In Leicester, England, a skeleton was found buried six feet beneath a parking lot in a makeshift grave. Five months after their discovery, the bones have been positively identified as those of King Richard III.
The New York Times reports that DNA samples matched those taken from two living descendants of Richard III. A hole in the skull supports contemporary accounts of the king’s violent death on the battlefield over 500 years ago. Radiocarbon dating, the location of the skeleton and curvature of the spine, indicating that the person suffered from scoliosis, all supported claims that it was indeed the skeleton of the monarch.
Richard III has been famously immortalized by Shakespeare’s play, which depicts the king as a evil old schemer whose death opened the door for the glories of Tudor and Elizabethan England. The most famous film version of the play stars Laurence Olivier in the title role, although Richard III died at 32 he is often played by much older actors. Sir Ian McKellen (pictured above), Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Spacey, and Al Pacino have also played the king onstage and in film. Shakespeare’s lines uttered by and about Richard III have been referenced in The King’s Speech, Being John Malkovich, and the Queen song “Lily of the Valley.”
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