15:47 13 September 2012
Shakespeare wrote of the hunchback King and now archaeologists agree after unearthing the 500 year old skeleton of Richard III.
Historians have debated for centuries regarding Richard III's legendary reputation as a headstrong but hunchbacked king as referenced by playwright William Shakespeare.
But now, following an archaeological dig by a team from Leicester University, the King has been confirmed to have had a curved spine.
The team pinpointed the site within the Grey Friars church grounds which has commonly been thought of (and indeed signposted) as the grave of King Richard III following his death in the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485.
The archaeologists dug out a fully intact skeleton that they strongly believe is the King's. Putting centuries of speculation to rest, they quickly noticed its deformed spinal column which seemed to confirm a theory of severe scoliosis, a form of spinal curvature.
The remains had a significant wound to the back of the skull, consistent with a sword blow. An arrow head was also found lodged in his upper back. Both are strong indications that the King did indeed die in the heat of battle.
Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester's mayor, said: "They can't say it, but I can. This is as near a certainty as we can get that we've found him. Everything fits."
The church's site is now under a council car park in Leicester city centre which was razed in 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII.
Philippa Langley, of the Richard III Society, was quoted by The Telegraph: "This will allow us to really challenge what we know about Richard.
"We can find out how he got to the church, how he was buried, how he died; all the things that have been the subject of assumptions and misconceptions."
DNA tests are expected to take more than two months and will compare the findings with the DNA of a direct descendant of the king's sister, Michael Ibsen, a 55-year-old Canadian furniture maker who resides in London.
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