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Feb 3, 2013, 11:28 am

The University of Leicester will hold a press conference tomorrow (Feb. 4) at 10:00 a.m. GMT to announce the results of the scientific testing on the human remains which may be those of Richard III.

That's 4:00 a.m. my time, which is way too early to catch the live streaming, but, gosh, this is exciting!

Feb 3, 2013, 11:33 am

SPOILER: It's him (otherwise they wouldn't have commissioned the documentary and the facial reconstruction model).

Feb 3, 2013, 11:38 am

Frankly, I've been convinced by the circumstantial evidence: the scoliosis, damage to the skeleton consistent with contemporary reports of the injuries to Richard, location of the body, etc. Coincidences certainly do happen, but that would be an awful lot of them!

Feb 3, 2013, 12:34 pm

Quite a streak recently. First, the discovery/identification of the real battlefield of Bosworth, then Richard's body. What next? The princes or the horse? The Tower looks tiny - viewed from the Shard. They should really start digging for some additional bones under the stairs.

BTW, I am a bit puzzled why RIII attracts so many groupies. England's other wronged kings (Richard II, James II, ...) must be quite miffed.

Feb 3, 2013, 1:33 pm

I expect that it's because his purported villainy is writ so much larger in the public imagination than that of other kings. Whatever the others are accused of doesn't reach the dramatic heights of killing your two little nephews in the Tower. And then there are the zillions of productions of Shakespeare's play. Sure, he wrote one about Richard II, too, but how often is that produced, compared to Richard III?

If you asked most people what they could tell you about Richard II or James II, they'd likely give you a blank stare. If you asked them about Richard III, they'd tell you a lot, accurate or no.

So there is, in effect, more to debunk, and, perhaps, more need to debunk, since so many more people have it wrong.

Feb 3, 2013, 2:37 pm

Don't have stats to support this, but in my own experience attending serious plays, RICHARD II seems to be at-least as popular as RICHARD III. In many ways it's vastly superior work, and has the distinct advantage -- from a producer or director's perspective -- of having a smaller cast, and less stage-business. As to other real stinkers, let's not be limited to our place and time. For centuries James II was held-up as the right scumbag he was, and just the other night I saw him portrayed in an admittedly partisan, but still rather accurate way on Turner Classic Movies. Furthermore, English popular culture -- and history books -- made much of his villainy as part of the tradition of "The Glorious Revolution" of 1688, which always got bigger press (till our time) than the Puritan Revolution, which is conceptually much harder for people to contend-with, even today. Up the rebels! And not just Henry Tudor, who turned-out to be quite a jerk in his own way.

Feb 4, 2013, 6:32 am

It is confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that the body found is Richard III. The scoliosis looks painful. The poor boy, his father and older brother dead when he was eight. Onset of scoliosis after the age of ten. The University of Leicester's special RIII website offers further information about the research findings and Richard III who is indeed to be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral.

Feb 4, 2013, 9:04 am

So I unexpectedly woke up shortly after 4:00 a.m. (I'm pretty sure the cat had something to do with that.) As I was up anyway, I watched the press conference. Very cool.

I do think one of my favorite bits was when they said they had identified another collateral descendant of Richard's, and were able to introduce Mr. Ibsen to a distant cousin he had not previously known he had.

Edited: Feb 4, 2013, 9:32 am

>8 lilithcat: Both gentlemen are the last of their lines. And so it goes.

Incidentally, I was still up at 4 am too. It had to do with sloppy power capacity management in certain parts of the world.

Feb 4, 2013, 9:48 am

Woke painfully early to hear the news - it's been asked why one king has attracted so many groupies - I believe it's because of the amount of bad press Richard III received at the hands of the Tudor historians. I don't think Richard II, Edward II had such a propaganda machine working against them. I know it's tantamount to heresy to villify Henry VIII, but when the marks are tallied up, who was actually the worst in terms of morality and ambition? It's never been proven that Richard had his nephews murdered - given his career up to that point, it seems out of character. I wouldn't put it past Buckingham or Margaret Beaufort, though....

Feb 4, 2013, 10:25 am

>10 EllenLEkstrom: I agree with everything you are saying...

Feb 4, 2013, 10:42 am

> 10

Yes, the greater and more widespread the lie, the greater the need to counter it.

Feb 4, 2013, 2:40 pm

Truly fascinating. Under a parking lot. Hic transit etc. etc.


Both gentlemen are the last of their lines. And so it goes.

Maybe not necessarily so, with today's technologies... and, er, assuming market interest in the lineage.

Feb 4, 2013, 2:42 pm

My daughter called me from Chicago to squeal about the news - she remembers the days when I was Vice-Chairman of the RIII Society here in America and loved looking at my many, many books on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III. I think she has my boar badge.

