earthly remains of King Richard III.
Not just the identity of the man in the car park with the twisted spine,
but the appalling last moments and humiliating treatment of the naked body of Richard III in the hours after his death have been revealed at an extraordinary press conference at Leicester University.
were cheers when Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist on the hunt for
the king's body, finally announced that the university team was
convinced "beyond reasonable doubt" that it had found the last
Plantagenet king, bent by scoliosis of the spine, and twisted further to
fit into a hastily dug hole in Grey Friars church, which was slightly
too small to hold his body.
Richard died at Bosworth on 22 August 1485, the last English king to
fall in battle, and the researchers revealed how for the first time.
There was an audible intake of breath as a slide came up showing the
base of his skull sliced off by one terrible blow, believed to be from a
halberd, a fearsome medieval battle weapon with a razor-sharp iron axe
blade weighing about two kilos, mounted on a wooden pole, which was
swung at Richard at very close range. The blade probably penetrated
several centimetres into his brain and, said the human bones expert Jo
Appleby, he would have been unconscious at once and dead almost as soon.
Another sword slash, which also went through the bone and into the brain,
would also have proved fatal. But many of the other injuries were after
death, suggesting a gruesome ritual on the battlefield and as the king's
body was brought back to Leicester, as he was stripped, mocked and
mutilated – which would have revealed for the first time to any but his
closest intimates the twisted back, a condition from an unknown cause,
which began to contort his body from the age of about 10. By the time he
died he would have stood inches shorter than his true height of 5' 8",
tall for a medieval man. The bones were those of an unusually slight,
delicately built man – Appleby described him as having an "almost
feminine" build – which also matches contemporary descriptions