointed out that many of the wounds were not inflicted in battle, but might have been sustained after death, as "humiliation" injuries, well documented in Medieval literature.

Injuries were made to his right buttock after death, Dr Appleby told the conference. These types of wounds were consistent with humiliation of his naked dead body as it was slung over pommel of a horse and paraded after the battle.

The skeleton, with a metal arrow in its back and severe trauma to the skull, was exhumed in September last year during an archaeological dig.

However archaeologists said the arrowhead had come from Roman times, and had merely been dislodged into the grave over the ages.

SEE ALSO: Twitter reacts to Richard III

The skeleton had a curved spine, consistent with accounts of Richard III's appearance. Scientists were able to prove that the scoliosis had not been present from birth, but developed when he was around ten years old.


Larry the Cat
Archaeologists say they were instantly able to distinguish remains of Richard III from Clegg family owing to presence of a spine

Without the curvature of the spine, the King would have stood around 5' 8'', average for a Medieval man. However the curvature would have significantly impacted on his apparent height.

Dr Appleby told the conference: "The analysis of the skeleton proved that it was an adult male but was an unusually slender, almost feminine, build for a man.

"This is in keeping with historical sources which describe Richard as being of very slender build.

"There is however no indication that he had a withered arm - both arms were of a similar size and both were used normally during life."

Described as "deformed" and "unfinish'd", jealous, and ambitious in Shakespeare's play, which was first performed in the 1590s, King Richard was also held responsible for the murder of his young nephews. He was portrayed a shrunken hunchback.

richard iii

Richard III appeared at the conference via videolink

This 'vilification' was described as absurd by the Richard III foundation, and indeed, the discovery of the skeleton has proved he did not have the 'withered arm' dramatised in Shakespeare's play.

"By blaming Richard for everything, (Henry) Tudor escaped blame for anything for two hundred years, until people were at last free to pose questions" the statement says.

"Although it is obvious that Tudor had overwhelming motivation to spread malicious gossip and to smear a dead man, some cannot let go of even the most outrageous slurs."

These days loyal Ricardians battle to repair Richard's reputation but the traditional view is that Richard, while not as evil as Tudor historians said, was probably responsible for removing his nephews from the royal line.

richard iii

Richard III will be interred in Leicester cathedral

DNA taken from the skeleton was analysed and compared with that of Michael Ibsen, a descendant of Richard III's family. Radiocarbon tests and genealogical studies have also taken place.


Richard III
I bloody told you it was me.

The remains of the King are to be interred in Leicester cathedral, in whose shadow Richard has has lain for so long.

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  • "hole in the head" - University of Leicester

    "hole in the head" - University of Leicester

  • "hole in the head" - University of Leicester

    "hole in the head" - University of Leicester

  • "rib" - University of Leicester

    "rib" - University of Leicester

  • "hip bone" - University of Leicester

    "hip bone" - University of Leicester

  • "The skeleton being excavated, showing the curve in the spine." - University of Leicester

  • "The complete skeleton showing the curve of the spine." - University of Leicester

  • "The complete spine" - University of Leicester

  • "We can now reveal a picture of the empty grave." - University of Leicester

  • "Here’s a world first; an image of the in situ remains discovered by University of Leicester archaeologists." - University of Leicester

  • "Archaeologists begin to carefully remove the remains of modern buildings to reach medieval archaeology beneath." - University of Leicester

  • University of Leicester undated handout photo of the skull of the skeleton found at the Grey Friars excavation in Leicester, potentially that of King Richard III. (Credit: PA/University of Leicester )

  • Undated handout photo issued by the University of Leicester of the earliest surviving portrait of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral, as archaeologists involved in the hunt for the remains of Richard III have released the first image of a battle-scarred skull which could be that of the 15th century ruler. (Credit: PA/University of Leicester)

  • Archaeologists in Richard III dig

    Jo Appleby, a lecturer in Human Bioarchaeology, at University of Leicester, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, who led the exhumation of the remains, during a dig at Leicester's Greyfriars car park, speaking at the university, as tests have established that a skeleton found under the car park, is that of King Richard III.

  • Archaeologists in Richard III dig

    Jo Appleby, a lecturer in Human Bioarchaeology, at University of Leicester, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, who led the exhumation of the remains, during a dig at Leicester's Greyfriars car park, speaking at the university, as tests have established that a skeleton found under the car park, is that of King Richard III.

  • Archaeologists in Richard III dig

    Jo Appleby, a lecturer in Human Bioarchaeology, at University of Leicester, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, who led the exhumation of the remains, during a dig at Leicester's Greyfriars car park, speaking at the university, as tests have established that a skeleton found under the car park, is that of King Richard III.

