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A Parking Spot Fit for a King

If by chance you’ve ever parked a car in Leicester, England, you might have been standing on top of royalty.

Scientists there recently confirmed that remains of a body found buried under a parking lot are, in fact, those of King Richard III. The reviled king holds a special place in English history as both the last Plantagenet king, occupying the throne before the Tudors took power, and of being the man who imprisoned his nephews to take that throne for himself.

The final resting place of Richard III, who was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, was a mystery for more than 500 years until last August, when archeologists and historians asked to dig in a parking lot where records indicated a friary was likely located centuries before. Permission was granted, shovels hit dirt, and before long, the researchers uncovered human remains.

Once the skeleton was unearthed, initial examinations showed strong indications that it was the former king, including a fractured skull and curved spin, but DNA testing did not definitively prove it was Richard III until recently. In the meantime, hundreds of tourists have flocked to the former parking lot, which is now an historic site (go figure), to get a glimpse of the last resting place of a much-maligned monarch.

The story of a long-lost king found hundreds of years after his death beneath a parking lot is a great example of the way history and parking are often intertwined and how parking can be a daily adventure. For more on the discovery check out these articles:

Richard III: The mystery of the king and the car parking lot.

Body found under parking lot is King Richard III, scientists prove.

Just think: what might you find beneath your parking spot?



About T.J. Cantwell

T.J. Cantwell is membership director of the International Parking Institute.


  1. The idea of Richard III being buried under a parking lot seems to have brought out the parking poets among us. Keith Ehrensing from Portland noted that this poem showed up in his local paper:

    “In a parking lot, Richard the Third,
    For five hundred years was interred.
    The question, all say,
    is did the king pay,
    all the fees, or were they deferred?”

    Bob Furniss in our office couldn’t let that pass unanswered, so he penned the following:

    “Of course he should pay
    And do so today
    With interest and fines accrued.

    He may have been King
    But that don’t mean a thing
    We’re talking parking here, dude!”

    Poor Richard III — if Bob had made him pay up, it really would have been the winter of his discontent!

    (Shakespeare’s play, Richard III: “Now is the winter of our discontent.”)

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