Richard III: Ancestor Michael Ibsen reveals life-changing moment
The 17th great grandnephew of Richard III said the heart-stopping moment he came face to face with his regal ancestor for the first time was "too amazing for words".
Yesterday morning, Canadian-born furniture maker Michael Ibsen was shown the fragile remains of his distant relative – an encounter which made a huge impression.
"I thought, 'This is Richard III I'm standing next to – Richard III. This isn't a Madame Tussaud's waxwork'," he said.
"Then to think there's part of me in this man lying in front of me – it was too amazing for words."
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It was only on Sunday that Michael was finally given confirmation he was a direct descendant of the last Plantagenet monarch.
He was taken into a small, private room at the University of Leicester by geneticist Dr Turi King and genealogist Professor Kevin Schurer, and told he was descended from royalty.
"It's the sort of thing which will take quite a while to digest," said Michael, who runs a furniture shop in London.
When the DNA results were confirmed to the 55-year-old, he was also given another piece of life-changing news.
The university had found a second relative of Richard III, who was also one of Michael's distant cousins.
"From the start, this has been exciting," he said, "but it just seems to get more unbelievable.
"When Turi said the DNA was a perfect match between Richard and I, it was quite a moment.
"The best I had hoped for was a percentage match – so to be so positive just blew me away. Then to find out I had a relative was great, although Kevin said it was a very distant link."
City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby was one of the speakers at the Richard III press conference yesterday, when the news of the king's discovery was unveiled to the world.
Sir Peter confirmed there were plans to reinter the body of the medieval monarch at Leicester Cathedral – a subject which has caused debate since the very beginning of the project.
Many believe the body should be laid to rest in York, as the king spent most of his youth living in North Yorkshire. However, Michael has backed Sir Peter's call to keep the bones in Leicester.
He said: "Leicester Cathedral would have been my choice.
"I was invited to speak on Radio York not long ago and they kept asking me about it and trying to get me to say he should be buried in York.
"But he died here, he was buried here and Leicester has looked after him, in a sense, for all this time."