King Richard III killed by skull and pelvis injuries


King Richard III was most likely to have been killed by two blows to the head and one to his pelvis, according to new scientific research.

The English king was killed at the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August, 1485.

Forensic teams at the University of Leicester have now revealed he suffered 11 injuries before his death, three of which may have been fatal.

Modern techniques were used on his 500-year-old skeleton to determine his injuries and the medieval weapons used.

His remains were found under a car park in Leicester in 2012.

The results of forensic analysis, published in The Lancet, have now shown he sustained nine wounds to the skull and two to the postcranial skeleton.

Researchers said three of these “had the potential to cause death quickly”.

Sarah Hainsworth, study author and professor of materials engineering, said: “Richard’s injuries represent a sustained attack or an attack by several assailants with weapons from the later medieval period.

“Wounds to the skull suggest he was not wearing a helmet, and the absence of defensive wounds on his arms and hands indicate he was still armoured at the time of his death.”

Investigators said they believed the postcranial injuries, including one to the pelvis, might have been inflicted after Richard’s death, as his armour would have protected him had he been alive.

Guy Rutty, from the East Midlands pathology unit, said the two fatal injuries to the skull were likely to have been caused by a sword, a staff weapon such as halberd or bill, or the tip of an edged weapon.

He said: “Richard’s head injuries are consistent with some near-contemporary accounts of the battle, which suggest Richard abandoned his horse after it became stuck in a mire and was killed while fighting his enemies.”

King Richard’s skeleton is due to be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral in March.


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