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  1. ITV Report

Study: Richard III 'was driven to drink' after becoming king

The pressures of power drove King Richard III to drink, according to new evidence uncovered in a documentary about the medieval monarch.

A reconstruction of what Richard III may have looked like. Credit: PA

Researchers who carried out tests on his skeleton after it was unearthed from a council car park in Leicester in 2012, were able to reveal details about his diet and even where he lived at different parts of his life.

The team, whose work was filmed for a new Channel 4 documentary about the doomed king, analysed his bones and teeth.

The research showed his drinking habits changed significantly around the time he became king in 1483 and that during the last three years of his life he consumed about a bottle of wine a day.

His diet also changed at the same time and included exotic meat including swan, crane, heron and egret.

Dr Angela Lamb, isotope geochemist and lead author of the paper, said: "The chemistry of Richard III's teeth and bones reveals fascinating changes in his geographical movements, diet and social status throughout his life."

Richard's diet when he was king was far richer than that of other equivalent high status individuals in the late medieval period. We know he was banqueting a lot more, there was a lot of wine indicated at those banquets and tying all that together with the bone chemistry it looks like this feasting had quite an impact on his body in the last few years of his life.

– Angela Lamb

The study by the British Geological Survey, in association with researchers at the University of Leicester, is published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.