Bones of a King

Royal Skeleton Under Parking Lot
May Force England to Revise its Past

The remains of one of England’s most vilified sovereigns have been positively ID’d as belonging to Richard III, who ruled from 1483 until he was bludgeoned to death in the 1485 Battle of Bosworth. But his particularly gruesome demise wasn’t the last indignity he suffered.
His almost complete skeleton caused an international stir when it was uncovered, buried under a prosaic parking lot in Leicester, and DNA tests only confirmed what many already suspected. Now starts an even more daunting quest: to restore his battered reputation.
It won’t be easy. After all, when he lost his life and crown as the last Plantagenet king, bringing the famed Wars of the Roses to a conclusion, he and his kin were replaced by the Tudors, who dominated and literally rewrote the U.K.’s history to suit their political interests.
Besides history, Richard III had also a circumstantial but powerful foe, to conspire against his legacy: William Shakespeare, who wrote a play with his name that rivals the historical record, and who, according to many, was himself not unfamiliar with the convenience of creating new identities.
Shakespeare helped to consolidate Richard’s image as a cruel and blood-thirsty despot, with a physical deformity to match his sadistic reputation. Left unsaid is the fact that such a well constructed composite would suit well the ruling Tudors’ aim at winning hearts and minds during the bard’s time.
There’s now a big discussion in England on how to go about restoring King Richard’s true place in history, more in synch with our own times Continue reading