, 1st cousin 24 times removed to my children, was King of England from 1483 to 1485, yet is most widely known in our time as the scandalous title character of the play ‘Richard III’ by William Shakespeare. His reign ended upon his death in the Battle of Bosworth Field.
Richard’s checkered past before becoming King included becoming Duke of Gloucester on November 1, 1461. He was then appointed Admiral of England, Ireland and Aquitaine on October 12, 1462 and made Constable of England October 17, 1469. Besides suspicion over the disappearance of the princes, his reputation as a scoundrel was cemented by suspicion of his participation in the murder of Edward Prince of Wales, whose widow he married, as well as becoming Great Chamberlain of England in succession to his brother George, Duke of Clarence on February 21, 1478, the same day he was murdered.
Upon the death of Richard’s brother Edward, Richard became Lord Protector of the Realm for the heir apparent, Edward’s 12 year old son King Edward V. Richard escorted Edward V to the Tower of London, where he was placed, to be joined later by his brother Richard. Before young King Edward was crowned, Edward IV’s marriage to the boys’ mother Elizabeth Woodville was declared invalid, illegitimizing the children, negating their claim to the throne and making Richard III the heir to the throne. Princes Edward and Richard disappeared and accusations soon arose that Richard had the boys killed.
Richard married (Westminster Abbey 12 Jul 1472) as her second husband, Anne Neville, widow of Edward, Prince of Wales, and daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and Anne Beauchamp.
Accounts of the time describe Richard as having a condition of the spine causing his right shoulder to be considerably higher than his left. This condition is now widely believed to have been scoliosis, an exaggerated curvature of the spine that can be severe and debilitating.
Based on the accounts of Richard’s physical disability and the fatal injuries he sustained in the battle now lead archaelogists to believe they have unearthed the grave of Richard III.
This grave existed under a parking lot on the grounds originally belonging to Greyfriars Abbey in Leicester, the church where Richard was supposedly buried. The bones show evidence of similar wounds and a spinal condition similar to what has been described. As optimistic as archaelogists are, they are seeking to prove his identity by performing a DNA test on a living, direct ancestor to Richard’s sister.
I’m hoping there will be some way the DNA information from this testing will be made available for others like my husband and children to compare to in an effort to prove our own connection.
- Foundation for Medieval Genealogy; http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLAND,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm#_Toc321390527
- Wikipedia.org; http://www.wikipedia.org
- Kings and Queens of England – The Plantagenets, The Royal Family online; http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page58.asp.
- Kings and Queens of England – The Yorkists, The Royal Family online; http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page47.asp.