Feb 4, 2013, 3:14 pm

> 9

Both gentlemen are the last of their lines.

Do we know that? I know Mr. Ibsen is, but the other gentleman has requested anonymity, and the articles I've read make no mention, one way or the other, as to his having progeny.

Feb 4, 2013, 3:57 pm

I wonder, too, if Edward IV, didn't leave a few children behind other than those by Elizabeth Wydville Grey.

Feb 4, 2013, 3:59 pm

>15 lilithcat: I know nuthing, perhaps there are other descendants. During the presentation they said that they were lucky to have this opportunity now as the window of such analyses would close in the next generation, so we are talking about a last Mohicans scenario for their lines in particular, Lola's cloning efforts excepted. The genetic match reveal was one of the highlights of the presentation.

>14 EllenLEkstrom: Another little fact they obviously didn't want to highlight too much is that the dead "boar" was spit-roasted (given the Gaddafi treatment): "Cut on inside of pelvis. This was produced by a sharp weapon from behind. The angle of the blow suggests that this was caused by a weapon being thrust into the right buttock."

Feb 4, 2013, 8:25 pm

I'm sure after he was dead a lot of degrading things happened to the body...

Feb 4, 2013, 8:55 pm

I was surprised by how emotional this made me! I believe my best friend and I were the only Ricardians in our southern high school in the 1980s. (-:

Feb 5, 2013, 8:27 am

There's also a reconstruction of Richard III's face from the skull just been unveiled.

Feb 5, 2013, 8:50 am

>21 Mweb: The facial reconstruction hit the uncanny valley/creepy uncle territory. Kings are advised to tone down their use of rouge.

Feb 5, 2013, 9:54 am

>15 lilithcat: - 17

They were matching mitochondrial DNA which is inherited from your mother only. So for Mr. Ibsen at least it wouldn't matter if he had kids or not, his mitochondrial DNA dies with him. If the other person is also male, it's the same. Both of them are descended in a mother-to-daughter line from Richard III's mother.

Sorry, this has been annoying me for several months now - most of the articles I read seem to imply that it's "normal" DNA (from the nucleus) that was being tested. But 10+ generations on, it would be impossible to expect any sort of match.

Feb 5, 2013, 10:10 am


What you say is true, but not necessarily important. Mitochondrial DNA is a handy traceable marker, sufficient to imply a connection, but it doesn't mean in itself that it is the ONLY connection (shared genetic material) existing. Just because the rest may be difficult (or impossible) to identify, it doesn't mean that it isn't there.

And for many people, merely pinpointing a descendant of Richard's would be "totemic" enough for a lineage, whether any (identifiable) genetic material is actually shared by the historic Richard or not.

Feb 5, 2013, 10:52 am

>24 LolaWalser:

I'm only talking about the ability to actually do the DNA analysis they did. For that they needed a traceable marker, and mitochondrial DNA is handy though I understand they hope to do something similar with the Y-chromosome as well.

Apart from that, I agree, lineage isn't really about shared genetic material.

Feb 6, 2013, 5:41 pm

I had noticed that the DNA match was made on the female line and knew that procedure was because it comes down unaltered. I think that there is a book written about it called Seven Daughters of Eve. There are probably other descendents of that line but I know the team was working on a fast track time frame, and perhaps could have used others. My guess is that the just took the first two descendents who said yes. I am sure that there are people out there who said no to being part of this test, for one reason or another.

As to why the interest in Richard III over other villainous kings. I think it is because so much more is known about it. There were actual historians writing soon after his reign, while Richard II lived more than a century before that and not as much is known about him or his reign as papers and documents regarding that era are much harder to come by. Going back to John and Henry I and William Rufus is even harder.

Thanks for the links to the programs. I just have to find time to watch them.

Feb 8, 2013, 6:01 am

Am I the only person who found the Channel 4 programme disappointing? It seemed to be more about Philippa Langley than about Richard, and there was little about the DNA. What was worth watching could have been covered in a third of the time.
The press conference was more interesting .

Feb 8, 2013, 7:32 am

#27 Not me, I thought it was fascinating but, then again, my attitude to Richard is (or has been until now) a very casual one - for true Ricardians I suspect the programme covered a lot of stuff you/they already knew but this had necessarily to be aimed at a more general audience. To be honest, I'd quite like to see a bit more about Philippa Langley (in a separate programme) to give me some insight into her passion for this particular historical figure. It was quite hard for me to understand her very emotional response to everything that was discovered. I tried to imagine how I would feel if some similar kind of discovery were made about Anne Boleyn (my own historical passion) yet I somehow still couldn't see myself taking it all so personally. I guess it's different when you're actually there.