See the Face of Richard III

by | Sep 4, 2013 | The Postclassical Age (Medieval History)

This is cool.

King Richard III has been a subject of mystery for more than 500 years. Did he really murder his little nephews, “the Princes in the Tower”? Did he really have a hunchback? Was he as evil as the lead character in Shakespeare’s Richard III? The king’s death in 1485 put an end to the Plantagenet line, which had ruled since the 1154 coronation of Henry II — and opened the way for the Tudors and the modern English state. But it did little to end the controversy. In fact, there’s a Richard III Society to this day, founded in 1924 to un-blacken the king’s name — and there’s a word in the English language, “Ricardian,” for people who defend his  honor.

Well, now you can see Richard III’s face.

In 2012, researchers found the king’s long-lost resting place and dug up his skeleton. And then the Richard III Society used the skull to reconstruct some late medieval physiognomy. Click here to check it out (and scroll down, including for a video).

The linked article pretty much says it all, so I won’t go on and on, for once. But I have to point out: Richard’s skeleton has revealed more than a handsome visage. It turns out the king wasn’t a hunchback. He just had scoliosis.



© 2013 by David Carthage.


  1. Lisa Del Papa

    Amazing! Must be a fascinating job to be a “stereolithographer” too.

  2. ReaderWoman

    Did you notice as well, David, that he was said to have been riddled with roundworms? The whole thing is really fascinating… thanks for sharing this. Laura

    • David Carthage

      Yes, he probably had a worm living in his body, apparently a couple feet long! Tells you something about the Middle Ages, huh? This was the king — the guy with the best access in the whole country to hygienic food and medical treatment. Despite all the adventure, swordplay, and pageantry, I’m glad I live today!

      Apparently, the worm wouldn’t have caused Richard too much trouble. But he had to eat extra, because it took a chunk of his food. Ew.


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