Body found under parking lot is King Richard III, scientists prove

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NEW: DNA evidence says remains found under parking lot are those of Richard III

Archaeologists found the body of a man buried beneath a car park in Leicester last year

DNA tests confirm "beyond reasonable doubt" the identity of the bones

Supporters of Richard III hope the discovery will mean history has to be rewritten

DNA tests have confirmed that human remains found buried beneath an English car park are those of the country’s King Richard III.

British scientists announced Monday they are convinced “beyond reasonable doubt” that a skeleton found during an archaeological dig in Leicester, central England, last August is that of the former king, who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

Mitochondrial DNA extracted from the bones was matched to Michael Ibsen, a Canadian cabinetmaker and direct descendant of Richard III’s sister, Anne of York, and a second distant relative, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Experts say other evidence – including battle wounds and signs of scoliosis, or curvature of the spine – found during the search and the more than four months of tests since strongly support the DNA findings – and suggest that history’s view of the king as a hunchbacked villain may have to be rewritten.

Ibsen said he reacted with “stunned silence” when told the closely-guarded results. “I never thought I’d be a match, and certainly not that it would be so close, but the results look like a carbon copy,” he told reporters.

The skeleton was discovered buried among the remains of what was once the city’s Greyfriars friary. After centuries of demolition and rebuilding work, the grave’s exact location had been lost to history, and there were even reports that the defeated monarch’s body had been dug up and thrown into a nearby river.

Read more: Richard III: The king and the car park?

Who was Richard III?

Who was Richard III?

  • Richard III was the last Plantagenet king of England, and the last English king to die in battle.
  • Born on October 2, 1452, he grew up during the bitter and bloody Wars of the Roses, which pitted two aristocratic dynasties, the House of York and the House of Lancaster, against each other in a fight for the throne.
  • The wars, which took their name from the families’ symbols, a red rose for Lancaster and a white rose for York, were fought between 1455 and 1485.
  • While Richard was still a child, they led to the deaths of his father, the Duke of York, and his brother Edmund, and forced him into exile.
  • As the youngest son, Richard was never expected to become king, and instead spent many years as a nobleman, apparently intent on founding his own dynasty. His brother Edward became king in 1461, and Richard proved a loyal supporter.
  • “Shakespeare paints a picture of Richard as a scheming, plotting villain always aiming for the throne, but if that was the case, why didn’t he kill the king?” says historian John Ashdown Hill, author of “The Last Days of Richard III.”
  • “That would have been the easiest way, but he served his brother loyally for over 20 years.”
  • When Edward IV died unexpectedly in 1483, he was succeeded by his 12-year-old son, Edward V, with Richa