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.

Leicester Mercury: Historian accuses University


A historian has accused the University of Leicester of destroying parts of Richard III's skeleton.

Dr John Ashdown-Hill says it is ethically wrong to continue testing the remains as part of research to find out more about the king's genetic make-up.

The academic, who traced the king's living relations after the bones were discovered underneath a city centre car park in 2012, conceded that a small sample of the 528-year-old remains was needed for identification purposes.

However, he said he did not agree with the latest project to map the former Plantagenet king's genetic make-up.

Read the whole article here


Petition to let Richard III now rest in peace


As the person who first documented Richard III's family link to Joy Ibsen; who, as a result, first published the king's mtDNA sequence; who researched for the BBC the 'body in the river' myth and disproved it; who established that Richard III definitely had been buried at the Franciscan Priory in Leicester, and accurately predicted the probable location of the lost priory church, I feel acutely aware of the fact that without my historical and genealogical research Richard III's body would  never have been rediscovered in 2012. 

I therefore feel deeply responsible for the safety of King Richard III's remains. A case to determine who should have charge of the king's body is at present before the High Court. Under these circumstances it seems particularly outrageous that any destructive research should be conducted upon the remains by those who currently hold them. Yet that is precisely what is being done. Parts of the king's bones have recently been destroyed without outside consultation, for no good reason, merely in order to allow completely gratuitous scientific investigations to be conducted.

If, like me, you feel that this is wrong, you might like to give your support to this petition:

There should be no more research on Richard III's remains

If you are outside the UK, you can sign this petition:

University of Leicester Archaeology Service: End testing on the body of King Richard III & release it for reburial