Shakespeare viewed Richard III as a “poisonous hunchback’s toad.” A disfigured sociopath. However, in 2012, researchers uncovered a skeleton in an unmarked grave under a parking lot. The mitochondrial DNA was matched with the DNA of Richard’s maternal relatives.
What the researchers then learned from the skeleton revealed a king who had scoliosis, but not to a degree that a “bespoke suit of medieval armor” couldn’t straighten around. The foam hunchback worn by so many actors in playing Shakespeare’s view was probably overdone. The rumors of Richard’s deformity were probably the result of the Tudors seeking to place Henry VII on the throne. Power grabs then and power grabs now do spawn their share of untruths.
The skeleton, as described in Brian Switek’s book, Skeleton Keys did, however, show the brutal fashion in which Richard was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field. A group of well armed Welshmen, who surrounded a marooned Richard stuck in the mud on his horse, used all manner of daggers, halberds, and swords in all the thinkable and unthinkable places in Richard’s body. Mr. Switek summed up Richard’s death as follows, “We are a cruel species, and the marks of our depravity are etched into Richard’s bones.” However, there was a long list of Richard’s victims whose skeletons reveal equal cruelty.
It make have taken 529 years, but DNA hatched the truth about Richard’s deformity. We also see both sides now. Richard was a sociopath, but the other side had its share of brutal murderers. By these behavioral standards, today’s British royalty fussing over Meghan Markle’s views, arguments, staff issues, and demands seem charming.