King Richard III's debaucherous lifestyle revealed

Facial reconstruction of Richard III shows how the English king might have looked
Facial reconstruction of Richard III shows how the English king might have looked

HIS daily diet included crane and egret, washed down with a bottle of wine.

The reign of Richard III only lasted two years but the king used that time to indulge a secret passion for the finer things in life, according to new research.

The monarch, depicted by William Shakespeare as a Machiavellian villain who murdered his way to the throne, enjoyed a debauched lifestyle of feasting and heavy drinking.

After ascending to the throne in 1483, he consumed copious amounts of wine and an array of rich food including exotic meats, freshwater fish such as pike, and birds such as swan and heron.

The findings of the research by experts from the British Geological Survey and the University of Leicester are shown in a new documentary, Richard III: The New Evidence.

Richard III's reign was cut short when he died during the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485. More than 500 years later, in 2012, his remains were found under the site of a car park in Leicester.

The discovery enabled researchers to conduct 21st-century scientific tests to reveal new insights into his life. Isotope analysis of bone and tooth samples was used to measure the levels of certain chemicals, such as strontium, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon and lead, which relate to geographical location, pollution and diet.

In a paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science today, researchers state: "Variations in Richard III's diet can be traced through his life using carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions."

The results of the analysis demonstrated a shift to "an increased proportion" of freshwater fish and wildfowl "in the latter part of his life".

The documentary shows a modern-day body double for the English king, 27-year-old Dominic Smee, from Staffordshire, who demonstrates that Richard III's curved spine would not have stopped him from being able to fight and ride in battle. Smee has a virtually identical curvature of the spine and a similar build to the dead king.

Topics:  editors picks royalty

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