Richard I of England’s heart was preserved with mercury and tar before being “sweetened” with herbs to make it smell nice after his death, researchers have found.
Forensic scientists analysed the organ of the king – called The Lionheart – after removing his remains from a church in France where part of his body was laid to rest.
They found that embalmers preparing him for burial after death had used mercury and tar-like creosote to preserve the heart.
The organ had then been daubed with frankincense, myrtle, daisy and mint to make it smell sweet, before it was wrapped in linen and placed in a lead-lined box.
Forensic expert Philippe Charlier, who led the team that carried out the research, said there may have been an attempt to make the body part holier.
He said: “We found things that we didn’t expect.
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