In 2012 scientists were on a quest for a long-lost English king. But instead of being led through impressively booby-trapped and decapitating ruins Indiana Jones style, their quest took them to a lowly car park. Richard's discovery was something of England's Tutumankhman - just not nearly as old or with the same burial treasures.

Richard III was part of the 32 year-long struggle for the English throne that inspired much of Game of Thrones. There are also many locations in Britain that were a source of inspiration for Game of Thrones - like Hadrian's Wall.


The History of The Ill-Fated King Richard III

King Richard III lived from 1452 to 1485 and he was King of England and the Lord of Ireland for around two years before he died in 1485. He was the last king of the House of York (the House of York was the inspiration for the "House of Stark" in Game of Thrones).

  • Lived: 1452 to 1485

He met his end in battle during the Battle of Bosworth Field which was the last decisive battle of the destructive Wars of the Roses and (more or less) ended the 32 year-long game of thrones in England. It also marked the end of the Middle Ages in England and the start of the Early Modern Period.

  • Died: In The Battle of Bosworth Field

His successor was Henry Tudor VII - the father of the famous Henry VIII with the six wives.

Before Richard was king he was the Duke of Gloucester in 1461 and he governed northern England during his brother's (King Edward IV) reign. When Edward IV died, Richard became Lord Protector of the realm for the 12-year-old king Edward V. But Edward V was declared illegitimate and Richard took the throne.

In 1485 Henry Tudor marched from Wales and with a contingent of French troops, defeated Richard and killed him in battle.

  • Killed in Battle: He Was the Last English King Killed In Battle

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Burial, Loss, And Rediscovery Of Richard III

The corpse of the slain king was taken to the nearby town of Leicester and buried without ceremony. He was buried in a crude grave at the friary church. It wasn't to be for another 530 years that he would be buried with ceremony.

  • Age: He Died At Age 32

In 1538 during the English Reformation, the friary was disestablished and the church was demolished. Richard's tomb was then lost. There was an account that his bones were tossed into the River Soar, but that turned out to be false.

But after extensive anthropological and genetic testing, the remains were ultimately identified as the lost king and he was reinterred at Leicester Cathedral on 26 March 2015.

  • Reinterred: In Leicester Cathedral

What Was Learned of Richard III and Reburial

His skeleton showed signs of severe injuries. It seems he was killed by a blow from a large bladed weapon to the back of the head or a sword thrust that also penetrated all the way through the brain.

There were also many other wounds on this skeleton that seemed to be humiliation injuries inflicted on his body in revenge after his death. The forensic studies showed he also had roundworm when he died. This was common in the bad old days, and ancient latines show that most people were infected with parasites.

  • Scoliosis: Richard Seems To Have Had Scoliosis

His mitochondrial DNA matched this matrilineal descendant from his sister Anne of York (now in their 17th and 19th generations).

  • Conclusion: It Was Concluded Beyond Reasonable Doubt It Was The Remains of Richard III

In that time, the graveyard where he was buried became a car parking lot and he was discovered under a blanket of tarmac in the center of Leicester.

  • Buried: Without Ceremony At Greyfriars Church

Shakespeare wrote of him over a century later and called him a "poisonous bunch-backed toad." Although the common form of scoliosis he had may not be have been plainly visible.

Related: How The World Has Reconstructed Ötzi The Iceman's Life

Visiting The Leicester Cathedral and King Richard III Visitor Centre

In accordance with the British legal norms, he was reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. The norms say that Christian burials excavated by archaeologists should be reburied in the nearest consecrated ground to the original burial. As of the time of writing Leicester Cathedral is closed until 2023 for extensive renovations.

The car park is now a protected monument in the UK and one can visit it. The King Richard III Visitor Centre now occupies the former Victorian school (Alderman Newton's School) next to the car park where King Richard was found.

The visitor center showcases the life of King Richard III and the story of how he was rediscovered in 2012. It also includes a covered area over the gravesite that was once in the church of the friary where he was found.

Opening Hours: 

  • Monday to Friday, Sunday: 10 am until 4 pm
  • Saturday and Bank Holidays: 10 am until 5 pm
  • School Summer Holidays: Close At 5 pm Every Day Except Sunday

Admission Fee:

  • Adult: (16+ Years) £9.25
  • Child: (5 – 15 Years) £4.75

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