We're all jealous of Kate Middleton now. The shiny hair. The castle home. But in 500 years she'll be just another monarch buried underneath a Pizza Hut parking lot, so who cares, really?
Researchers in England confirmed Monday that the skeletal remains found underneath a dirty old car park in the city of Leicester belonged, not to The Keeper of the Cars, a lovable neighborhood scamp with a dying wish to be buried under the machines whose whirr was the only music he ever understood, but to King Richard III, the English monarch whose bloody rise to power inspired one of William Shakespeare's best-known plays.
We've all lost things in parking lots. A nickel. Our virginity. A receipt that we didn't need anyway. The body of King Richard III of England; it happens.
Back when the skeleton was buried in the late 15th century, the area wasn't even a parking lot yet; it was Grey Friars Church, Site of Future Parking Lot. The remains were interred near the altar. Records of the site were lost in the 1530s, when Henry VIII, king of England and inadvertent parking lot visionary, ordered the dissolution and destruction of monasteries.
Then, late last summer, a University of Leicester archaeologist excavating a trench cut into a municipal parking lot uncovered remains that many suspected could be King Richard, and everyone was like "Oh, right, that's where we put that guy."
On Monday, the lead archaeologist on the bone-identification project, told reporters that tests have now indicated "beyond reasonable doubt" that the body is "indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England."
"We're certain now, as certain as you can be of anything in life."
You want some evidence?
DNA samples taken from the remains matched those of two modern-day descendants of Richard III. Carbon dating of the skeleton's rib bones indicated they belonged to an individual who had died between 1455 and 1540; Richard III died in battle 20 miles from Leicester in 1485. The skull featured a gaping hole, where Richard III was said to have been killed by a blow to the head with a halberd, a terrifying medieval weapon that consists of a long pole fixed with an axe blade. The skeleton's curved spine indicated a sufferer scoliosis; Richard III is remembered as a hunchback. The remains belonged to someone whose diet was rich in meat and fish—almost certainly a nobleman.
Richard III will likely be reinterred at an Anglican cathedral in Leicester early next year.
Hopefully in the parking lot, because parking lots are his fave.