James Marston: Is a car park grave a fitting end for ruthless King?

King Richard III

King Richard III - Credit: PA

Isn’t it amazing they’ve found Richard III?

A remarkable story that has us all talking in the newsroom, the confirmation that the bones dug up in a car park are those of one of history’s most controversial kings.

It makes you wonder who else is under our car parks – perhaps Lord Lucan will show up when they finally, if ever, redevelop Ipswich’s Mint Quarter.

Or maybe Shergar is just inches underneath a supermarket car park somewhere.

I have to admit that I was rather gripped by the whole Richard story – the DNA, the wounds to his body, the twisted spine.

But it was the remarkable tracing of descendents – some 17 generations later – that I thought most amazing.

How these people do these things really is clever isn’t it?

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To turn legend into reality cannot fail to be of interest – we now know Richard did have an issue with his back, we know that how he died fits it with sources written at the time, we know he was buried quickly and we know he was dug up again and thrown in a river as some had suggested.

This scientific investigation, undertaken with a large helping of luck, has answered some questions that were thought forever unanswerable.

As I sit in my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant), I am thinking how interesting it is that Richard, such an enigmatic character, was only 32 when he died and centuries later he’s at the heart of British national life, today, in 2013, we’re still talking about him and what he was really like.

Somehow I thought he was much older – perhaps due to the depictions of him as a nasty bit of work with a bit of a limp.

You just assume, what with probably killing his nephews, that he was older don’t you?

Of course, for a medieval king to be buried once – and what happened to his feet? – and reburied after all those years is something that fires the imagination and I shall be interested to see the ceremony when it happens.

Richard is a complex character who did some bad things.

But, during his short reign he continued to develop the system of Yorkist government which laid the foundations for Tudor government which in turn laid the foundations for the modern nation state.

Perhaps he deserves better than a car park.

He was a king of England after all.