King Richard III face reconstructed to show what monarch looked like

Canadian 17th generation nephew Michael Ibsen poses alongside bust

Michael Ibsen, (L) a descendant of England's King Richard III, poses for pictures with a plastic facial model made from the recently discovered skull of the king, during a press conference in London, on February 5, 2013. (Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

British researchers have reconstructed the face of King Richard III to show the king’s likely features in a bust which was unveiled in London on Feb. 5.

The bust reveal was made on the day after scientists announced DNA evidence confirmed that a skeleton found under a parking lot in Leicester, England during an archeological dig was, indeed, that of Richard III.

Canadian Michael Ibsen, who is a 17th generation nephew of Richard III and whose DNA was used to help positively identify the remains, posed alongside the bust.

The bust was reconstructed by taking images of the skull and using a computer to add layers of muscle and skin. This computer model was then used to create a 3D model out of plastic. That plastic model was painted and other details, including eyes and a wig, were added, reports BBC News.

Richard III king of England, painting by an anonymous artist, no date. (Getty Images)

Richard ruled for just three years, from 1483 to 1485, until he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth, when he was just 32 years old. His skull showed two injuries to his head, which were “inflicted with a bladed weapon” and  likely ended his life.

There are surviving paintings of the king. But, those paintings are thought to have been painted after his death, not during his lifetime.

The facial reconstruction does look similar to paintings of the king, but professor Caroline Wilkinson tells BBC News that images of the king were not consulted during the bust creation process because, at the time, they did not yet have a positive DNA identification.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.