The Slatest

What King Richard III’s Face (May Have) Looked Like

A facial reconstruction of King Richard III at the Richard III Society in London

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

As we explained yesterday, a team of British archaeologists announced Monday that they have positively identified a skeleton found last year underneath a parking lot in Leicester as the remains of legendary King Richard III. Today, brings us our first look at what the last Plantagenet king may have looked like. 

The Guardian has the back story on the photo you see above:     

The face was reconstructed from detailed scans of the skull by Caroline Wilkinson, professor of craniofacial identification at Dundee University, who has worked on many modern forensic cases. She did the initial work blind, without consulting contemporary descriptions or images. The skin colour and texture, eyes and hair were then added by Janice Aitken, of the university’s art college.     


The head was commissioned by the Richard III Society, and was unveiled at the Society of Antiquaries of London, which owns one of the oldest portraits of Richard, painted like the one in the National Portrait Gallery in Tudor times, but assumed to draw on a Plantagenet original. Since the bones can give no clue to hair and eye colouring, Aitken used the portraits for the final details, but based the stubbled ruddy cheeks on observation of 21st century men who spend a lot of time outdoors.


Meanwhile, other British academics are already at work trying to figure out what Richard sounded like.

Here’s a closer look at the mold:

The face of England’s King Richard III was revealed for the first time in more than 500 years on Tuesday following a reconstruction of his skeleton found underneath a parking lot

Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images