Solemn Requiem offered for King Richard III

His Excellency, Monsignor Douglas Lewins offered the annual Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of King Richard III, offered in the historic Chantry Chapel of St Edmund, Spital-on-the-Street in Lincolnshire, re-founded in 1397 by Thomas de Aston following earlier foundations going back to a Templar foundation in the twelfth century.

Interest in the King has increased of late since the results of the Greyfriars dig which has enthralled people around the world. Locating the choir and unearthing male human remains has exceeded all expectations. These finds strongly suggest that the burial site of King Richard III has been located.

The search to find the grave of King Richard III in Leicester took screenwriter Philippa Langley three years to get underway. Through her dedication, determination and single-mindedness she succeeded in bringing together the partnerships between the Richard III Society, Leicester City Council and the University of Leicester that would see the historical project in Leicester come to fruition and the ground cut in the Social Services car park on 25th August 2012.

In parallel, British historian John Ashdown-Hill tracked down Richard’s maternal bloodline, that had survived into the 21st century, via genealogical research. A British-born woman who migrated to Canada after the Second World War, Joy Ibsen, was found to be a 16th-generation grandniece of the king. Although Ibsen died in 2008, her son Michael gave a mouth-swab sample to the research team on 24 August 2012. His mtDNA, passed down on the maternal side, can be used to compare samples from any human remains from the excavation site, and potentially to identify King Richard.

Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses and is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England.

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