What colour are this King’s bones?


In the wake of all the controversies surrounding Richard III’s bones, an important new question has been raised by concerned Ricardians. With some casting doubt upon whether the bones in question actually have been proven to belong to the long-lost King, others are more exercised by questions of ordination and co-ordination when it comes to his re-interment at the end of March.

Feelings on the internet have run high this week as puzzled history addicts have disagreed over whether the King’s bones are in fact white and black, or cream and grey. Since the publication of conflicting images, some have argued with certainty for the more definitive colour scheme, whilst others have opted for the subtler tones, unable to see how their friends can see the sacred items in such literal terms. Discussion reached such a fever pitch at the end of the week that the entire internet, celebrities included, seemed shrouded in confusion about the true colour of the King’s bones.

Archaeologists in Richard III dig

Now the experts have waded into the debate. Setting aside the problems arising from poor quality photography, it would appear that interpretations of the bones’ colouring is actually pre-determined by the perception of the viewer. It all boils down to the way the human eye and mind have evolved to judge colour in a world which increasingly fails to value objectivity. We see objects because light bounces off them, in the same way that we can perceive truths. The brain has learned to see colour, to read it, based on certain coded messages, already physically encoded by the experiences of an individual.

Thus, it would seem that the colour we see the King’s bones is dependent upon our personal experiences. People with a high propensity to evaluate according to emotion, to ignore fact and evidence and favour the subjective, who prefer closed-answer thinking over the questions of an open mind, will tend to view the bones as black and white. In contrast, those who have read widely from a variety of sources, in order to reach an impartial truth, and continue to question, are more inclined to see the bones in shades of grey.


Does it matter? The topic certainly has got people talking about the science behind colour perception and enquiring minds were keen to know the answer. Yet apart from the interesting phenomenon that has divided the internet, colour is going to be a crucial part of the re-interment ceremony. With so many Ricardians travelling from all around the world to be present in Leicester, or York, finally they have an answer on how to co-ordinate their outfits with the man they admire. The wonders of science have allowed devotees to match their flexibility of mind with their choice of clothing. Of course, some will buck the trend. Onlookers should not be fooled when the erudite and educated Archbishop of Canterbury opts for an elegant black and white ensemble. Yet a quick glance over the sartorially-minded among those assembled might prove a fascinating insight. But then, of course, it all depends upon the observer as to whether the crowd are wearing dresses in white and gold or blue and black. Beauty and colour, as with so many other things like truth and rumour, fact and fiction, really do lie in the eye of the beholder.


James, E.L Fifty Shades of Grey

Murrey and Blue

That dress.

Jeff R Vescent is conducting a comparison of shades of grey courtesy of Dulux paint.


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