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COLLINS: A corpse! A kingdom for a corpse!

  • Undated photo made available by the University of Leicester, England, Monday Feb. 4 2013 of the remains found underneath a car park last September at the Grey Friars excavation in Leicester, which have been declared Monday "beyond reasonable doubt" to be the long lost remains of England's King Richard III, missing for 500 years. Richard was immortalized in a play by Shakespeare as a hunchbacked usurper who left a trail of bodies — including those of his two young nephews, murdered in the Tower of London — on his way to the throne. (AP Photo/ University of Leicester)

Richard III is staging a comeback.

A skeleton identified as the last Plantagenet king of England was recently discovered underneath a city parking lot in Leicester. Richard III fans feel as though this is the start of a totally new career chapter.

"Now we can rebury him with honor," said Philippa Langley, a leading figure in the Richard III Society, which is dedicated to the rehabilitation of the 15th-century monarch, who's lived on in history as the villain in a Shakespeare play. Doing a round of TV interviews, Langley told CNN that the Richard she knows is "a guy who's loyal, brave, pious and just."

There's always time to turn your life around! Even when you're dead! People, what could be more American? Except for the part about how it's all happening in Britain.

Getting Richard out from under the parking lot was just the beginning. The society's website is chock-full of information about his efforts "to provide justice for all, including the poor and the vulnerable," as well as his work as a "talented administrator" and patron of the printing industry. This guy would make an excellent ruler today, or at the very least a credible governor of Wisconsin.

Langley has also written a screenplay about Richard and his achievements — all of which, by the way, had to be accomplished during a two-year reign. The movie doesn't appear to have its financing yet, but a newspaper in Scotland, where the writer lives, reported that the lead role has been offered to the actor who played dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield in the Hobbit movies, and "has also starred in a number of television series including &amp;&lsquo;Spooks,' &amp;&lsquo;Robin Hood' and the &amp;&lsquo;Vicar of Dibley.'<TH>"

I am telling you that last part just because I enjoy writing the "Vicar of Dibley."

Anyhow, what's left of Richard has been lying in solemn dignity on a black velvet cushion in the library of the University of Leicester, preparing for the next phase. His stock appears to be soaring. The cities of Leicester and York are already flinging petitions at each other, battling for the honor of hosting the next burial.

This is an excellent lesson in the importance of keeping your metaphorical chin up. Sure, you can lose your kingdom in the Battle of Bosworth Field, get smashed on the head with a halberd, stabbed all over the place by grudge-bearing soldiers, dumped in a hole in the ground and then ultimately become subject of an exceedingly unflattering play.

But there's still the chance of a turnaround. And, really, it could happen to anyone:


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