The University of Leicester is destroying parts of Richard III’s skeleton, a historian has claimed. Dr John Ashdown-Hill says it is ethically wrong to continue testing the remains, discovered underneath a city centre car park in 2012, as part of research to find out more about the king’s genetic make-up. Defending its decision, the university said the tests will “shed light on the ancestry and health of the last king of England to die in battle, and… provide a complete archive of information that historians, scientists and the public will be able to access and use”.
How to be a king: letter of advice sent to George III to go on display for first time
A letter of advice on how to be a king, sent to the future George III by his father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, is to go on display for the first time. The previously unseen letter, written in 1749, urges the future king to avoid war, ease the tax burden and not to trust flatterers. It will go on show at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in April, as part of a new exhibition titled The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy 1714–1760.
Oldest Holocaust survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer, dies at 110
In other news, the world’s oldest known Holocaust survivor has died aged 110. Alice Herz-Sommer, who lived in London, died on Sunday morning. Ms Herz-Sommer spent two years in a Nazi concentration camp in Theresienstadt after being born into a Jewish family in Prague in 1903. She was a renowned concert pianist who was recently the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life.
Lost Bonnie Prince Charlie portrait found
A lost portrait of Charles Edward Stuart, popularly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, has been discovered in Scotland. The portrait, which dates to 1745, the year Charles launched his ill-fated invasion of England, was painted by Scottish artist, Allan Ramsay. Painted in Holyrood Palace, it has for over 250 years remained almost entirely unseen in a collection at Gosford House, just outside Edinburgh. It is the only portrait of Charles to have been painted in Britain.
Last effects of First World War soldiers to be made available online
Members of the public will soon be able to explore online handwritten records detailing the last pounds, shillings and pence belonging to thousands of British soldiers who died in the First World War. The Soldiers’ Effects ledgers, created by the War Office to record the monies owing to soldiers who died while serving in the British Army, are currently held in the National Army Museum’s archives in giant, leather-bound registers. From early 2015, the records will be made available at family history website, Ancestry.co.uk.