Richard III: Suffered from Roundworm?

(Photo from The Telegraph)

So, something that should be known is that I am a history buff. My favourite period: late medieval. When they found Richard III's remains I am not ashamed to say that I waited online at school until 10 AM that day to hear if it was confirmed to be him. When it was I fangirled as I did when I watched 'Richard III: King in a Carpark'.

When I heard this though, my reaction was not celebration. According to the scientists who tested the soil where Richard III's remains were found in Leicester he would have suffered from roundworm, a type of parasite.

This is a disease spread "from faecal contamination of food" according to biological anthropologist Dr Piers Mitchell. This means that the food that the former king ate would have either been contaminated by the cooks who had not washed their hands properly after going to the toilet or by the use of human fertiliser. It was supposedly quite common and though I hate science, the historian in me cannot help but be interested.

Apparently Richard III would not have known he had it due to his nutritious diet which was explored when his remains were first discovered. Could it have been the reason for some of the rumours, such as the limp and weak arm? This opens so many doors to uncover the truth about this King and I can't wait to see where it takes us in our knowledge of this period.

Read the article here by the BBC

Watch the report here by the Telegraph


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