It is ironic that 3D printing innovation had a role to play in the reconstruction of Richard 111's face. Because the last English King to have died in battle, at Bosworth, in 1485, was an advocate of the breakthrough technology of the time, the printing press, pioneered in England by William Caxton.
As with any innovation that transforms the way we do things, there are those that embrace potential early and those that perceive it as a threat, accepting it only when they have no choice. And Richard was of the former. The reality is that the printing press was one of the most disruptive innovations of all time, and it threatened the power of the establishment, the tradition, namely the Church and their control of information.
The Church was the only media of the time, and whilst print enabled the mass production of the Bible, as one can imagine, the upper echelons of the Church would not necessarily approve of the new fangled 'ungodly' printing contraption. But Richard curbed restrictions on the use of the printing press, enabling communication and sharing of information across a wider population. Perversely, after his death, this same innovation was used to great effect by the Tudors to discredit and demonise Richard as a despot who ruthlessly killed his own nephews to clear his unchallenged ascension to the throne.
These were barbaric times, and life was short, and as Machiavelli recommended in 'The Prince', written a few years after Bosworth, the use of violence in order to achieve absolute power was not only an accepted course of action for a monarch, it was indeed an advisable one.
Richard Plantagenet was, like many monarchs of his time, ruthless. He had to be in order to survive. But he was also highly regarded by many as a King who proved to be progressive in his 2 short years on the throne. Not least, for patronising William Caxton and establishing a free press in England and in so doing making a huge contribution to the development of the English language.
And for that reason, allied to the fact that innovative 3D printing technology enabled us all to view an accurate replica of his face over 500 years later, he is featured within this blog. So lets hope Richard now gets to rest in peace as one of prints first and most distinguished royal ambassadors, a true supporter of innovation.
RIP Richard Plantagenet.