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History

King Richard III remains found in England's Leicester

Scientists have said that they have found the skeleton of England’s King Richard III under a parking lot in Leicester. Most notably depicted as a villian by playwright William Shakespeare, Richard was killed in 1485.

The University of Leicester confirmed on Monday that the DNA from the 500-year-old skeleton, matched a 17th-generation descendant of the king's sister, Anne of York.

"It is the academic conclusion of the University of Leicester that, beyond reasonable doubt, the individual exhumed at Greyfriars in September 2012, is indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England," lead archaeologist Richard Buckley said at a press conference, referring to the name of his family line.

Video: Richard III skeleton found

Richard was most notably depicted by William Shakespeare as a murderous tyrant who killed his two princely nephews in order to reach the throne, painting him as one of history's most notorious villains.

However, Shakespeare's depictions deeply divide opinion among historians in Britain and abroad who say that image is unfair and that Richard's reputation was smeared by the Tudors who succeeded him.

Richard was killed fighting the army of Henry Tudor, his eventual successor, at the Battle of Bosworth Field in central England in 1485. For centuries, the location of his body remained unknown, until last September when researchers searching for Richard's remains found the body while excavating under a parking lot.

The mayor of Leicester, Peter Soulsby, said the monarch would be interred in the city's cathedral, the nearest consecrated ground to the excavation, which is in keeping with archaeological practice.                        

The scientists said that the skeleton showed signs of trauma to the head and wounds were found on other parts of the body, which occurred at or around time of death. The remains also showed signs of scoliosis, which is consistent with contemporary descriptions of Richard as having a spinal curvature.

hc/pfd (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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