An international research team has confirmed today that the skeleton discovered under a car park in Leicester is the remains of King Richard III, closing what is probably the UK’s oldest forensic case.
Scientists carried out key parts of the analysis at the University of York and the research team included members of the Department of Biology at York.
Led by Dr Turi King, from the University of Leicester, the research which is published in Nature Communications, traced seven living relatives of Richard III – two by the female line and five by the male line.
The researchers collected DNA from Richard III’s living relatives and analysed several genetic markers, including the complete mitochondrial genomes, inherited through the maternal line, and Y-chromosomal markers, inherited through the paternal line, from both the skeletal remains and the living relatives.
While the Y-chromosomal markers differ, the mitochondrial genome shows a genetic match between the skeleton and the maternal line relatives.
The former result is not unsurprising as the chances for a false-paternity event is fairly high after so many generations.
This paper is also the first to carry out a statistical analysis of all the evidence together to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Skeleton 1 from the Greyfriars site in Leicester is indeed the remains of King Richard III.
The researchers also used genetic markers to determine hair and eye colour of Richard III and found that with probably blond hair and almost certainly blue eyes Richard III looked most similar to his depiction in one of the earliest portraits of him that survived, that in the Society of Antiquaries in London.
“Our paper covers all the genetic and genealogical analysis involved in the identification of the remains of Skeleton 1 from the Greyfriars site in Leicester and is the first to draw together all the strands of evidence to come to a conclusion about the identity of those remains.
"Even with our highly conservative analysis, the evidence is overwhelming that these are indeed the remains of King Richard III, thereby closing an over 500 year old missing person’s case.“
“It’s amazing how much we can deduce from ancient DNA today. Making inferences about hair or eye color of a person just from some DNA snippets obtained from a skeleton would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.”
“The University of York is immensely proud of its contribution to the Richard III project.
" These exciting results are testimony to the positive collaboration between two great historical cities associated with Richard - Leicester and York – and the crucial part they have played in identifying and commemorating England’s last Yorkist king.“
The body of King Richard III will be reburied at Leicester Cathedral next March, it has been announced today.
A reinterment service will take place at the cathedral on March 26 following a week of events in Leicestershire to honour the monarch.
The remains will be transferred into a lead-lined coffin at Leicester University on March 22 and will travel by hearse to Bosworth for a day of events marking the king's final movements.
The journey will see the hearse travel through villages that were significant to the monarch's final days ahead of a service in Bosworth.
The king, who reigned from 1483, was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485.
The coffin will then return to Leicester Cathedral in the early evening where a service of reception will be attended by guests invited by David Monteith, the Dean of Leicester.
The monarch's remains will then lie in repose, his coffin covered with a commissioned pall, for three days to allow for members of the public to pay their respects.
The reinterment service, which will also be invite only, will take place on Thursday March 26 with events following on the Friday and Saturday.
The reinterment service will be broadcast live on Channel 4.
Our cathedral has been consistently committed to providing a fitting, dignified and memorable ceremony or the reinterment of King Richard.
We can now see how this works out in detail and our city and county look forward to all the events of next spring.
The king's remains were unearthed from a council car park in Leicester in 2012 by archaeologists from the University of Leicester.
Descendents of the monarch in York had tried to fight the decision to reinter the remains in Leicester following the discovery.
The group, called The Plantagenet Alliance, had called for a consultation for the monarch to be buried in York and were granted a judicial review.
They lost their battle in May this year when judges at the High Court ruled that there was "no duty to consult" over the monarch's final resting place.
Just weeks after campaigners in York lost their legal fight for the remains of King Richard III to be buried in the city, details of his reinternment have been announced. It will take place at Leicester Cathedral and his coffin will be made by one of his descendants. Emma Wilkinson reports.
The budget for the reburial of King Richard III has been set out this morning, at an estimated £2.5 million.
The reinterment has been described as a 'major national event', and £1.4 million of the budget will be spent on the building work at Leicester Cathedral.
The new resting place for the last Plantagenet King has been designed by London-based designers Van Heyningen & Haward Architects, as part of their ongoing remodelling of the cathedral.
"This is a tomb which reflects the era in which it is designed as well as the solomn purpose for which it was commissioned. To do anything else would be a pastiche of a medieval tomb and would ignore the fact he is being reburied in the 21st century."
Dean of Leicester David Monteith
Richard's distant relatives - spearheaded by his 16th great niece - wanted his bones to return to York which they say is his spiritual home. High Court judges ruled against them last month.
Designs for a tomb to rebury Richard III in will be revealed today. The King's remains were found in Leicester and a group of descendants wanted him reinterred in York, but the high court ruled he would have to stay in the midlands.
Richard the Third - the last King of the House of York WILL be buried in Leicester where his remains were found beneath a car park.
Richard's distant relatives - spearheaded by his 16th great niece - want his bones to return to York which they say is his spiritual home.
Today High Court judges ruled against them - but the relatives are now considering a further appeal. Jon Hill reports:
The lawyer who spearheaded the unsuccessful bid to have Government permission for Richard III’s remains to be reburied in Leicester overturned has called the decision "regrettable".
Matthew Howarth said:
We obviously respect and accept today’s verdict, and are grateful to have had the opportunity to raise this matter before the courts, but are naturally disappointed at the decision, which we regard as highly regrettable. Also disappointed will be the many thousands of people who expressed the desire to have the decision as to where King Richard III’s remains should be reburied revisited.
We have, however, no regrets about fighting the case, which we can look back on with pride. My client is a not-for-profit entity and many people were amazed that we got as far as we did.
Yet the court, in its judgment today, recognised the case was one of broad public interest and our clients had standing to bring it as a public interest litigant – points resisted by the Ministry of Justice and university throughout.
Reacting to the High Court's decision to allow King Richard III's bones to be buried in
Leicester, York Outwood MP, Julian Sturdy said:
It is immensely frustrating that despite the unprecedented discovery of such a historically, politically and culturally significant monarch, the Ministry of Justice still refuses to listen to the public on such an important issue.
Over 60,000 people have signed petitions on where they think the reburial should take place and such strong public feeling should not be ignored.
Many of my own constituents believe they have been cheated out of the democratic and open debate that should have taken place over such an important chapter in our heritage.
It is only right and proper that King Richard should return to his home city of York, even if on a temporary basis, after spending the last 500 years under a car park in Leicester.
The people of Yorkshire deserve the chance to pay their final respects to the last Yorkist King, whose death brought about the end of one of the most brutal conflicts in our history.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has blasted Plantagenet Alliance, the group who fought to have Richard III buried in York, for wasting taxpayers money.
He said he was pleased with the High Court's decision to rebury the King's remains in Leicester, where they were found.
He added: "I am frustrated and angry that the Plantagenet Alliance - a group with tenuous claims to being relatives of Richard III - have taken up so much time and public money."
Descendants of the 'last medieval king of England' claim his last wish was to be buried at York Minster despite losing a High Court battle today.
The remains of the king, whose death in 1485 ended the Wars of the Roses, will be reburied in Leicester, where his remains were found in a car park in 2012.