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Expert explains how bones revealed Richard III's diet

Fascinating new details about the lifestyle of Richard III have been revealed by a cutting edge study of the King's bones.

Experts from the British Geological Survey at Keyworth in Nottinghamshire carried out an isotope analysis on a tooth, a rib and a thigh bone to see how the monarch's lifestyle changed from childhood to becoming king,

Different bones develop and regenerate at different rates over time, and lock in information at different points in a person's life. Teeth develop in childhood and stay as they are, whereas ribs regenerate every two to three years.

Thereby the scientists were able to get a snapshot of King Richard III's diet at different stages in his lifetime. Here Dr Angela Lamb explains what they looked for in the bones to give them and idea what the king was eating.


Richard III's bones show car park king's lavish lifestyle

King Richard III's skeleton after being found underneath the council car park Credit: University of Leicester

Scientists have revealed previously unknown details about King Richard III's lifestyle after cutting edge research into his bones.

The joint work by the British Geological Survey in Keyworth in Nottingham and the University of Leicester, used a process called Isotope analysis, testing for chemical structures to give clues about where Richard III lived at certain times of his life, and the food he was eating at the time.

Richard III's skeleton in-situ during the excavation of the Greyfriar's car park Credit: University of Leicester

By looking at the teeth, a femur and a rib, the scientists saw a change in the king's diet from childhood, to when he would have eaten lavishly in later life after being crowned king..

Dr Angela Lamb, Isotope Geochemist and lead author of the paper said:

"The chemistry of Richard III's teeth and bones reveal changes in his geographical movements, diet and social status throughout his life."

– Dr Angela Lamb

The finding from the research will feature in a Channel 4 documentary tonight at 9pm.

Last Bosworth battle before Richard III's reburial

Archers during last year's reenactment Credit: ITV News Central

Today will be the last Battle of Bosworth reenactment before King Richard III will be reburied in Leicester.

This year marks the 529th anniversary of the famous battle which saw the death of Richard III and the birth of the all-powerful Tudor dynasty under a new king, Henry VII.

It was a mystery what happened to the king's remains after the battle, until in 2012 his bones were unearthed underneath a council car park in Leicester city centre attracting worldwide media attention.

His remains will now be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral in March 2015.

Richard Blunt, Leicestershire County Council's cabinet member for heritage, said:

"We've extended the battle arena this year as there has been a terrific demand from re-enactors to take part. It should be a spectacular sight as there's a lot more going on - but we've also frozen prices for another year."

– Richard Blunt, Leicestershire County Council

The reenactment will take place on today and tomorrow at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park, Sutton Cheney.


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Prince William waves at children in Coventry Credit: Stoke Primary School

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