This is the most tremendous news ever, though I'm not holding my breath. Not long ago one historian claimed he had found the exact location of Bosworth Field, and the cynics have scoffed at this. I've written two books about this period, both waiting for publication, and my extensive research point to the fact that though Richard WAS buried here, some years later his grave was opened and his remains tipped into the Soar. It could of course be Tudor propaganda, and I suppose if they do find him, the first quesion which will be asked will be if he really was a hunchback who ate live frogs. Nonsense, of course, spun by the Hollingshed, the Rupert Murdoch of his day. Also, I foresee a certain bunch of loonies saying to themselves, 'If they can find Richard III after all this time, there's hope for us.' Watch out for the notice some time in 2507, and please give generously while worshiping at the shrine of Saint Shammy. Richard III remains the most maligned monarch on history, the victm of a huge political/media smear campaign. His name may never be cleared, but it would be nice if he could be found, and given a Christian burial.
Is this the lost grave of King Richard III? Archaeologists dig under council car park for monarch killed in Battle of Bosworth
- Dig hopes to uncover the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as Greyfriars
- If remains are found, they will undergo DNA analysis at the University of Leicester to confirm that they are those of Richard III
The earliest surviving portrait of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral. Archaeologists are hoping to find his grave under a council car park in Leicester.
In what is believed to be the first-ever archaeological search for the lost grave of an anointed King of England, experts from the University of Leicester are set to
It is thought the site of the church may be on land currently being used as a car park for council offices in the city.
King Richard III, the last Plantagenet, ruled England from 1483 until he was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
The most famous battle of the War of the Roses was fought on August 22, 1485, and famously saw the death of Richard III.
The battle ended decades of civil war and was won by the Lancastrians.
It paved the way for Henry Tudor to become the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty.
The battle also inspired the scene from Shakespeare's play Richard III when the defeated hunchback king declares: 'A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse'.
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Archaeologists prepare for the dig at Greyfriars car park in Leicester watched by actors dressed as Knights from Historic Equitation Ltd during an archaeological search for the lost grave of Richard III.
However, debate has raged for centuries over the exact location of the battlefield.
It is believed his body was stripped and despoiled and brought to Leicester, where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as Greyfriars.
Claire Graham uses ground penetration radar (GPR) at Greyfriars car park in Leicester as the search for Richard IIIs remains gets underway
Experts are hoping to dispel the rumours and uncover the site of the church and the monarch's remains.
In a field behind Fenn Lane Farm near Leicester, the treeline marks the spot where Richard III is believed to have been killed in battle.
SHAKESPEARE'S TYRANT KING
The 69p stamp featuring Richard IIIBorn in 1452, Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field.
According to another tale, Richard consulted a seer in Leicester before the battle who foretold that 'where your spur should strike on the ride into battle, your head shall be broken on the return'.
On the ride into battle his spur struck the bridge stone of the Bow Bridge; legend has it that, as his corpse was being carried from the battle over the back of a horse, his head struck the same stone and was broken
Richard III was the last English king to be killed in battle
He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty.
Although Richard III has gone down in history as a monstrous tyrant with a hunchback and a withered arm, most historians now
'Although in many ways finding the remains of the king is a long shot, it is a challenge we shall undertake enthusiastically.
'There is certainly potential for the discovery of burials within the area, based on previous discoveries and the postulated position of the church.'
If remains are found, they will undergo DNA analysis at the university to confirm that they are those of Richard III.
The Richard III Society, which promotes research into the medieval monarch, has been involved in the project.
Philippa Langley, from the society, said: 'This search for Richard's grave is only one aspect of the ongoing research effort to discover the real Richard III.
'After his defeat his reputation suffered enormous disparagement at the hands of his opponents and successors, the Tudors.
'The challenge lies in uncovering the truth behind the myths.
'Richard III is a charismatic figure who attracts tremendous interest.
