And thus was invented the chastity belt
(BBC News) - Analysis of DNA from Richard III has thrown up a surprise: evidence of infidelity in his family tree.
Scientists who studied genetic material from remains found in a Leicester car park say the finding might have profound historical implications.
Depending on where in the family tree it occurred, it could cast doubt on the Tudor claim to the English throne or, indeed, on Richard's.
The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.
But it remains unknown when the break, or breaks, in the family lineage occurred.
In 2012, scientists extracted genetic material from the remains discovered on the former site of Greyfriars Abbey, where Richard was interred after his death in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
|The curvature in the spine of "Skeleton 1", later confirmed |
as Richard, was obvious during its excavation.
Their analysis shows that DNA passed down on the maternal side matches that of living relatives, but genetic information passed down on the male side does not.
However, there are a wealth of other details linking the body to the Plantagenet king.
"If you put all the data together, the evidence is overwhelming that these are the remains of Richard III," said Dr Turi King from Leicester University, who led the study.
Speaking at a news briefing at the Wellcome Trust in London, she said that the lack of a match on the male side was not unexpected; Dr King's previous research has shown there is a 1-2% rate of "false paternity" per generation.
The instance of female infidelity, or cuckolding, could have occurred anywhere in the numerous generations separating Richard III from the 5th Duke of Beaufort (1744-1803), whose living descendants provided samples of male-line DNA to be compared against that of Richard.
"We may have solved one historical puzzle, but in so doing, we opened up a whole new one," Prof Kevin Schurer, who was the genealogy specialist on the paper, told BBC News.
Investigation of the male genealogy focused on the Y chromosome, a package of DNA that is passed down from father to son, much like a surname. Most living male heirs of the 5th Duke of Beaufort were found to carry a relatively common Y chromosome type, which is different from the rare lineage found in the car park remains.
Richard III and his royal rival, Henry Tudor (later Henry VII), were both descendants of King Edward III. The infidelity could, in theory, have occurred either on the branch leading back from Henry to Edward or on the branch leading from Richard to Edward.
Henry's ancestor John of Gaunt was plagued by rumours of illegitimacy throughout his life, apparently prompted by the absence of Edward III at his birth. He was reportedly enraged by gossip suggesting he was the son of a Flemish butcher.
"Hypothetically speaking, if John of Gaunt wasn't Edward III's son, it would have meant that (his son) Henry IV had no legitimate claim to the throne, nor Henry V, nor Henry VI," said Prof Schurer.Read More . . . .
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