Frequently Asked Questions about King Richard III and His Reinterment

Countdown: 17 days to go to King Richard III’s reinterment. 

Over the years and certainly more recently I have been asked a number of questions about King Richard III. (A long running joke with friends and family is that I will say, “Now’s the part of the conversation when we talk about King Richard III for a few minutes…”) So here, in no particular order, are a number of questions I have been asked more than once about his upcoming reinterment:

  • Why is King Richard III getting a reinterment and not a funeral? 
    King Richard III already had a funeral in 1485 when he was buried in Greyfriars, so he will have a reinterment.
  • Why was King Richard III’s grave lost? 
    Technically, King Richard III’s grave was not lost. When Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, Greyfriars was dismantled and the graves were left undisturbed. The site became a private garden and Richard III’s grave was identified as such until the 17th century. The site was then sold and developed several times until it became the Leicestershire County Council’s parking lot in the 1960s. Over the centuries, maps show the area known as Greyfriars, the garden, and the surrounding roads, so there was a paper record. However, the monument, mentioned in the 17th century, disappeared and the exact location was lost.
  • Who is the woman discovered nearby King Richard III?
    It is not known for certain, but she is probably a holy woman who lived in the 13th century and interring the dead king near this holy woman was thought to reduce the amount of time King Richard would have to spend in purgatory.
  • Can one visit the parking lot where King Richard III was found?
    The part of the parking lot where King Richard III was found is now covered by the King Richard III Visitor Centre and one can see where he was unearthed in a glass-floored room. However, the rest of the parking lot is still used as a parking lot.
  • How did King Richard III die? 
    King Richard III suffered at least eight wounds to his head, including one to the base of his skull that would have fatal.
  • Was King Richard III a hunchback?
    King Richard III suffered from scoliosis, appearing as a side-to-side curvature of the spine, which is different from kyphosis, a forward curvature.
  • What happened to King Richard III’s feet?
    King Richard III’s feet are missing and are believed to have been removed in the 19th century when an outhouse was built near his grave.
  • What proof is there that this is actually King Richard III?
    • The historical maps of Leicester marking the location of Greyfriars;
    • The man who was found in Greyfriars had died of battle wounds and suffered from scoliosis;
    • The radiocarbon dating of said skeleton;
    • The genealogical confirmation that a maternal-line descendant of Richard’s sister  shares the same mt-DNA as the skeleton.
  • Where is Leicester? 
    Leicester is in heart of the Midlands, about an hour and half by train north-west of London, and has a population of about 330,000. (It’s also the home of the great fictional diarist Adrian Mole.)
  • How are Queen Elizabeth II and King Richard III related? 
    King Richard III is Queen Elizabeth II’s 14th-great-granduncle.
  • Finally, did King Richard III kill his nephews? 
    If you were to meet my nephews, you might well understand why.
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