King Richard III suffered before he died…his feet went missing, he took a severe beating at Bosworth battlefield, and suffered from terrible backache all his adult life. The missing feet, however, are a completely different story.
But that’s not all. The king suffered greatly before dying, and his dignity suffered afterwards. Richard III’s wounds were on all sides, but mostly on the back, suggesting he was surrounded at death and fought hard: as one contemporary report put it, “to his last breath he held himself nobly in a defending manner.”
Some of the wounds he received after death; they could not have been received through armor. Contemporary reports said the 32-year-old king was stripped of armor and clothes. Regardless of what kind of king Richard III was, he was brave enough to face his end in battle — the last English king to do so. See this gruesome list of wounds here and learn why King Richard’s feet are missing.
King Richard’s body was stripped of armor and clothes before death, displayed in Leicester and then hastily buried at Greyfriars monastery. The hands, so positioned, suggest he was not unbound before burial. The body was not so much laid out as dumped.
“Idiopathic adolescent onset scoliosis”: The disease set in when Richard III was about 10 years old and was immediately obvious on excavation. Princess Eugenie is no doubt wincing in sympathy; she underwent scoliosis surgery as a child.
Arrow wound in skull
The small hole in the top of the skull was probably an arrow. Reports from the Battle of Bosworth say that King Richard III was shot by an arrow.
A dent in the skull. This would have hurt, but not been fatal. One could speculate the king was still wearing a helmet at this stage. Either way, it was probably the beginning on the end.
Possible halberd slice
Fatal wound: A deep slice, possibly by halberd (axe on a pole), to the base of the skull. It’s probable that the king had lost his helmet by now. This picture also shows the skull wounds.
Two fatal blows to the head
Two fatal wounds: Large holes in King Richard III’s skull. One was a slice that took off a piece of skull; the other was a crushing blow that went so deep – four inches – that it put a hole in the base of the skull. The larger wound may have killed the king at once, but if not, he would have fallen unconscious and quickly died.
Dagger wounds were found to the cheek and chin, and there was also a slice to the base of the skull. These were not fatal wounds and may have been done after death to disfigure the king.
Cut to the rib
Cut to right rib: This was likely done after King Richard III was dead and stripped. The cut went down to the bone and could likely not have been done through full armor.
Slice to pelvis: This was likely done postmortem, as it goes right down to the wound. Leicester University suggested that it was from a sword thrust through the buttock — a real humiliation wound.
King Richard III’s missing feet
Missing feet: A Victorian-era outhouse was built very close to the remains. The Richard III team believe that when the foundations went in, they smashed off the feet. Had the outhouse been built a few feet further on, Richard III’s remains would have been lost forever.