Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canadian's DNA helps to identify king's remains

  • Print

TORONTO -- The privilege of helping to unravel a historical mystery is surpassed only by the prospect of rehabilitating the image of one of Britain's most maligned monarchs, a Canadian-born descendant of King Richard III said Monday.

Michael Ibsen said he's still trying to process the emotions that surfaced after researchers at the University of Leicester confirmed his DNA had been used to help identify the 15th-century ruler's remains.

Researchers believed they had stumbled on the king's remains last September when an archaeological dig unearthed a skeleton that bore evidence of battle wounds and signs of Richard's famed spinal curvature, but they said genetic tests would be necessary to confirm their theory.

That test was completed with help from Ibsen, who is a direct descendant of the king's older sister, Anne of York, and is therefore a 17th-generation nephew of the late ruler.

Geneticists said Ibsen shares a rare strain of mitochondrial DNA with the historic skeleton, proving "beyond reasonable doubt" the king's body had been found after centuries of speculation.

Ibsen, 55, said playing even a small role in British history left him feeling overwhelmed.

"The geneticists and I, we'd been in the room with the remains of Richard III, which would be extraordinary under any circumstances, but to stand there and realize you have a tangible connection with this king of England, it does play with your mind a bit," Ibsen said in a telephone interview.

The man who William Shakespeare described as a "deformed monster" was not treated any more kindly by historians, who frequently depicted him as a devious schemer who would resort to murder to retain the throne.

He ruled England between 1483 and 1485 during the decades-long battle over the throne known as the Wars of the Roses, which pitted two wings of the ruling Plantagenet dynasty -- York and Lancaster -- against one another.

After his death, historians writing under the victorious Tudors comprehensively trashed Richard's reputation, accusing him of myriad crimes -- most famously, the murder of his two young nephews.

Ibsen said his own research suggests a whole other side to Richard -- that of a thoughtful and just administrator -- has gone overlooked.

-- The Canadian Press, with files from AP

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 5, 2013 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Chief Clunis denies link between internal sexual-harassment investigation and Tina Fontaine case

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  070527 The 21st Annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at Assiniboine Park. The Orlan Ukrainian Dancers perform on stage.
  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you still on the Bombers' and Jets' bandwagons?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google