New Historian

Chemical Analysis Tells Story of Richard III

King Richard III

<![CDATA[According to a new study by archaeologists performing chemical analysis on the skeletal remains of Richard III, the infamous king lived a life that was more lavish than any other medieval royalty. The study, which was conducted by a team from the British Geological Survey and the University of Leicester, states that during his twenty six month reign, Richard III feasted on expensive freshwater fish and exotic birds like crane and swan. He was also consuming copious amounts of the finest wines at the time. Richard III was the inspiration for the Shakespeare play with the same name. Richard III ruled England from 1483 until his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. He was the last king to come from the Hose of York, and his death is considered to symbolize the end of the Middle Ages in England. He ascended to the throne on July 6 1483 after his brother Edward IV died. Edward IV's son, Edward V, was widely considered to be the rightful heir to the throne, but the lineage through his mother Elizabeth Woodville was quickly declared invalid. He was just twelve years old at the time of his father's death, his younger brother Richard was just ten. Many believe that Richard III had conspired to invalidate the young Edward's claim, and the fact that neither of the young princes was seen after Richard's succession has further fuelled the accusations. Just three months after his coronation Richard III had to fight off a rebellion led by the close allies of Edward IV, and his own former ally Henry Stafford. The uprising was defeated and Stafford executed, however a second rebellion was made against Richard in August of 1485 by Henry and Jasper Tudor. With the help of French troops and soldiers recruited from Wales, Henry defeated Richard's army at the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. Scientists looked at different bones from Richard's body to judge what his diet had been like at various stages in his life. His teeth were used to analyse his childhood, his femur was used to analyse the last ten to fifteen years of his life and his ribs were used for the final three years. The scientists then studied carbon, nitrogen and oxygen isotopes in each bone to determine what he ate, how much he ate, how much he drank, and where he lived during his life time. According to his teeth, at some point he moved from Northamptonshire to a more elevated place with higher rainfall. His femur revealed to scientists that later in his life he moved back to the East of England, where he changed his eating habits to be more in line with the wealthiest men of his time. His ribs showed the increase of exotic birds and fine wine in his diet Last year, a team from the University of Leicester reported that they had found the long lost grave of Richard III. He was not buried in a grave made for a king, as the original tomb was destroyed during the Reformation, meaning the remains were lost for more than five centuries. The new research into his diet sheds light on the lifestyle he enjoyed during his reign. The university has vowed to sequence the entire genome of Richard III and one of his descendants, Michael Ibsen. Ibsen, a furniture maker living in London who is believed to be one of the last descendents of the House of York, was found after researchers looked at the mitochondrial DNA of the lineage of Richard III's sister in order to validate his remains. The study was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.]]>

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