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By Michael Holden
LEICESTER, England Feb 4 British researchers
said on Monday that a skeleton with a cleaved skull and a curved
spine entombed under a car park was that of Richard III, solving
a 500-year-old mystery about the final resting place of the last
English king to die in battle.
Richard, depicted by William Shakespeare as a monstrous
tyrant who murdered two princes in the Tower of London, was
killed fighting his eventual successor Henry Tudor at the Battle
of Bosworth Field in central England in 1485.
A team of archaeologists and historians from the University
of Leicester said evidence showed that a skeleton found last
year during excavations of a medieval friary under a parking lot
in the city was indeed that of Richard.
After a detailed academic presentation detailing the life
and wounds of Richard III, the lead archaeologist on the
project, Richard Buckley, announced his conclusion to cheers and
"It's 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," Buckley said.
Academics said DNA taken from the body matched that of
Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born furniture maker in London who
genealogists said was the direct descendant of Richard's sister,
Anne of York.
The skeleton showed signs of injuries consistent with wounds
received in battle; a bladed implement appeared to have cleaved
part of the rear of the skull while a barbed metal arrowhead was
found between vertebrae of the skeleton's upper back.
While the findings may solve one riddle about Richard, the
last Plantagenet king of England remains a complex figure whose
life, made famous by Shakespeare's history play, deeply divides
opinion among historians in Britain and abroad.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Maria Golovnina)