The University of Leicester confirmed last week that the human remains found last fall in Leicester, England belong to King Richard III who died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The body of King Richard III was buried in the Greyfriars Priory, a Franciscan monastery, which was destroyed during the Protestant Reformation under Henry VIII.
Mary Thompson, Mount Vernon’s Research Historian, did some sleuthing and found that Richard III and George Washington are descendents (5th and 14th generation, respectively) of Philippa Plantagenet and Edmund Mortimer, the 3rd Earl of March. Washington is descended from the couples’ daughter Elizabeth Mortimer, while Richard III is descended from their son Roger Mortimer, the 4th Earl of March.
Scientists and researchers were able to create a reconstruction of Richard III using technology similar to the technology used to reconstruct George Washington at ages 19, 45 and 57. The links below will bring you to videos detailing the processes used to bring both George Washington and Richard III back to life. Do you see any resemblance between the two men?
The Science Behind Forensic Reconstruction
Final Resting Places
George Washington and Richard III share more than just common ancestry; both men have been the subject of controversy concerning their final resting place. Encourage your students to research the proposed and actual burial places of each man and debate if they agree with the final decisions. Ask students…
Where Should Richard III be buried?
The final resting place of Richard III will be at Leicester Cathedral, but this decision did not come without debate. Should his remains be interred at Westminster Abbey alongside 17 monarchs? Should they be sent to York, the seat of the House of York of which he was the last monarch? Should they be buried at Leicester Cathedral in accordance to the excavation license granted to the University of Leicester? Or should they be sent to Richard III’s birthplace, Fotheringhay?
Research more about the arguments for and against each location, and have students weigh in with a vote in this article by The London Evening Standard from February 6, 2013.
Where Should George Washington be Buried?
Did you know that the United States Capitol was built with a tomb for George Washington? Discuss with your students if they believe George Washington should be buried at Mount Vernon according to his wishes, or if his remains should be transferred to the tomb at the Capitol.
Read more about the controversy over the final resting place of George Washington:
- Washington’s Tomb at the United States Capitol
- Burials at Mount Vernon
- Centennial of Washington’s Birthday
Create a Family Tree
Our Research Historian, Mary Thompson, created a family tree to find the connection between George Washington and Richard III. Have your students explore their own family tree or create one for George Washington.
- George Washington and Richard III Family Tree
- Family History Forms from the Mid-Continent Public Library
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