NEW PATERNITY ISSUES IN THE WAR OF THE ROSES. According to this article in the Guardian by Maev Kennedy, DNA tests have confirmed that the skeleton recently found in Leicester, England is that of Richard III: “Richard’s identity was proved by his mitochondrial DNA, handed down in an unbroken chain through the female line from his sister to two living relatives….” As a demonstration of what DNA evidence can do, there is a charming picture accompanying the article of the two living descendants—14th cousins twice removed on the maternal side—of Richard’s eldest sister Anne of York. One was born in Australia and the other in Canada.
The DNA results for the Y chromosomes which trace the line of descent for the father’s side raise substantial paternity issues. This article by Paul Rincon on the BBC News website explains the possibilities of royal scandal. The although the DNA passed down on the maternal side matches that of living relatives, …[the]… genetic information passed down on the male side does not”. There is a “false paternity”. If the false paternity occurred in the branch leading from Edward III to Richard III, then his claim to the throne would not be legitimate. If the false paternity occurred in the branch leading from Edward III to Henry Tudor (Henry VII), then the Tudor claims to the throne would not be legitimate. It is also possible that the false paternity occurred in later generations and would have no implications for claims to the throne.