Feature

Richard III’s blood relation

Michael Ibsen is related to one of history’s greatest villains.

Michael Ibsen is related to one of history’s greatest villains, said Lauren Collins in The New Yorker. The Canadian-born furniture-maker is the 17th-generation nephew of England’s King Richard III—famously portrayed by Shakespeare as a hunchbacked child-killer. He became aware of his royal blood seven years ago, when a British historian called his mother to notify her that she was a direct matrilineal descendant of Richard’s sister, Anne of York. “We knew my mother came from an upper-class family, but that was it,” says Ibsen, 55. When his mother died, in 2008, Ibsen forgot about his noble heritage. But in September researchers from the University of Leicester asked for a swab of his DNA to compare with a skeleton they’d unearthed from a local parking lot, where Richard’s tomb is thought to have once stood. The corpse showed signs of scoliosis and injuries consistent with those the king sustained at the Battle of Bosworth, where he died in 1485. Since handing over his DNA, Ibsen has felt oddly protective of his much-hated ancestor. “If there’s a DNA link to the bones, it will have fairly profound emotional consequences,” he says. “I’m disinclined to believe Richard was the nasty, evil person that history would have him be. But I would say that. Whom would you rather be related to?”

Recommended

Why thousands of Haitians arrived in Texas on Mexican Independence Day
Haitian migrants at southern border
Haitian migrants

Why thousands of Haitians arrived in Texas on Mexican Independence Day

Taliban official says executions will return
A Taliban official in front of a flag.
today's taliban

Taliban official says executions will return

DHS says it 'is not and will not send' Haitian migrants to Guantanamo Bay
Haitian migrants at southern border
Haitian migrants

DHS says it 'is not and will not send' Haitian migrants to Guantanamo Bay

Kabul's holdover mayor says he finds Taliban 'more tolerant'
Taliban fighters.
afghanistan

Kabul's holdover mayor says he finds Taliban 'more tolerant'

Most Popular

Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman almost make it through interview without awkwardness
Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman
Last Night on Late Night

Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman almost make it through interview without awkwardness

Democrats are governing like Republicans
A donkey.
Picture of W. James Antle IIIW. James Antle III

Democrats are governing like Republicans

After Biden huddles, Democrats moderately optimistic about passing progressive agenda
Joe Biden
Dems in Disarray

After Biden huddles, Democrats moderately optimistic about passing progressive agenda