Last Days of Richard III and the fate of his DNA
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Last Days of Richard III: and the Fate of his DNA
By John Ashdown-Hill
With sadness we announce Dr John Ashdown-Hill's passing on the 18th of May 2018. John had a prolific career as a historian and was instrumental not only in the rediscovery of Richard III's burial place in 2012, but in his reinterment; for which John provided a funeral crown and a rosary to be reintered along with Richard III's remains. John was a popular and beloved mentor for many.
Reviews taken from Goodreads.com:
John Ashdown-Hill is a historian and member of the Royal Historical Society and the Richard III society. With several non-fiction books already to his credit, he brings close attention to bear upon the last eight months of the King’s life. As a Ricardian since my '60's teens, I felt the author’s insights as important as his research . We are given permission to “forget Bosworth,” and that leaves us free to see a man of action deeply involved in life and in his plans for England’s future. There are chapters about the king’s death, about his last battle and the aftermath, about his re-burial and grave, and about the fate of his family under Tudor rule. A section about recent mtDNA research performed by the author is a human interest piece, tracing fugitive Plantagenet material through 15 generations. The Last Days of Richard III should prove of interest to anyone who wants to go deeper into this watershed moment in English History. (Review first published in magazine of The Historical Novel Society)
The idea of looking at the last days of Richard III's life as if the battle of Bosworth outcome was unknown seems so obvious I wonder why it wasn't done before. This book shows he expected to win at Bosworth, and he was a man of considerable piety and courage. The version of Richard III shown in Shakespeare's plays is a part of the Tudor myth -- no surprise to those who've looked at the history plays in any detail.
The first section of the book, up to Richard III's death, is fascinating. Genealogy proves that the mitochondrial DNA survived for comparison with the body now known to be Richard III's. The success of the search for Richard's body and the comparison with a living descendant speaks very well of Ashdown-Hill's meticulous and accurate research.