Apparently Richard III is the only English monarch with no known resting place. Well, that could all change very soon. Leicester University are leading an archeological search for the bones of Richard III under a council car park – thought to be the site of the old Greyfriars Church. The church was demolished by that jolly Tudor monarch, Henry VIII, after he broke with Rome to get a divorce and top up his own coffers with the church’s wealth.
I’m not getting my hopes up, I’ve seen enough episodes of Time Team, back in the day, to know it’s unlikely anything will be found – and even if something is found, proving beyond all doubt these really are the bones of the last Plantagenet king, Richard III is going to be tricky.
There is of course the old rumour that his body was thrown into the River Soar, during the ransacking of the church, by an unknown rabble – apparently a body was found when they drained the river, I don’t know what happened to these remains – so if anyone knows, feel free to comment.
Richard III’s demise was particularly gruesome. Having been betrayed by those he expected to aid him, and literally stabbed in the back by others, he was stripped naked, flung on his back over a horse and paraded through the town. Finally he was taken to the church to be put on display for three days. Unlike the portrayals in Shakespearean plays, he was not an old hunchback but a strong, 32 year old soldier.
- Archaeologists begin dig to uncover grave of Richard III (independent.co.uk)
- Richard III’s remains could lie under Leicester car park, archaeologists say (guardian.co.uk)