The king who turned up under a car park

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Killed in battle in 1485, the life of King Richard III could easily have remained confined to the history books if it weren’t for the somewhat lowly discovery of his skeleton in a Leicester car park in 2012.

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After extensive examination scientists and historians managed to shed light on the monarch’s DNA, diet and death. Uncovering a mitochondrial DNA match between him and two living relatives provided the final proof that the remains were of royal descendant. Isotopes within his teeth also indicated additional evidence that he ate and drank abundantly.

Supporting Shakespeare’s reference to Richard’s being a hunchback, a model of the skeleton revealed that Richard may have had an abnormal curvature of his spine during adolescence.

The fatal blow that killed the king sparked much debate, yet the eagerly awaited autopsy suggested he died almost instantly following a series of blows to the head on the battlefield.

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Words by Flora Hackett