The Latest DNA Results

What do the latest DNA results show?

They show that Richard III had a different Y-chromosome than his supposed living male-line relations in the modern Somerset family (illegitimate descendants of the Beauforts – legitimised descendants of the Plantagenets).

What does this prove?

It proves that somewhere between Edward III and the present day one of the mothers in one of these lines of descent had had sex with another man (not her husband or recognised lover).

There is no way of knowing whether this misdemeanour took place in Richard III’s ancestry or in the ancestry of the modern Somersets. However, the number of generations involved makes it much more likely that the misdemeanour occurred somewhere in the Somerset family tree.

Also, since the Y-chromosome results from the living Somersets revealed two DIFFERENT Y-chromosomes in what is supposed to be the same modern family, the most likely explanation is that this sexual misbehaviour was comparatively recent (C18th or C19th?).

Another possibility of course (since the Beaufort descent from the Plantagenets and the Somerset descent from the Beauforts pass through two known illegitimacies) is that either John Beaufort was not the real son of John of Gaunt or that Charles Somerset was not the real son of Henry Beaufort.

Some people have suggested that this new evidence shows that HM the Queen has no right to the throne.

But actually her (and her family’s) right to the throne is based purely on an eighteenth-century Act of Parliament (the Act of Settlement of 1701).

As for HM’s descent from medieval English royalty, she has descent via many lines, but the two most significant are

a)     Via the House of York (from Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII and niece of Richard III)

b)     Via the Beaufort family (ancestors of the Somersets.

While the latest DNA evidence does raise the remote possibility that one of these two lines might possibly be flawed, it can hardly be argued that BOTH lines are flawed.

The Independent: University of Leicester criticised over 'destructive tests' on remains of Richard III


In a letter to The Independent published on Wednesday, the "Looking for Richard Project" slams the “cavalier disregard of the legal process” over the university’s desire to sequence the king’s genome. The group, part of the Richard III Society, which in 2012 began the search for his remains in conjunction with the university and Leicester City council, said the tests “raise serious questions of propriety and ethics”.

The authors add: “There has been no independent verification that these tests are either ethical or necessary. Indeed, the university has, in effect, authorised itself to conduct tests that are far from essential and will add very little to our useful knowledge of England’s last Plantagenet king.”

The project’s Phillipa Langley, who led the search two years ago and co-authored the letter, also accuses the university of not honouring her contract with the University of Leicester Archaeological Services(ULAS). The letter said that “any remains positively identified as Richard III would be transferred to her as custodian to be placed in a prayerful environment to await reburial”.

Read the whole article here


LiveScience: Richard III DNA Test Sparks Controversy


"We had to work really hard to get them to do it, and yet when they found it, everything was, 'The University of Leicester has done this, the University of Leicester has done that,'" he said.

The Looking for Richard team talked with Buckingham Palace before the University of Leicester got involved and agreed that images of any remains found shouldn't be broadcast and that the remains should be treated with respect, Ashdown-Hill said. The university now claims the right to continue the scientific investigation, and has already taken additional bone samples. Even if the courts judge rules the university doesn't have legal custody of the body, they may still continue the DNA analysis, Ashdown-Hill said.

Read the whole article here


Watch John Ashdown-Hill on ITV Central

From the ITV Central Press Release:

Petition against more 'destructive' Richard III research

The man who helped find the final resting place of King Richard III in Leicester has launched a petition against plans for more scientific tests on the former monarch's remains.

The University of Leicester announced earlier this month that it wanted to map the King's entire genetic code. John Ashdown-Hill has written a blog in which he labels the research "destructive" and "gratuitous", and urges others to sign his petition to block any more testing. The University has denied the claims, saying it has abided by all ethical codes governing research on human remains.

The news report will be on ITV Central tonight. Alternatively watch it online:


Unfortunately, in spite of the publicity it was given, the ITV broadcast didn't tell the full story. They didn't use any of the material they filmed with John where they asked him to compare the current treatment of Richard III's remains with the treatment of the remains of his niece by marriage, Princess Anne Mowbray, Duchess of York and Norfolk, in 1965. Nor did they explore what gives the University of Leicester the right to make a unilateral decision to take (i.e. destroy) further bone samples, given that the university's custodianship of the remains of Richard III is currently sub judice.