Richard III, it turns out, may have been not only a halfway decent guy, but probably hot to boot. That’s quite a turnabout for a man formerly known as a villainous child murderer whose twisted back mirrored his twisted soul. This particular reversal of fortune took more than five hundred years but it has set the twitter sphere a flutter. Since archaeological discoveries don’t usually make front page news, the University of Leicester clearly has learned the art of the reveal. The press conference managed to be interesting enough that several academics felt the need to weigh in and point out that none of this really changed history. Be that as it may, it sure was fun to see the mock-up of his head. Archaeologists have turned up stories more gruesome and bizarre than this one but even the mass grave of headless Vikings and the murder victims of the bog people lack that certain je ne sais quoi. Richard III’s got it. He’s played a cunning game—his biggest fangirl insists that Richard wanted to be found. Just in time, too: his genetic descendants apparently don’t have children and a few years hence their DNA wouldn’t have been around to identify him. That’s the thing. Those dead Vikings? The bog people? They didn’t have names. The gossip columnists didn’t pick up the poison pens for their stories. Lawrence Olivier, David Carradine, and Ian McKellen never played them. Were Richard around now, the Murdochs would have hacked his phone. The paparazzi would have tailed him through the Chunnel. He isn’t just a dead guy found in a ditch. He’s a dead guy with a fan club. Shakespeare might have done him wrong, but he knew Richard’s story had legs:
Death makes no conquest of this conqueror;
For now he lives in fame, though not in life.