Royal Bodies and Lesser Mortals
Nash examines the “blockbuster exhumation” of Richard III and its effect on the public imagination. He emphasises the new techniques, especially DNA and tomography.
He covers fear of superstitious reprisal, chance findings, the role of the Society of Antiquaries, and the revelations of exhumation, such as embalming, remains of costume, jewels, and regalia in tombs. The question of tomb theft and the keeping of “souvenirs” is a current theme, representing a temptation to all classes in society.
Nash stresses that there is not exhumation for its own sake but for adequate and good reason and the reluctance to allow multiple examinations of bodies.
In all the exhumations, Nash considers the “back stories” of the individuals involved.