Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Them Bones

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Them Bones

Article excerpt

More than 500 years later, Richard III will now lie in hallowed ground, but his reputation still wanders the earth.

Perhaps the final ignominy in the troubled reign of Richard III is this: The monarch's bones have been found buried under a parking lot in the city of Leicester, England. The skeleton was discovered in September, its spine deformed in a manner consistent with contemporary descriptions of Richard, who died in 1485. Now, thanks to DNA taken from the skeleton and compared with Richard's modern descendants, there is no doubt that this is the man who, in Shakespeare's words, wore fortune buckled on his back. He was 32 when he died, and his death in battle ended the struggle for succession called the Wars of the Roses.

Richard was exhumed with more dignity than he died -- struck down in battle, his body slung over a horse -- and his bones will be reinterred in Leicester's Anglican Cathedral in a manner befitting a king. These bones, and their DNA, may well tell us all manner of things about Richard's physical appearance, including a reminder to future directors of Shakespeare's "Richard III" that the hump in Richard's back rose much farther down his spine than the word "hunchback" normally suggests. …

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