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Is this the lost coffin of King Richard III?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 13:17 UK time, Monday, 17 November 2008

Can't see the film? Click here to watch the interview with Reg Colver, the gardener who found the casket.

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It's the mystery of the royal tomb. For The One Show, Dan Snow travelled to Earl Shilton in Leicester to witness the excavation of what could be King Richard III's stone coffin.


Reg, middle - white helmet, Dan Snow and Richard Knox - red jacket

Richard's death at the Battle of Bosworth (1485, fought near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire) marked the culmination of the Wars of the Roses.

The story goes that after his death in battle he was buried in Greyfriars Church (now a car park), but years later his grave was opened, his coffin paraded through the streets by a jeering mob and his bones thrown into the River Soar.The excavation

Fast forward 500 years to gardener Reg Colver watching a programme about Richard III on the TV. When the commentary described the coffin in which the king had been interred, it reminded Reg of a water feature in a garden in Earl Shilton. Reg contacted the council, and their archeologist Richard Knox decided to investigate - and The One Show cameras were there, exclusively, to record the subsequent archeological dig.

Has Reg found the discarded coffin of Richard III? The archeologists can't be sure. Richard Knox says that it is a rich man's casket from the early medieval period and that there's a good chance that it is from the friary site. But he wonders how a jeering mob could have carried such a heavy stone sarcophagus to a river.

Richard Van Allen from the Richard III Society told us that, as far as he knows, Richard III is the only English king whose grave has been lost "so that this is the holy grail - but there are all sorts of legends about what happened to his body". "Everybody lives in hope that he will be found - but no one knows where he was buried at Greyfriars."

The coffin is to be displayed at its new home - Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre.

What do you think, is it the coffin of Richard III? What did happen to King Richard's body?

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