From car park to royal tomb: Ten stories from the discovery of Richard III

| 26 March 2015

As the last Plantagenet king is laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral, we take a look at the top ten stories since his 2012 discovery in a city car park

a photo of a skull
The skull of Richard III© University of Leicester


September 2012: The king in the car park

A photo of a crowd of people looking at an archaeological trench in an urban car park
© University of Leicester
An archaeological dig at a Leicester City Council car park reveals an intact skeleton, which had suffered “significant trauma” to the skull consistent with battle injuries, and had “spinal abnormalities” indicating severe scoliosis. Read the full story.


February 2013: DNA identifies Richard III

A photo of a skeleton from an archaeological dig in a pit next to a measuring stick
© University of Leicester
Having matched DNA from the skeleton with descendents of Richard III, experts prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that the skeleton is that of the King. Read the full story.


February 2013: Richard III's deathblows explored

a photo of a short metal stabbing and chopping weapon
© Royal Armouries
With the identity confirmed the scientific analysis of the skeleton opens the floodgates to a raft of theories about the life and death of the last Plantagenet king - beginning with this grisly narrative from the Royal Armouries about his violent demise at the Battle of Bosworth. Read the full story.


May 2013: Facial reconstruction heads out on tour

A photo of a recreated head of a medieval king against a red background
© Courtesy Richard III Society
A replica head of Richard III, revealed to the public in a Channel 4 documentary, heads off on a tour before being permanently housed at the new Richard III Visitor Centre planned for Leicester. Read the full story.


February 2014: Richard III genomes sequenced

A photo of a female scientists working in a laboratory while wearing a white coat
© University of Leicester
The Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester, sets about analysing the hair, eyes and genetic fallibilities of the king. Read the full story.


May 2014: Leicester beats off York claims for reinterment

A photo of a human skull
© University of Leicester
Feelings run high after a challenge by a group in York, including the Plantagenet Alliance and the king’s 16th great niece, tries to overturn the Ministry of Justice licence granted to the University of Leicester to lay the King to rest in Leicestershire. Read the full story.


June 2014: Leicester Cathedral reveals the tomb design

A photo of a design for a large square stone tomb with a cross-shaped cut in it
© van Heyningen and Haward Architects
A simple carved slab of Swaledale stone is revealed as Richard III’s sarcophagus-shaped tomb design. Beneath it an English oak coffin made by the king’s 16-times great-nephew will contain the king's remains - all sealed in a brick-lined vault beneath Leicester Cathedral. Read the full story.


August 2014: Forenics reveal prodigious alcohol intake

a photo of a man in armour next to an armoured horse
Dominic Smee helps scientists to see how Richard's scoliosis would have affected his ability to take part in combat© Steve Ryan / Channel 4 Televison
New forensic research on the skeleton of Richard III reveals his enormous intake of alcohol and rich food with an overall beer and wine consumption clocking in at a whopping two to three litres per day. Read the full story.


September 2014: Forensic evidence shows grisly sustained attack

a photo of the damaged skull of Richard III
© The Lancet
Richard III was flung on a horse and tossed to the ground before suffering fatal stab wounds to his head during his final desperate moments on Bosworth Field, according to new forensic findings. Read the full story.


March 2015: Richard III buried in Leicester Cathedral

a photo of a flag with a bore emblem fluttering on a flagpole
© Leciester University
Eighteen months after his discovery in a simple grave - the most scientifically investigated king in English history is laid to rest beneath a carved stone slab in Leicester Cathedral.

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