The problems of Richard III’s Y chromosome

The problems of Richard III’s Y chromosome; the problems relating to the burials at Clare Priory, and the problems of working with Historic England

In 2004, following the request of colleagues in Belgium, I discovered the mtDNA sequence of King Richard III and his siblings. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only in the all-female line. In that same year I was commissioned by the BBC to research the ‘body in the river’ story which was then widely recounted in Leicester regarding the fate of Richard III’s remains. As a result of my research on that story, in 2005, with the help of the Richard III Society East Midland (Leicester) Branch, I persuaded Leicester City Council to allow the erection of a new plaque next to the Victorian plaque near Bow Bridge, which commemorates the ‘body in the river’ myth. My new plaque stated that the nineteenth-century inscription of the Victorian memorial was untrue.

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Evidence of the Accommodation used during Royal Visits to Leicester, 1460-1485

There is a popular legend that, prior to the battle of Bosworth, King Richard III spent the night of 20-21 August (and possibly also the night of 19-20 August) in Leicester, at an inn, later known as the ‘Blue Boar’, but which at that time may have been called the ‘White Boar’ in Northgate Street, a fine timbered building in the town centre. The implication behind this story appears to be that, since the inn bore Richard’s own personal badge as its sign, it may have had some pre-existing connection with the king.

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The Secret Queen Buried in Norwich – Interview

Since we last spoke to Dr. John Ashdown Hill in January, he has finally seen King Richard III re-interred and has been awarded an MBE for his years of effort in finding the long-lost king, and for his services to historical research. John has published two new books and seen one newly-reprinted, continued his quiet campaign to recognise the history of bear-baiting in Colchester and kept up his busy lecture schedule. Today John joins us to discuss his latest books, upcoming projects and his major project concerning the woman who had a significant impact on the House of York, Lady Eleanor Talbot.

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6 myths about Richard III by John Ashdown-Hill

Myth 1: Richard was a murderer

Shakespeare’s famous play, Richard III, summarises Richard’s alleged murder victims in the list of ghosts who prevent his sleep on the last night of his life. These comprise Edward of Westminster (putative son of King Henry VI); Henry VI himself; George, Duke of Clarence; Earl Rivers; Richard Grey and Thomas Vaughan; Lord Hastings; the ‘princes in the Tower’; the Duke of Buckingham and Queen Anne Neville.

But Clarence, Rivers, Grey, Vaughan and Buckingham were all executed (a legal process), not murdered: Clarence was executed by Edward IV (probably on the incentive of Elizabeth Woodville). Rivers, Grey and Vaughan were executed by the Earl of Northumberland, and Hastings and Buckingham were executed by Richard III because they had conspired against him. Intriguingly, similar subsequent actions by Henry VII are viewed as a sign of ‘strong kingship’!

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