Off topic: Richard III

I've been fascinated following the unfolding story of the 'King in the car park', or to the less sensationalist the finding of the skeleton of King Richard III under a car park in Leicester. Richard III has always been one of my favourite Kings, a funny thing to say as most people know him for murdering his nephews in the Tower of London. But I'm very much in the Richard III Society camp, in believing that he has suffered badly from negative Tudor and Shakespearean propaganda, and is nothing like as wicked as they would have you believe. I also hold Josephine Tey and her fantastic The Daughter of Time, one of my favourite books, as partly responsible for my views. If you've not read it you should, its fantastic, its history and a detective story in one - you can't beat it.

Anyway back to the archaeology, I was listening to BBC Radio 4 last night, who were interviewing celebrity historian Dan Snow about the find. When asked if people were getting over excited about the find, he answered 'I get fairly excited at the opening of a medieval envelope, so you're not really asking the right guy' - love it! 

What I found fascinating is that they have used the skull to rebuild what Richard III face would look like.

And, well its not that dissimilar to some of the portraits of Richard III, although without some of the rather unflattering physical characteristics that later historians gave him, like the withered arm, although there is some evidence of scoliosis (curving of the spine).

So, delighted as I am that Richard III is getting a much needed reburial, maybe he will also get some historical reappraisal as well. But then as Josephine Tey showed this has been going on for centuries, and as Dan Snow said last night is being 'fought in the archives, and fought in the streets' - hum, not to sure I want any fighting in my archives, even for such a cause!