  • Archaeologists in Richard III dig

    University of Leicester lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, speaking at the University of Leicester Council Chamber building, as tests have established that a skeleton found under Greyfriars car park in Leicester is that of King Richard III.

  • Archaeologists in Richard III dig

    Jo Appleby, a lecturer in Human Bioarchaeology, at University of Leicester, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, who led the exhumation of the remains, during a dig at Leicester's Greyfriars car park, speaking at the university, as tests have established that a skeleton found under the car park, is that of King Richard III.

  • University Of Leicester Makes Announcement Following Discovery Of Human Remains Which Are Possibly King Richard III

    LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Dr Jo Appleby, Professor Lin Foxhall and Professor Kevin Schuerer attend a press conference at University Of Leicester as archaeologists announce whether the human remains found in Leicester are those of King Richard III on February 4, 2013 in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester has been carrying out scientific investigations on remains found in a car park to find out whether they are those of King Richard III since last September, when the skeleton was discovered in the foundations of Greyfriars Church, Leicester. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • University Of Leicester Makes Announcement Following Discovery Of Human Remains Which Are Possibly King Richard III

    LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, speaks at a press conference at the University Of Leicester as archaeologists announce whether the human remains found in Leicester are those of King Richard III on February 4, 2013 in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester has been carrying out scientific investigations on remains found in a car park to find out whether they are those of King Richard III since last September, when the skeleton was discovered in the foundations of Greyfriars Church, Leicester. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • University Of Leicester Makes Announcement Following Discovery Of Human Remains Which Are Possibly King Richard III

    LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, speaks at a press conference at the University Of Leicester as archaeologists announce whether the human remains found in Leicester are those of King Richard III on February 4, 2013 in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester has been carrying out scientific investigations on remains found in a car park to find out whether they are those of King Richard III since last September, when the skeleton was discovered in the foundations of Greyfriars Church, Leicester. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • University Of Leicester Makes Announcement Following Discovery Of Human Remains Which Are Possibly King Richard III

    LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: A general view of the human remains displayed on a television screen during a press conference at the University Of Leicester as archaeologists announce whether the human remains found in Leicester are those of King Richard III on February 4, 2013 in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester has been carrying out scientific investigations on remains found in a car park to find out whether they are those of King Richard III since last September, when the skeleton was discovered in the foundations of Greyfriars Church, Leicester. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • University Of Leicester Makes Announcement Following Discovery Of Human Remains Which Are Possibly King Richard III

    LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley (L), Dr Jo Appleby, Professor Lin Foxhall and Professor Kevin Schuerer attend a press conference at University Of Leicester as archaeologists announce whether the human remains found in Leicester are those of King Richard III on February 4, 2013 in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester has been carrying out scientific investigations on remains found in a car park to find out whether they are those of King Richard III since last September, when the skeleton was discovered in the foundations of Greyfriars Church, Leicester. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • University Of Leicester Makes Announcement Following Discovery Of Human Remains Which Are Possibly King Richard III

    LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, speaks at a press conference at the University Of Leicester as archaeologists announce whether the human remains found in Leicester are those of King Richard III on February 4, 2013 in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester has been carrying out scientific investigations on remains found in a car park to find out whether they are those of King Richard III since last September, when the skeleton was discovered in the foundations of Greyfriars Church, Leicester. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Archaeologists in Richard III dig

    Dr Turi King from Leicester University gives Michael Ibsen, a 17th generation great nephew of Richard III, a DNA swab at Greyfriars car park in Leicester during an archaeological search for the lost grave of Richard III.

  • Archaeologists in Richard III dig

    Claire Graham uses ground penetration radar (GPR) at Greyfriars car park in Leicester watched by actors dressed as Knights from Historic Equitation Ltd during an archaeological search for the lost grave of Richard III.

  • Archaeologists in Richard III dig

    File photo dated 24/8/2012 of Claire Graham using ground penetration radar (GPR) at Greyfriars car park in Leicester during an archaeological search for the lost grave of Richard III. Archaeologists searching for the lost grave of the medieval king have discovered human remains.

  • Archaeologists in Richard III dig

    Claire Graham uses ground penetration radar (GPR) at Greyfriars car park in Leicester during an archaeological search for the lost grave of Richard III.

  • University Of Leicester Makes Announcement Following Discovery Of Human Remains Which Are Possibly King Richard III

    LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Members of the media attend a press conference at University Of Leicester as archaeologists announce whether the human remains found in Leicester are those of King Richard III on February 4, 2013 in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester has been carrying out scientific investigations on remains found in a car park to find out whether they are those of King Richard III since last September, when the skeleton was discovered in the foundations of Greyfriars Church, Leicester. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)