Graphic artist Emma Vieceli testimonial

I can't claim to be more than a hobby historian, but I have been entranced by Richard and his contemporaries since I was a child. I've read books, studied texts, and debated for too many hours to count on aspects of his assumed personality and life. Like many children who would grow into Ricardians, I was never satisfied with hazy facts, unsupported claims and histories weaned from fictional plays written under tudor monarchs and playing their part to perfection, and so I set out to learn everything I could about Richard, his life, his family and the England of his day. At some point down the line, I fell hard enough for what I was learning to know I had to tell the story in comic format...but that's another topic.

For all my studying and planning, however, even the real Richard could only ever feel like a fiction to me. He was long ago, far away and lost to us; along with any last secrets he had carried with him.

With this in mind, when I saw word of the proposed dig in Leciester, to say it piqued my interest is a massive understatement. When early concept art I'd put together for my own Richard project was spotted by members of the dig team, I was asked to come on board and create some art to accompany the early press conference, which I did with colour and texture additions from friends and fellow Ricardians, Kate Brown and Paul Duffield. At that stage, so little was known for sure, but I felt like I was on the periphery of something incredible. And when I stood in that same press conference months later, hearing details of injuries sustained by the skeleton found and seeing Richard's final charge in my mind, I started to be aware that history was being made all over again. I'll never forget the synchronised breath that was drawn around the room at the mention of scoliosis of the skeleton's spine. It was at that moment, stood in a room thick with the transformation of disbelief into realisation, that Richard stopped being a fiction to me and became real.

To even be alive, let alone in any small way connected to the process, during a discovery like this is unfathomable to me. I feel so incredibly lucky.

King Richard III has come back to all of us. Whether we know him as Shakespeare's villainous hunchback, a slandered epitome of loyalty, or simply as a man living through circumstances that would test any one of us, he is no longer a fiction. England's lost King has been found.

Emma Vieceli

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