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Finding truth takes too long.

Byline: FIONNUALA BOURKE Write to Fionnuala Bourke, Sunday Mercury, Floor 6, Fort Dunlop, Fort Parkway, Birmingham, B24 9FF or email

HAD a hunch it would be him.

IBut isn't it ironic that Richard III - famous for pleading "My horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse" - was fi-nally identified by DN-neigh? It's hardly been two weeks since a virtually identical joke was doing the rounds when we discovered beefburgers were stuffed with horsemeat.

But, unlike the frozen supermarket products, the fascinating find of the monarch in a Midland car park is expected to reveal a sweeter side to his much maligned character.

Thanks to Shakespeare, Richard III has long been painted as a cruel despot with a bent back who murdered his own nephews, Edward, aged 12, and Richard, aged nine, to claim the crown.

Following confirmation that the remains dug up by archaeologists in Leicester were those of the last Plantagenet King, it has been suggested that local social workers may now start proceedings to care for the young princes, as it was their car park he was found lying under.

The King fell to his death on the spot 528 years ago when he was slain during the Battle of Bosworth.

It currently costs PS18.50 a day to park in Leicester.

And there have been calls for the financially challenged local authority to approach the Queen to cover the costs of his interment for the 192,649 days he lay there. That's PS3,564,006.50, please.

The figure equates to the cost of 142 policemen, 132 nurses or 137 social workers for a year.

Others have suggested that Chris Huhne's wife might like to pay.

Outdoor stores in Leicester have also been spotted trying to cash in on the find, with notices in their window declaring: "Now Is The Winter Of Our Discount Tents."

Archaeologists now believe that Richard III had a Brummie accent.

It's further believed that he was spinning in his grave when heard all the muck that was being raked up about him by Shakespeare.

The Bard of Avon penned his play about the King 100 years after his death and many believe Shakespeare got his portrayal of him as a jealous, scheming monster dramatically wrong.

Shakespeare enjoyed the patronage of the monarchs of his day, Queen Elizabeth I and James I, and their interests would not have been served if he painted Crookbacked Dick as a hero.

It has taken more than five centuries to begin to unearth the truth about Rich-ard III.

But having people in authority trying to cover up the truth is not a historical problem - as the findings of the public inquiry into the failings at Stafford Hospital have just shown. Years of abuse and neglect at the hospital led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of patients. And inquiry chairman, Robert Francis QC, said the failings went right to the top of the health service.

It is the fifth major investigation into what happened at the health unit.

Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for the "truly dreadful" mistreatment and neglect of patients, and announced the creation of a Chief Inspector of Hospitals.

Mistakes Recommendations called for NHS staff to face prosecution if they are not open and honest about mistakes. And those staff who fail to adhere to basic standards that lead to death or serious harm could also face criminal proceedings.

The inquiry further found that while it was well-known that the trust management ignored patients' complaints, local GPs and MPs also failed to speak up for them.

But the biggest scandal was that the report didn't blame anyone in particular for the "disaster" at the hospital.

Maybe we'll have to wait 500 years to dig up the whole truth.


DISCOVERY: The real skull of Richard III and a reconstruction of his face
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 10, 2013
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