King Richard III of England. Are the remains found under a car park in Leicester his?
In the city of Leicester, in central England, a group of archaeologists has been busy. They have been digging up a car park. Last week they announced that they had found a human skeleton. Of course, archaeologists often dig up human remains. Human bones can tell us interesting things about the past – what people ate, how tall they were, what diseases they suffered from, and how they died. The car park skeleton, however, is much more interesting. It is the skeleton of a man. He suffered from a deformed spine. He had a severe head injury, -and part of an arrow was found in his back. The bones may be those of King Richard III of England.
Richard was born in 1452 -and became king in 1483, after the death of his older brother Edward IV. The 15th century was a very troubled time in English history. There was almost constant civil war between powerful families who wanted to control the country. A few months after Edward’s death, his two sons – aged 12 -and 9 – disappeared. Many people are convinced that Richard ordered their deaths so that neither of them could ever challenge his position as king.
Richard was king for only two years. In 1485, Henry Tudor led a rebellion against him. Richard’s army was defeated at the battle of Bosworth, -and Richard himself was killed. (He was in fact the last English king to die in a battle. After him, English kings got other people to do the fighting and the dying for them!) His body was displayed in public for several days. Then it was taken and buried at Greyfriars Church in Leicester, which is quite close to the site of the battle. The victorious Henry Tudor became King Henry VII, -and he and his children and grandchildren ruled England for the next 120 years.
Grefriars Church disappeared in about 1540, when the king seiz