Source Newsroom: Cornell University
Paul Hyams, professor of medieval history at Cornell University and author of "Wrath and Righteousness: The Social Uses of Anger in the Middle Ages," is available to discuss the discovery of King Richard III's remains.
"Richard III was the last Yorkist king and the last British king of any kind who died on the battlefield, during the final battle of the War of the Roses. He was quickly buried because the victors didn’t want a saint’s cult growing up around him. This was the same reason Osama bin Laden was buried at sea.
"Contemporary historians have shown that the accounts we have of Richard III — the accounts on which Shakespeare based his play — were all Tudor accounts. And the Tudors had everything to gain by vilifying Richard III in their accounts. But Shakespeare might still have gotten it right.
"Corpses of two young boys were found buried in the corridor of the Tower who might have been the princes, though they’ve never been subjected to DNA analysis. Most of the contemporary sources thought Richard killed them, and I think that’s probably the right story.
"And it’s true that Richard wouldn’t have been very nice to look at to his contemporaries. His spine had a nearly ninety degree curvature. He wasn’t hunchbacked but he was pretty twisted. And he would have always had breathing problems because when your spine is twisted that much it’s not good for the lungs."