A comparison between DNA taken from King Richard’s remains and samples from five living relatives shows that somewhere along the male line, dating back more than 500 years, there was at least one ‘false paternity event’, an illegitimate child born to the wife of a king. The discovery could potentially undermine either Richard III’s claim to the throne or the claim of Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty. The break occurred somewhere along the male line linking Richard III and Henry Somerset, the fifth Duke of Beaufort, who died in 1803. As Richard III had no grandchildren, scientists had to trace the paternal line backwards to Edward III, who died in 1377, and work forward to the present day through the ancestral line of the Houses of Lancaster and Tudor. At least one of the 19 men in the chain was illegitimate and historians say the prime suspects are Richard, Earl of Cambridge who was Richard III’s paternal grandfather, and John of Gaunt, whose ancestral line led to Henry VIII and the Tudors.
Scientists use modern forensic analysis to discover King Richard III suffered 11 injuries – nine to his skull and two elsewhere on his body, including his pelvis, that may have been caused by being thrown over the back of a horse. Professor Guy Rutty says
The most likely injuries to have caused the king’s death are the two to the inferior aspect of the skull — a large sharp force trauma possibly from a sword or staff weapon, such as a halberd or bill, and a penetrating injury from the tip of an edged weapon.
The King Richard III Visitor Center opens in Leicester, England, at the site of his first grave. Visitors can see the story of his rise to power and how his defeat at Bosworth marked the beginning of the Tudor dynasty, along with a 3D replica of his bones. Center director Iain Gordon says:
We are looking forward to welcoming people from Leicester, and from all over the world, to learn more about the dramatic story of the king’s life, his brutal death at Bosworth Battlefield and the compelling story of his rediscovery.
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