Researchers in England confirmed this morning that the skeleton found underneath a Leicester car park is indeed that of Richard III, last Plantagenet king and the last king of the country to fall in battle.
“There were cheers when Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist on the hunt for the king’s body, finally announced that the university team was convinced "beyond reasonable doubt” that it had found the last Plantagenet king, bent by scoliosis of the spine, and twisted further to fit into a hastily dug hole in Grey Friars church, which was slightly too small to hold his body.“
—The Guardian UK
I’ve long been fascinated by Richard and the War of the Roses; Shakespeare’s smear job/propaganda piece Richard III is my favorite of all the Bard’s work. I also loved the Ian McKellen cinema version of the play from 1995, which set the play in a 1930s fascist setting.
But it was Sharon Kay Penman’s fictional alternative, The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III that captured my attention when it came out. It’s a portrait of the events, including the princes in the tower, done from Richard’s perspective, showing the perfidy of Henry Tudor and the Stanleys.
But now we have the real skeleton of the Last Plantagenet, curved spine and all and it’s a starting point towards separating reality from myth and truth from Tudor propaganda. Fascinating stuff.