A skeleton with a cleaved skull and a curved spine entombed under a car park is that of Richard III, archaeologists said Monday, solving a 500-year-old mystery about the final resting place of the last English king to die in battle.
Cast by Shakespeare as a deformed tyrant who murdered two princes in the Tower of London, Richard was slain in a bid to keep his crown at the 1485 Battle of Bosworth Field, immortalized by the words: "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"
In one of the most significant archaeological finds of recent English history, a team from the University of Leicester said evidence showed a skeleton found last year in excavations of a mediaeval friary under a city car park was that of Richard.
"It's the academic conclusion ... that beyond reasonable doubt the individual exhumed at Grey Friars in September 2012 is indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England," lead archaeologist Richard Buckley said.
The skeleton had 10 wounds, eight of which were to the head clearly inflicted on the battlefield. A photograph showed a sword had cleaved away part of the rear of the skull. A metal fragment was found between Richard's vertebrae.
After the battle, the victor, the future King Henry VII, had Richard's naked body exposed to the people of Leicester to show the battle was won, ending the bloody 30-year civil conflict.