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Wednesday 20 August 2014

'Real face' of Richard III unveiled

Published 05/02/2013 | 04:46

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The face of King Richard III
Janice Aitkin, of Dundee University, explains how she was involved in the reconstruction of the face of King Richard III
The skull and bones which have been confirmed as the remains of King Richard III (PA/University of Leicester)

A facial reconstruction of Richard III has been unveiled showing the last Plantagenet king as a "living and breathing" monarch following the discovery of his skeleton in a council car park.

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The bust shows Richard, who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, with a large chin and nose, thin lips and prominent cheekbones and one shoulder higher than the other - as suggested by his spinal curvature.

The scientific reconstruction was created by experts at Dundee University, based on a CT scan of the remains which were found in an archaeological dig in September in the choir of the Greyfriars Church.

The discovery, one of the most dramatic archaeological finds in recent history, has been confirmed "beyond reasonable doubt" to be that of the king.

Richard III enthusiasts hailed the reconstruction as revealing a "more pleasant" looking Richard than those of contemporary portraits and "far removed" from the image of the cold-blooded villain portrayed by Shakespeare.

Dr Phil Stone, chairman of the Richard III Society, spoke of the "smears, innuendos and myths" suffered by Richard following his death

"This shows the face of a man who has lain for more than 500 years in a shallow grave in the Greyfriars Church and who is now known to be an anointed medieval king - the 'king in the car park' as he has become known," he said.

The reconstruction was scientifically created by Caroline Wilkinson, professor of craniofacial identification at the University of Dundee, using a CT scan and later "humanised" by painting and adding features such as brows and lashes by Janice Aitken, a lecturer at the University of Dundee's Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.

Sarah Levitt, head of arts and museums for Leicester City Council, said the reconstruction showed "superb craftsmanship" and will be on display at the King Richard III visitor centre when it opens next year in the city.

The remains of Richard III will be reinterred early next year in a Christian-led ecumenical service at Leicester Cathedral.

Press Association

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