LONDON – British lawmakers are sparring over what may be left of Richard III.
No one is certain yet that remains dug up last month at a Leicester parking lot are those of the monarch immortalized by William Shakespeare for his willingness to trade his kingdom for a horse.
It may take months for DNA testing to determine if the body is the king's, but that hasn't stopped lawmakers in Parliament from sparring over the remains for their valuable tourism potential.
Archaeologists found the bones beneath the site of the Grey Friars church in Leicester, central England. Accounts at the time say Richard was buried there following his 1485 death in the Battle of Bosworth Field.
'He has been in Leicester for 500 years, it would be most appropriate that he is finally laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral.'
- Jon Ashworth of Leicester South
Labour lawmaker John Mann says the priory of Worksop, in Nottinghamshire, would be an ideal final resting place for the king — but his Labour colleague Jon Ashworth of Leicester South was having none of that.
"I am sure Worksop has many fine qualities, but given it was the Grey Friars who took the body of Richard and buried him at what was then the Grey Friars' church, a site which is today just a stone's throw from Leicester Cathedral, and he has been in Leicester for 500 years, it would be most appropriate that he is finally laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral," Ashworth said.
The University of Leicester team behind the find noted that archaeologists are still doing tests and are far from certain that the bones are Richard's.
The team that excavated the bones has identified a direct descendant of Richard's elder sister — a 17th great-grand-nephew — and obtained a DNA swab for possible matching with any bones found at the site.
"Let's see if it is him first," said Lin Foxhall, head of the university's School of Archaeology and Ancient History. "What we have is a really convincing candidate on the basis of circumstantial evidence. This is just not certain."