King Richard III
DMU is closely linked to both the history of Richard III and to the efforts to celebrate his discovery and bring his story to life.
His death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 brought to an end one of the most fascinating and turbulent times in British history. The defeat at the hands of Henry Tudor effectively ended the Wars of the Roses and the Plantagenet dynasty.
Following the battle it is believed his remains were laid out in the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the site of the Heritage Centre. DMU’s Digital Building Heritage Group used extensive research and analysis of the remaining arches to create a stunning digital reconstruction of the Church. The arches from the crypt of the church still remain at the heart of the centre, which is included on the Richard III audio walking tour.
He was laid to rest at the Church of the Grey Friars in Leicester until his remains were lost for over four centuries, following the demolition of the church during Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Digital Building Heritage Group also digitally reconstructed the Church and the tomb of Richard III. The video can be viewed at the King Richard III visitor centre and online.
The mystery surrounding the lost king’s location ended when he was found in a car park on the site of the Church of the Grey Friars in 2012. His remarkable discovery has brought fresh interest in the life and reputation of Richard III. The award-winning Richard III visitor centre tells the story of the monarch, how he was found, and the dramatic events that put Leicester at the heart of one of the most significant events in British history. It has been highlighted as a top-10 destination by Lonely Planet.
The remains confirmed one long-standing theory, disputed by some as Tudor propaganda, that the King suffered from severe scoliosis. A DMU conservation expert was involved in modelling a copy of his spine, which is on display at the Richard III centre. His skeleton revealed his cause of death, a blow to the skull, as well as several other wounds caused during and after the battle. His identity was confirmed using DNA from his ancestors.
On 26 March 2015, Richard III was laid to rest amid extraordinary celebrations. Crowds flocked from around the world to witness the historic events surrounding his reburial, which were broadcast throughout the globe. Thousands of spectators watched the procession through the city, and people queued for hours to view his coffin at Leicester Cathedral.
At a service presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard III completed his remarkable journey from King, to car park, to Cathedral. The day’s events had the grandeur of a state funeral and among the highlights was a poem read by famed actor, and distant relative, Benedict Cumberbatch. This incredible royal funeral, 530 years in the making, brought to a close an exciting chapter in the history of Leicester when the eyes of the world were on the city.