Remains found in a Leicester parking lot are indeed those of King Richard III. Scientists cite “overwhelming evidence” the skeleton discovered in 2012 is England’s King Richard III.
In the study, published in Nature Communications, researchers compared DNA from the skeleton to living relatives. DNA data identifying eye and hair color was also analyzed and compared with known portraits of the king.
In a statement, lead researcher Dr Turi King said, “Our paper covers all the genetic and genealogical analysis involved in the identification of the remains of Skeleton 1 from the Greyfriars site in Leicester and is the first to draw together all the strands of evidence to come to a conclusion about the identity of those remains. Even with our highly conservative analysis, the evidence is overwhelming that these are indeed the remains of King Richard III, thereby closing an over 500 year old missing person’s case.”
King Richard III was the last English Monarch to die on the field of battle. He fell at the Battle of Bosworth, the last battle of the Wars of the Roses in 1485.
Professor Kevin Schürer led the genealogical research part of the study. Their findings yielded a surprise.
“The combination of evidence confirms the remains as those of Richard III. Especially important is the triangulation of the maternal line descendants. The break in the Y-chromosome line is not overly surprising given the incidence of non-paternity, but does pose interesting speculative questions over succession as a result,” Schürer said.
Check out the video below for a more in-depth look at the DNA analysis of Richard III’s remains.
National Geographic reports researchers found five men living today paternally descended from John of Gaunt, Richard III’s great uncle. Researchers expected to find the same Y chromosome in all six men thanks to a more recent ancestor, the fifth Duke of Beaufort. But, they didn’t.
The Y chromosome discovery doesn’t impact the veracity of the remains, but does have historical implications. It could mean that kings such as Henry V and even the Tudor line including Elizabeth I and Henry VIII did not have genetic claim to the throne. The exact break in paternity isn’t known and will need to be studied more.
As for today’s England royalty, they descend from a different family line.
Image credit: University of Leicester