Benedict Cumberbatch relives Richard III reinterment in new interview

Benedict Cumberbatch has described the moment he received an email from the University advising him he was related to King Richard III.

In an interview with Radio Times magazine, ahead of his appearance as the last Plantagenet King in the final two episodes of BBC2's The Hollow Crown on Saturday 14 and 21 May, he said: "It was an extraordinary bit of serendipity, as I was literally dressed as Shakespeare's version of Richard III when I received an email from Leicester University saying that I was a not-altogether-ridiculously-distant descendant of Richard."

He continued: "I'm a third cousin 16 times removed, which is still distant, but puts me ahead of an awful lot of other people. I was asked to read the poem (Richard) written for the occasion by Carol Ann Duffy at the reinterment in Leicester Cathedral. To have been present when Richard III found his resting place was moving. I was at the burial of a king."

Kevin Schürer, Professor of English Local History in our School of History,  who was instrumental in tracking down modern day relatives of Richard III, revealed the link to Benedict last year, noting him and Richard to actually be second cousins, 16 times removed.

The actor, best known for his role as Sherlock Holmes, is linked to the King in several ways, but in terms of number of generations, the shortest link is via Richard’s mother, Cecily Neville’s grandmother Joan Beaufort.

More information about Benedict Cumberbatch's relationship to Richard III can be found in an article published by Dr Turi King on The Conversation