Research by Dr Turi King, University of Leicester geneticist, into the ancestry of King Richard III

Posted by ap507 at Mar 25, 2015 08:20 PM |
New evidence uncovered of another break in the male lineage to be revealed at the Science Museum on 25 March

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 25 March 2015


Contact to request images.

In December 2014, the University of Leicester's DNA research in the King Richard III case showed that there was a break in the Y chromosome line.  You can access that earlier research here.

This indicated that a false paternity or paternities (where the father is not the recorded father) had taken place in the 19 generations separating Richard III from Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, the common ancestor of the living male-line relatives tested.

We didn’t know where this break occurred but it was interesting as a break in certain points in the tree would have implications for the historical monarchy: the Lancastrian and Yorkist Plantagenet kings and, indirectly, the Tudors.

Professor Kevin Schürer and I were approached by Patrice de Warren who could trace his male line to Richard through Geoffrey, the Count of Anjou.  This was very exciting and as a result of the research we are revealing new information at the Science Museum into the ancestry of Richard III.

If Patrice de Warren’s Y chromosome matched that of Richard III, then this would mean that the break in the Y chromosome line occurred somewhere between Edward III and Henry Somerset.  If it matched the Somerset line, then it would mean the break occurred between Edward III and Richard III.  In short, it would help narrow down where the break in the line took place.

As it happens, it’s revealed that another false paternity seems to have occurred in the tree as his Y chromosome type doesn’t match either of them!  The hunt continues, and another mystery has arisen!

My work forms part of a new exhibit at the Science Museum in London, which reveals the latest scientific discoveries about the life, death and DNA of King Richard III. It features analysis of Richard III’s genome, a 3D printed skeleton and a prototype coffin and opens on 25 March 2015, the day before the reinterment of his remains in Leicester.

My findings do not impact on the modern monarchy at all. Obviously the way the monarchy is transmitted is not a straightforward line down through the generations – there are many twists and turns.  However, there are implications for the historical monarchy and it has opened up a new mystery to solve.

This research is significant because there has been real interest in where the break in the male line occurs.  It could impact on the historical monarchy and we have tried to narrow down where the break occurs.  Our research with Patrice offered a new opportunity - but we still don't know where the break occurs.

I and my colleague Professor Kevin Schürer are now approaching other relevant people in order to trace their ancestries and to discover whether these shed more light on breaks in the lineage that impact on the historical monarchy.


Notes to Editors:

You can access the Science Museum press release here:

To arrange interviews with Dr Turi King to discuss this research, please contact Ellen Rudge:; tel 0116 229 7467

For more information and images from the Science Museum event please contact Will Stanley in the Science Museum Press Office on 020 7942 4429 or via

Share this page: