Countdown: 50 days to go to King Richard III’s reinterment.
Two years ago today, it was confirmed that the so-called Greyfriars warrior, discovered five months earlier, was indeed King Richard III.
Due to the time difference, I got up at five o’clock that cold winter morning to watch the University of Leicester press conference. As we don’t have cable, I watched the conference over the internet, which was a little worrying as I’d never done something like that before. I had two browsers open on different websites in case something went wrong.
I recall watching with bated breath as each part of the puzzle was revealed — the historical maps of Leicester marking the location of Greyfriars; the “interesting characteristics” of the skeleton discovered in the parking lot showing the man had died of battle wounds, that he suffered from scoliosis, and that he had a slender build; the radiocarbon dating of said skeleton; the written evidence that King Richard III was killed in battle and that he was slender; and last, but not least, the genealogical confirmation that Michael Ibsen, a maternal-line descendant of Richard’s sister along with another maternal-line descendant (who at the time wished to remain anonymous) both share the same mt-DNA as the skeleton. Thus proving that King Richard III had been found!
I still get goose bumps — and truth be told a little misty eyed — when lead archaeologist Richard Buckley says “Ladies and gentlemen, it is the academic conclusion of the University of Leicester that beyond reasonable doubt the individual exhumed at Greyfriars in September 2012 is indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England.” The audience took a second to comprehend what just happened and then applause!
Meanwhile, back in Canada, I was so excited I wanted to run upstairs and jump up and down on the bed, but the thoughts of waking my still sleeping husband stopped me. I had to instead take out my happiness on the long-suffering cat. But as soon as I heard the alarm go off, I yelled up to him that it was confirmed!
Here’s the University of Leicester press conference on YouTube.
(It was a few days later that my parents then told me that they would pay for me to fly over for the funeral. I did ask if it was a return ticket and not just one-way. Little did I know it would take two years for this to happen!)