He was one of the most privileged men of his era but that did not stop him suffering from the most common of conditions.
Analysis of the remains of Richard III, King of England from 1483-1485, has revealed he suffered from worms.
The controversial monarch’s remains were found under a car park in Leicester, UK, last year, in what was hailed as one of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries in English history.
Cambridge University, who have examined the king’s skeleton, said they found multiple roundworm eggs in the soil around his pelvis.
Jo Appleby, of the University of Leicester, said roundworms were very common at the time.
She added: “It might seem surprising that Richard – who had a very noble background – was infected with roundworm, but this is something that you can pick up very easily through faecal contamination.”
Roundworms infect humans when people ingest their eggs via contaminated food, water or soil.
Once eaten, the eggs hatch into larvae, which migrate through the body to the lungs, where they mature. They then crawl up the airways to the throat to be swallowed back into the intestines.
They can grow into adults around a foot long.
The condition, rare in the UK today, is spread by faecal contamination of food by dirty hands.
The discovery of Richard III – one of the most reviled and divisive kings in English history when he was alive – has split opinion.
A legal row has developed over where the exhumed king should be reintered.
Richard, depicted by William Shakespeare as a deformed tyrant who murdered his two young nephews to strengthen his grip on power, died during the War of the Roses.
The 30-year civil war was a dynastic power struggle between two rival Plantagenet factions. Richard’s death ended Plantagenet rule and heralded the start of the Tudor era under King Henry VII.