Then, last September, archaeologists searching for Richard dug up the skeleton of an adult male who appeared to have died in battle. There were signs of trauma to the skull, perhaps from a bladed instrument, and a barbed metal arrowhead was found between vertebrae of the upper back.
The remains also displayed signs of scoliosis, which is a form of spinal curvature, consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard's appearance, though not with Shakespeare's description of him as "deform'd, unfinished," hunchback.
The university has said the findings amount to "strong circumstantial evidence" that the remains are Richard's.
Since the discovery, researchers have been conducting scientific tests, including radiocarbon dating to determine the skeleton's age. They also have compared its DNA with samples taken from a London cabinet-maker identified as a 17th great-grand-nephew of the king's elder sister.
Pidgeon said she hopes a new flurry of interest will help redress the "Tudor propaganda" that has stained Richard's reputation for centuries. The best-known accounts of his reign were written long after his death, during the rule of his archenemies, the Tudors.
To this day, the Tudors remain more famous and more glamorous -- especially Henry VII's son, the much-married Henry VIII.
"With Henry VIII you've got six wives, sex and things going on," Pidgeon acknowledged. "It's a bit hard to compete with that when you are a bit more straight-laced, as Richard was."