DNA reveals a break in the royal lineage. According to the BBC, this could cast doubt on the Tudor line or Richard III’s claim to the throne.
The BBC and Nature Communications delve deep into all the nitty-gritty biological reasons for this, but to summarize quickly: Scientists were able to match the maternal side of Richard III’s DNA (the X chromosome) to two living relatives of Richard’s eldest sister, Anne of York. Both Michael Ibsen and Wendy Dulig, 14th cousins and descendants of the House of York, have the same extremely rare genetic lineage as the skeleton found in the parking lot.
The male side (the Y chromosome) is where things get tricky.
The skeleton’s DNA does not match the Y chromosomes of living heirs of the fifth Duke of Beaufort, a descendent of John of Gaunt (all the aforementioned men are descendants of Edward III—you can find a helpful family tree here). The Tudors also descend from John of Gaunt. The lack of Y chromosome consistency between the DNA in the skeleton and of the Duke of Beaufort’s heirs means that, somewhere down the line between Edward III and Richard III, there was a “false paternity event”—aka, an act infidelity. If this event happened along either the Richard III or Henry Tudor (later known as Henry VII) branches of Edward III’s family tree, their lineage’s claims to the throne could be false.