AirTalk for October 8, 2012

The search for Richard III’s skeleton

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AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Men dressed as medieval knights pose for pictures in Leicester in central England, on September 12, 2012, at a site where a skeleton that researchers believe could be British medieval king Richard III was found.

For centuries after the Battle of Bosworth Field and the end of the War of the Roses, the slain body of King Richard III went missing after a hasty burial. 527 years later, a team of archaeologists started digging under a parking lot in Leicester, England, hoping to find the ruins of a medieval monastery. Instead, they found a skeleton with the remnants of a metal arrow in its back, a severe injury to the skull and a deformed spine, consistent with historical accounts of Richard III.

Finding the skeleton, however, was the easy part. In order to prove that the skeleton could have belonged to the King, genetic samples of the bones and a living heir of Richard III need to be compared to see if to see if the skeleton belonged to the fallen King.

John Ashdown-Hill, a historian and member of Britain’s Richard III Society, traced the lineage of the king 527 years, from Anne of York, Richard III’s older sister, to 55-year-old Michael Ibsen, a Canadian furniture maker, who, as most furniture makers, had no idea that he could be linked to the last English Plantagenet King.

Guests:

John Ashdown-Hill, historian and member of Britain's Royal Historical Society, and author of “The Last Days of Richard III”

Michael Ibsen, Canadian furniture maker & descendant of Richard III’s sister, Anne of York


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