Partly because he has been so much maligned in past centuries and partly because he occupies a pivotal place in English history.'
The continuing interest in Richard means that many fables have grown up around his grave.
Although local people like Alderman Herrick in 1612 knew precisely where he was buried - and Herrick was able to show visitors a handsome stone pillar marking the king's grave in his garden - nevertheless at the same time unlikely stories were spread of Richard's bones being dug up and thrown into the river Soar.
The Chiddingly Boar, medieval silver-gilt livery badge of Richard III, helped researchers pinpoint the location of the battle of Bosworth when is was found in east Sussex in 1999
Archaeologist Dr Glenn Foard shows today how the badge of the boar led them to pinpoint the battlefield and where the king fell. 'This is almost certainly from a knight in Richard's retinue, who rode with him to his death on that last charge,' he said
'This archaeological work offers a golden opportunity to learn more about medieval Leicester as well as about Richard III's last resting place - and, if he is found, to re-inter his remains with proper solemnity in Leicester Cathedral.'
The key to locating the Battle of Bosworth was a hoard of medieval weapons found in the field where it occured, including the silver white boar badge believed to have been carried by one of Richard's trusted knights.
Evidence such as cannon balls - now the largest collection of that date in Europe - and pieces of armour have been used to confirm the site.
A 16th-century historian recorded that Richard was 'killed fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies'.
Furthermore that he died fighting to the last, not calling out 'A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse', as Shakespeare claimed, but, in the words of a near-contemporary chronicler: 'Treachery, treachery, treachery.'
University lecturer Carl Dawson discovered the badge next to a medieval marsh which experts say was the exact location Richard was dragged from his horse and killed.
A flag and memorial stone mark Richard's Field, just northwest of Ambion Hill
Memorial: The plaque at the place where Richard is believed to have been killed
Researchers also found 22 lead shots fired by hand-held guns and from the largest cannon used during the battle.
But it was the silver white boar badge - an emblem of Richard III - which proved to be the key in pin-pointing the battlefield.
Measuring just 1.5in the badge would almost certainly have been worn by the king's knights during his last.stand.
Archaeologist Dr Glenn Foard, who led the search for the battlefield, said: 'If we were looking for any artefact at all and if there's any location we might want to find that artefact, then it's the white boar badge of Richard III next to the marsh.
'This is almost certainly from a knight in Richard's retinue, who rode with him to his death on that last charge.'
The Battle of Bosworth Visitor Centre, which is a mile away from Fenn Lane Farm, will remain where it is but will lead vistors on a new trail to the battlefield.
Richard McKinder, operations manager for the centre, said: 'A lot of American battlefields have had to move their interpretation centres because they are actually destroying what they are trying to interpret.
'We are within walking distance of the battlefield therefore they can use us as the main area for interpretation and then go and see the field itself.
VIDEO: Hear from an archeology expert on the search for Richard III...
THE DECISIVE BATTLE IN THE WAR OF THE ROSES
A depiction of the carnage during the Battle of Bosworth Field by 18th century painter Philip James de Loutherbourg (1740-1812)
One of the most important clashes in English history, it saw the death of Richard III, ushered in the Tudor dynasty and gave Shakespeare one of his best known quotations.
The leading role has been played by Laurence Olivier and Sir Ian McKellen, and the battle has also been immortalised in many artworks.
The seeds of Richard's downfall were sown when he seized the throne from his 12-year-old nephew Edward V in 1483.
Support for the monarch was further diminished when Edward and his younger brother disappeared and Richard was involved in the death of his wife. Henry laid claim to the throne from across the Channel.
Following an unsuccessful attempt to invade England from his base in France, Henry arrived on the coast of Wales on August 1, 1485.
Gathering support as he marched inland, Richard hurriedly mustered troops and intercepted Henry's army south of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire.
After Richard's death on the battlefield his rival was crowned King Henry VII and became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty, which lasted until 1603.
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