The discovery of King Richard III’s remains has had a strange effect on the world of historical research. Because mtDNA results identified the remains found in Leicester as King Richard III, suddenly it is widely believed that DNA is a magical potion that will conveniently solve historical mysteries. However, the DNA test results did not find Richard III. They helped to confirm the remains belonged to him. It was historical research that located his grave. None of the scientific research can prove 100% conclusive. Had Richard III been found 50 years ago, based only on historical research, there would be only as much doubt that the remains belong to him as there is today.Share
Identifying the type of scoliosis Richard suffered from and how it may have affected him was a truly interesting discovery. When scientists at the University of Leicester failed to deliver on their repeated promises of many more marvelous historical discoveries, they instead attempted to focus on an allegedly controversial break in paternity, allowing the media to capitalize on it and create as many lurid headlines as they could manage. They had no new significant findings about Richard III himself. Kevin Shurer is now attempting to trace the lineage of celebrities back to Richard III. A triumph in genealogical research indeed.
Popular historian Dan Jones then chimed in, claiming that those who object to disturbing the dead are “squeamish and prissy” and asking if it was time to “look inside that urn in Westminster Abbey containing the supposed remains of the princes in the Tower? Or to stick a camera inside Elizabeth I’s tomb?”1 What’s up Dan? Bisley Boy theory got you enchanted?
It’s inevitable that the subject of the remains alleged to be King Edward V’s and Richard Duke of York’s in the urn in Westminster Abbey would be broached. Queen Elizabeth II and the Church of England have repeatedly refused requests to examine the remains. And it is no wonder. There may be some fragments of animal bones left in the urn, who knows what the media will come up with?
Jones is just the latest in a long line of historians to claim it is possible that the remains found in the Tower of London in 1674 belong to King Edward V and Richard Duke of York. It’s about time we let go of an idea that has no basis in fact.
The facts are that King Edward V’s and Richard Duke of York’s graves have never been discovered, and their remains do not lie in an urn in Westminster Abbey. (Read more.)