After spending five centuries evading scientists and historians, bones found under British parking lot have been confirmed as those of the infamous King Richard III, National Geographic reports.
The nearly intact skeleton was found last fall during an archaeological dig in an area where a friary reported to have housed Richard's remains once stood. After months of DNA testing and analysis researchers revealed Monday that the bones do, in fact, belong to the man immortalized in countless films and plays. The king was most notably represented in Shakespeare's Richard III as a villainous, murdering man – a reputation that many, including the Richard III Society, have fought to disprove.
Scientists spent time comparing the DNA from the bones with that of modern-day descendants of Richard, as well as studying the curvature of the skeleton's spine. Richard was known to have suffered from scoliosis, a fact featured in Shakespeare's play, the New York Times said.
The bones indicate that Richard died of wounds sustained in battle – most likely a skull fracture and several stab wounds to his face – a fact that historians have known for centuries. But the finding of the bones in a shallow, ill-dug grave under a parking lot have brought more than scientific suspicions to rest. Many, like Richard III Society member and writer Phillipa Langley, are thankful that after years of searching, the infamous king can finally rest as royalty.
"Now we can rebury him with honor," Langely said, "and we can rebury him as a king."