Sunday, 3 February 2013
I can't think of a precedent for what's going to happen tomorrow. Tomorrow we shall learn whether the male remains found at the former Greyfriar's Priory site in Leicester are those of the late King Richard III. For all those interested in the Wars of the Roses and for those with an interest in King Richard in particular it is an understatement to say it's going to be an interesting day! Regardless of whether the remains are those of this controversial king, it's a great day for archaeology, highlighting the use of modern methods and techniques not only for identification purposes, but also for the reconstruction of the facial features of the deceased. Although the techniques are now much improved I can remember being excited about a BBC television series which began in 1998 presented by Julian Richards, which sought to 'Meet the Ancestors' using facial reconstruction and I notice the Leicester team are employing the services of Dr Caroline Wilkinson a CRFP registered facial anthropologist/forensic artist who worked on the series in their reconstruction of 'Richard'. I was always fascinated by her work of 'bringing the dead to life' and as a writer of Historical Fiction set in the Wars of the Roses this time I am doubly so!
My current WIP is set in 1470, and Richard features only slightly, in a supporting role to his brother Edward IV as he is exiled and then tries to reclaim his crown from the Earl of Warwick acting for Henry VI, but Richard will feature much more strongly in the follow-up to that and to have one of Caroline's reconstructions would be awesome! Not only will we know what his face was like we should also learn more about any illnesses he may have had as well as his build and stature and more insight into how he died at Bosworth and whether any injuries were inflicted post mortem as was reported in the chronicles of the time. All wonderful stuff for an author about to start a novel covering those events and featuring the 'much-maligned king'!