Richard III: How the vital DNA evidence came together
Geneticist Dr Turi King spent the past few days of her research in hiding. The University of Leicester academic, charged with one of the most talked-about DNA tests of recent times, was on a total media black-out.
To everybody except the Mercury, of course.
In the days leading up to the biggest announcement of her career, Dr King had buried herself away in the university's audio-visual suite to escape reporters and the multitudes of people who wanted to know how the work was going as she feverishly tried to finish the DNA sequencing.
"I've been in hiding," she told reporter Peter Warzynski.
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"There are just too many people asking about the results – and I can't discuss it."
So Dr King cut herself off from the world. She took her laptop and settled down to work in one corner of the soundproof studio.
"It's so quiet, I love it," she said.
When a number she did not know flashed up on her phone, she ignored it.
"I'm not answering any numbers I don't know."
There was still work to do. The press conference was five days away and the DNA results had not yet been verified.
The final DNA sequences taken from the remains had to be arranged and matched against those of Richard's descendant, Michael Ibsen.
"Ancient DNA is hard to work with because it's degraded," said Dr King.
Then she explained in very technical terms why it was so hard and I nodded knowingly, not wanting to give away the fact I was bewildered.
She said a second line of descent had also been discovered which matched exactly with Mr Ibsen's genetic fingerprint and that boosted the accuracy of the identification.
The anonymous ancestor was tracked down by Dr King's colleague Professor Kevin Schurer.
He traced the female line through mitochondrial DNA, which is only passed from mother to daughter, extracted from the skeleton's teeth and femur.
Prof Schurer said: "I got really excited at one point when we traced the female line to a person in America but, unfortunately, that person had died five years ago.
"Then we found another line and it all seemed to check out and this person was still alive, so I started the process of finding them."
Locating the relative was only half the battle, said Prof Schurer.
"They were very reluctant and even after talking to them for hours and discussing the project, they were hesitant – so we met up again and they agreed. Now they're very excited about the whole thing."
The second sample was tested against that of Mr Ibsen and found to be a perfect match.
Prof Schurer said: "The sequences didn't just overlap, they matched exactly – it was very exciting.
"It strengthens the testing because we had a second source to test both the skeleton's and Michael's samples.
"If they all matched then it meant the evidence was more compelling."
As well as using mitochondrial DNA, Dr King is also working to type the Y chromosome of the remains – which is much harder as this has degraded after hundreds of years underground and is not found in the same quantity as mitochondrial DNA.
This would open up a new avenue of potential relatives as it is only passed down through the males.
Dr King was keen to explore as many links as possible and again enlisted the help of Prof Schurer.
The hunt for male descendants of the king uncovered more than 20 ancestors, who were spread throughout the globe – and included people in Australia and South Africa.
"They basically turned up in all the British colonies," said Prof Schurer. "We knew that there would be one or two on the male line, but even I was a little surprised with how many we actually got."
Dr King is now looking at four samples from people who agreed to take part in the study.
The results were not used in her final conclusion regarding Richard III, as more work is still needed.
"The study isn't over," she said. "There's still more work to be done, but at least the big part is out of the way.
"This has been the most stressful and the most exciting project I've ever been part of."
I wished her luck and she returned to her hiding place.