The face of Richard III was unveiled on the Channel 4 documentary "Richard III: The King in the Car Park."
His face was reconstructed from the skull found beneath a social services car park that was confirmed as that of the last Plantagenet king.
Revealed: This is the face of King Richard III, reconstructed from 3D scans of his skull after the positive identification of his skeleton found beneath a social services car part in Leicester last year. Archaeologists discovered Richard III's skeleton in September on the spot where a church once stood.
The facial reconstruction was released following the confirmation that the skeleton unearthed in Leicester was that of the king killed in battle more than 500 years ago.
The image is based on a CT scan taken by experts at the University of Leicester, who discovered the king's skeleton with the help of the Richard III Society during an archaeological dig last September. Richard was buried in Greyfriars Church in Leicester with his hands bound together after his death in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Ten years later, Henry VII, the victor of the battle, paid for a tomb 'of many-coloured marble' to be built, the location of which, until Richard's skeleton was found in September, was a mystery. The tomb is presumed to have been demolished along with the Church following its dissolution after 1536. Today a social services car park occupies the spot.
The facial reconstruction was officially unveiled on 5th February, but it was broadcast on 4th February - the day that Leicester University confirmed that the skeleton is that of Richard III - in the Channel 4 documentary on the find.
It reveals the controversial king had a more pleasant, younger and fuller appearance than period portraits reveal - a face far removed from the image of the cold-blooded villain of Shakespeare's play.
The 'calm and apparently thoughtful' face is in contrast to the many portrayals of Richard III, showing contorted facial and bodily features some say were created for political reasons following his death.
However, with its slightly arched nose and prominent chin, the essential features of the slain king are largely similar to those shown in portraits of Richard, of whom no contemporary portraits exist.
Richard III was killed in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, deposed at the age of just 32 after just two years on the throne by the forces of Henry Tudor, who became King Henry VII, the first Tudor monarch.
His body was discovered in a shallow grave just 2ft beneath the concrete car park following a search instigated by Philippa Langley, a member of the Richard III Society.
'It doesn't look like the face of a tyrant. I'm sorry but it doesn't,' she told the documentary on the search last night. 'He's very handsome. It's like you could just talk to him, have a conversation with him right now.'
Posthumous portrait: With its arched nose and prominent chin, the features are similar to those shown in this picture of Richard painted in 1520, 35 years after his death
Historian and author John Ashdown-Hill, an expert on Richard III's reign, told the BBC that the reconstruction largely matched the prominent features in posthumous representations of the king.
'All the surviving portraits of him - even the very later ones with humped backs and things which were obviously later additions - facially are quite similar [to each other] so it has always been assumed that they were based on a contemporary portrait painted in his lifetime or possibly several portraits painted in his lifetime,' he said.
The reconstruction comes after University of Leicester academics yesterday revealed the the king's remains bore the marks of ten injuries inflicted shortly before his death.
More gruesome, however, was evidence of ‘humiliation’ injuries, including a cut to the ribcage and a pelvic wound likely caused by an upward thrust of a weapon through his buttock whilst his corpse was being paraded on horseback after the battle.
However, what appeared to be a barbed iron arrow head lodged between two vertebrae is believed to be a Roman nail.
Richard III was found under a letter R
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Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 11th, 2013 at 12:25 PM..