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/ 04 Feb 2013

The Skeletons that belong to a King

It was to an applauding press conference that archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, revealed that: “Beyond reasonable doubt it’s Richard.”

Buckley was, of course, referring to the skeleton that had been discovered underneath a Leicester car park. More importantly, he was referring to King Richard III, the last king of the House of York; the last of the Plantagenet dynasty who died in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field, the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses; the last English King to die on English soil!

The last known information provided by History and legend is that the King had been buried in “Greyfriars Church” in Leicester. However, this 16th century church was subsequently destroyed and eventually forgotten, and the area in which it stood was ne’er found…. until now.

For someone in Richard’s position who lived during this epoch of gory battles for power and glory, he probably never had to concern himself with writing a will. If he died in peace-time, he had successors to the throne, whether they were his legitimate children or specifically chosen nephews; if he died in battle, the victor would claim the right to the throne (and woe betide any who cometh in his way).

Unfortunately (actually, fortunately) we live in relatively peaceful times in which we can expect to live long, healthy lives. We can plan ahead not just for ourselves, but for our families and for our children, ensuring their financial stability and support. We can provide certainty for our relatives as to what we want to happen with our estate once we have gone.

Astonishingly, however, in 2011 only three out of ten people in the UK had made a will. In 2010, the Treasury gained £53m from people who had died without a will – in 2009 it had gained £76m. This was simply due to people forgetting to make a will, or simply not getting round to it.

Who knows, perhaps King Richard III had made an appointment with his solicitor for the week after the battle to draft his will. I suppose we will never know. Nevertheless, on a day like today, where we are reunited with the remains of a King, lost to us for so long, let it also remind us of our mortality and, most definitely, the importance of making a will.

If you want to make a will do call us and ask to speak to one of the Wills, Probate & Trusts team on 020 7228 0017 or email us on: info@hanne.co.uk

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