LEICESTER, ENGLAND — The University of Leicester’s recent identification of the 15th-century mortal remains of King Richard III was an exhale moment for author Anne Easter Smith.
“It’s very exciting,” said Smith, a former Press-Republican features editor who has since become an award-winning author of five historical novels that chronicle the House of York during the Wars of the Roses.
Simon & Schuster will publish her forthcoming “Royal Mistress,” a novel about Jane Shore, paramour of King Edward IV, this spring.
“I donated money last summer to help make the dig,” Smith said in a recent phone interview. “I had a vested interest in this whole thing.
“This is the only anointed, crowned English king whose grave has never been found. We know where every other king was buried. We can go to their graves except for Richard’s, and now we can.”
Smith, a native of England, is a Ricardian, a member of the Richard III Society, which is dedicated to reclaiming its namesake’s legacy, tarnished, they say, by the House of Tudor.
The historic quest to locate the last Plantagenet king was led by screenwriter/Ricardian Philippa Langley of Edinburgh in 2009.
Though the site of King Richard III’s memorial tomb was lost, Langley intuited his burial place was intact.
Henry Tudor’s invading forces killed the monarch on Aug. 22, 1485, at the Battle of Bosworth Field. King Richard III was hastily and unceremoniously buried, sans shroud or coffin, in the choir of Greyfriars Church in Leicester.
The building was demolished in the late 1530s.
Under the Leicester City Council car park, built over the site, the monarch was found in a shallow grave, ironically, beneath the letter R (reserve) and on the anniversary of his burial.
“Unfortunately, it will not tell us any more about who Richard was, only how he died,” Smith said. “It’s poor, pathetic, how many wounds they gave him. It’s consistent with all the accounts. Everyone fell on top of him. His body was so irreverently treated, considering he was an anointed king.