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English Car Park Where Remains Of Richard III Were Found Declared A Monument

A marquee sits over the spot where the remains of King Richard III were found in a car park in Leicester, England, in a photo taken in February 2013.

A car park in the English city of Leicester, where the remains of King Richard III were discovered five years ago, is now a protected monument.

Specifically, the location has been given scheduled monument status and described as "one of the most important sites in [the U.K.'s] ... national history."

Richard III famously met his fate on Aug. 22, 1485, at the climactic Battle of Bosworth, which ended the War of the Roses and ushered in England's House of Tudor.

According to contemporaneous reports, after his death in battle at about age 32, Richard III was buried at Greyfriars Church, a 13th Century monastic friary in the city of Leicester. The church is thought to have been destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII.

Fast forward five centuries and British archeologists comparing old and new maps, determined the location of the medieval friary. In an interview with All Things Considered back in 2012, Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society told NPR's Robert Siegel "it became clear, when we did this analysis, that the church and the precinct of the Greyfriars was definitely in the area of the parking lot."

A 21st century look at the 15th century remains confirmed via DNA tests that they were in fact those of Richard III.

"By protecting this site as a scheduled monument, we are ensuring the remains of this once lost medieval friary buried under Leicester are preserved for future generations," Heritage Minister John Glenn said Thursday.

Shakespeare, writing more than a century after the fact, described the king as a "poisonous bunch-backed toad." However, as NPR's Bill Chappell wrote in 2014, modern analysis showed that Richard III had a common form of scoliosis, but nonetheless a "well-balanced curve" to his spine that might not have been plainly visible.

King Richard III's remains were re-interred at Leicester Cathedral in March 2015.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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