Just one missing word mars a conclusion

I have recently perused the critical pages (180-191) of Michael Hicks’ latest work: “The Family of Richard III”, relating to the evidence of the remains found in the former Greyfriars.

He states that the mitochondrial DNA evidence only shows that the remains are of an individual related to Richard III. He doesn’t admit that the Y-chromosome tests prove the existence of at least one “milkman” between Edward III and either Richard III or (more probably) the family of today’s Duke of Beaufort. He states further that the other physical evidence only shows a man of the right age group, with scoliosis who died in battle at any time in the right century – suggesting Lord Richard de la Pole as a random alternative, although we know where he was buried (the Augustine Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro) and there is no evidence whatsoever that he could have been moved since 1525, apart from him being at least a decade older than his uncle at death. John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, also suggested, was seven years younger than Richard III.

The missing word is “and”, whereas “or” is widely implied. Take the set of people known to share Richard III’s mtDNA, as per point one, descended from Catherine de Roet or her sisters, her brothers having died either too early or at too great an age. Take the set of 25-40 year-old men with scoliosis who ate a good diet and died in battle from 1450-1530, as per point three, excluding those who are known or widely believed to be buried elsewhere. Now, because the evidence really is mutually supporting, look at the intersection, not the union, of those two sets – as demonstrated in Appendix 1 of Ashdown-Hill’s “The Mythology of Richard III” (pp.176-181) – it leaves only Richard III himself and very few obscure relatives who probably died in infancy.

What really disappoints me is that I expected some serious counter-evidence, such as Lady de Roet’s identity or, better still, that of her mother, allowing us to identify and investigate more of Richard’s hitherto unknown cousins. It doesn’t, although it does (p.190) identify that Catherine de Roet bore Swynford and Beaufort sons so close together as to create confusion (see the Y-chromosome reference). Once again, has Hicks hedged his bets by conceding the opposing case in the middle of a paragraph?Hicksosaurus

By super blue

Grandson of a Town player.


  1. It is possible in theory that the sceleton discovered in the place where Greyfriars existed until XVI c. did not belong to Richard. Some unknown man related to King in strange way was in the same age, had a scoliosis, was short and slim, was killed in the battle near Leicester in the end of XV c., in the moment of his death he fought without a horse, was buried under the choir of Greyfriars without any coffin and even any shroud. And happily yet the reconstruction of his face resembled the face on Richard,s portraits. By me – too many coincidences:)) Is Mr Hicks sure that it is really possible? What yet do the historians persisting in idea that Richard was hunchback, ugly, old, bad etc. invent?


    1. Hicks is probably particularly upset because he insisted that Richard’s remains had been dug up by an angry mob and dumped into the river, showing how hated he was – in spite of evidence that this was just a myth created centuries later by a man who made an error in his research and tried to explain why the bones were not where he believed they would be. And now the discovery of Richard’s remains proved him emphatically wrong and Ashdown-Hill, Langley, Baldwin and others right. It’s sad how some people won’t admit they were wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed, to the point of insulting archaeologists, geneticists, osteologists, and weapons experts who were themselves leery to begin with (as it seemed so impossible to find Richard) but quickly changed their tune as the evidence mounted and mounted. My Hicks is what…a historian. He has no specialty in any of the above fields so needs to keep quiet until he does. As for his comment about ‘everyone knows Richard had black hair and dark eyes’…if it were anyone else but Hicks, I’d be saying ‘This must be a joke.’

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “everyone knows Richard had black hair and dark eyes”

        Ooooo….is anybody who saw Richard? Except may be Mr Hicks…:)))))

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wasn’t Hicks also the historian who insisted in his book about Anne Neville that Richard and Anne were married without a papal dispensation, and therefore were incestuously married? Then of course the dispensation showed up in the Vatican archives… but I may be mis-remembering…


    1. Correct – it was Marie Barnfield who blew him up on that point by also proving that marriage does not connect the bride’s family to the groom’s family, or that affinity does not beget affinity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Were related people not incestuosly married if they got a papal dispensation? By law obviously not but it was true that they were cousins:)) All high class in England in XVI c. was related and Mr Hicks knows about it very well. Even a marriage of an uncle with his nice would not be strange for contemporaries


    1. I disagree with your point about uncle/niece marriages. Unlike the Austro-Spanish Royal House where blood related uncle/niece marriages were relatively common, I cannot think of any such marriages in the English Royal House. I think that the rumour of Richard contemplating marriage with his niece was circulated precisely because it would have been viewed by the English as shocking, and therefore would add to negative feelings about him.


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