Second burial for Richard's remains
Richard III is at last to be given a burial fit for a king after academics confirmed a skeleton found under a council car park was that of the last Plantagenet monarch.
The king will be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral next year after being discovered beneath a social services car park in Leicester last year.
Experts from the University of Leicester unearthed the monarch from the remains of the choir of the Grey Friars Church during a dig last September. Following extensive tests, the researchers revealed the skeleton was that of King Richard III to media from around the globe at a press conference at the university on Monday.
DNA from the skeleton was found to match that of two female-line descendants - Canadian-born Michael Ibsen, whose mother was a direct descendent of the king's sister Anne of York, and a second person, who has asked to remain anonymous.
The researchers said the king's skeleton was found in a grave which had been hastily dug and too short for him. Unusually the king was buried without a shroud or coffin and possibly with his hands still tied as archaeologists found him with his arms crossed across the front of his pelvis.
Consistent with historical accounts that he died following a blow to the head, 10 wounds were found on the skeleton, with eight injuries to his skull. The scientists at the University of Leicester concluded the king most likely died after a blow to the skull either from a sword or halberd.
In keeping with contemporaneous accounts of his curved back, the researchers found the skeleton had severe scoliosis, which would have left the king standing significantly shorter than his 5ft 8in frame. However, there was no trace of a withered arm or other abnormalities seen in the more extreme characterisations of the monarch.
Dr Jo Appleby, from the University's School of Archaeology and Ancient History, said: "The analysis of the skeleton proved that it was an adult male, but with an unusually slender, almost feminine, build for a man. This is in keeping with historical sources which describe Richard as being of very slender build. There is, however, no indication that he had a withered arm - both arms were of a similar size and both were used normally during life."
Few details of a reburial ceremony have been announced but David Monteith, Leicester Cathedral Canon Chancellor, said the remains would be re-interred early next year in a Christian-led but ecumenical service.
Philippa Langley, from the Richard III Society, said plans for a tomb were well advanced. Speaking of the findings, she said: "This has been an extraordinary journey of discovery. We came with a dream and that dream has been realised. This is an historic moment that will rewrite the history books. We're going to completely reassess Richard III, we're going to completely look at all the sources again and hopefully there's going to be a new beginning for Richard as well."