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A search for Richard's body began in August 2012, initiated by the Looking for Richard project with the support of the Richard III Society.The archaeological excavation was led by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, working in partnership with Leicester City Council.Reinterment took place in Leicester on 26 March 2015, during a televised memorial service held in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and senior members of other Christian denominations.Richard was killed fighting Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the last major battle of the Wars of the Roses.If Speed had been to Herrick's property he would surely have seen the commemorative pillar and gardens, but instead he reported that the site was "overgrown with nettles and weeds" and there was no trace of Richard's grave.The map of Leicester drawn by Speed incorrectly shows Greyfriars where the former Blackfriars was, suggesting that he had looked for the grave in the wrong place.Although Richard's monument had evidently disappeared by this time, the site of his grave was still known.
Preliminary DNA analysis showed that mitochondrial DNA extracted from the bones matched that of two matrilineal descendants, one 17th-generation and the other 19th-generation, of Richard's sister Anne of York.Another local legend arose about a stone coffin that supposedly held Richard's remains, which Speed wrote was "now made a drinking trough for horses at a common Inn".A coffin certainly seems to have existed; John Evelyn recorded it on a visit in 1654, and Celia Fiennes wrote in 1700 that she had seen "a piece of his tombstone [sic] he lay in, which was cut out in exact form for his body to lie in; it remains to be seen at ye Greyhound [Inn] in Leicester but is partly broken." William Hutton found in 1758 that the coffin, which had "not withstood the ravages of time", was kept at the White Horse Inn on Gallowtree Gate.On the first day a human skeleton belonging to a man in his thirties was uncovered showing signs of severe injuries.The skeleton, which had several unusual physical features, most notably a severe curvature of the back, was exhumed to allow scientific analysis.
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A controversy arose as to whether an alternative reburial site, York Minster or Westminster Abbey, would be more suitable.