Scientists to reveal if skeleton belongs to King Richard III
This undated University of Leicester handout photo of a stone frieze, which may have been from a choir stall, which was discovered during an excavation of the car park behind council offices in Leicester, made available Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. Archaeologists searching under the city center car park for the lost grave of Britain's King Richard III have discovered human remains. (AP / University of Leicester)
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, February 3, 2013 2:32PM EST
TORONTO -- A historical mystery could soon be resolved, with the help of a Canadian family.
Scientists on Monday will announce the results of tests meant to determine whether a skeleton found under a parking lot in central England belongs to 15th-century King Richard III, the last English monarch to die in combat.
Researchers at the University of Leicester have analyzed the bones, which were discovered during an archeological dig in September.
The skeleton showed signs of Richard's famed spinal curvature and of fatal battle wounds.
Scientists compared its DNA with samples taken from a Canadian family that is a direct descendant of Anne of York, Richard's eldest sister.
Jeff Ibsen says he was warned long ago that his family might be called upon if the king's burying place was ever discovered.
Archaeologists had long sought the monarch's grave, which had been the subject of speculation for centuries.
The University of Leicester refuses to speculate on what Monday's announcement will say.
But archaeologists, historians and local tourism officials are all hoping for confirmation that the monarch's long-lost remains have been located.
So are the king's fans in the Richard III Society, set up to re-evaluate the reputation of a reviled monarch.
Richard was immortalized in a play by William Shakespeare as a hunchbacked usurper who left a trail of bodies -- including those of his two young nephews, murdered in the Tower of London -- on his way to the throne.
"It will be a whole new era for Richard III," the society's Lynda Pidgeon said. "It's certainly going to spark a lot more interest. Hopefully people will have a more open mind toward Richard."
With files from The Associated Press