Richard III: It's him! Skeleton in Leicester car park confirmed as king's
The skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of Richard III.
More than 140 journalists, film crew and photographers from around the world packed out the Council Chamber at the University of Leicester today to hear the monumental news.
The honour of announcing the find to the world fell to lead archaeologist Richard Buckley.
He said: "It has been a privilege for all of us to be at the centre of an academic project that has had such phenomenal global interest and mass public appeal.
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"Rarely have the conclusions of academic research been so eagerly awaited.
"Ladies and Gentlemen. It is the academic conclusion of the University of Leicester that the individual exhumed at Grey Friars, Leicester, in August 2012, is indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England."
Reporters representing some of the biggest news organisations in the world, including the New York Times, CNN and Al Jazeera, listened as members of the project team described the collection of evidence which had cemented their conclusion and finally identified the Greyfriars remains as those of the 15th century Plantagenet king.
The press pack was told how evidence from the dig was used in conjunction with DNA, genealogy, carbon dating and other scientific methods to confirm the identity of Richard III beyond any doubt.
News of a second anonymous descendant was also revealed, as were theories about how the king died and how he was buried.
Osteoarchaeologist Dr Jo Appleby explained a series of "humiliation injuries" suffered by Richard III after his death. They included a dagger mark on his ribcage and a sword wound on the inside of the pelvis from a violent injury to his right buttock.
She said: "This injury was caused by a thrust through the right buttock, not far from the midline of the body.
"These two wounds are also likely to have been inflicted after armour had been removed from the body. This leads us to speculate that they may also represent post-mortem humiliation injuries inflicted on this individual after death."
Historical accounts report that Richard's body was stripped bare, thrown over the back of a horse and led back to Leicester to have his body displayed in public following his defeat at Bosworth Field.
Academics believed that the "humiliation injuries" might have happened at this time.
Dr Appleby, who exhumed the remains, from the buried Franciscan friary in New Street, in September, also revealed that the skeleton had feminine features, but no evidence of a withered arm - a characteristic made famous by William Shakespeare in his play about the medieval monarch.
She 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."
Journalists were then allowed to see the remains of Richard III before interviewing members of the project team and Richard's distant descendant, Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born furniture maker living in London.
See TOMORROW'S LEICESTER MERCURY for 12 pages of in-depth reports and analysis from the day's events.