It is now well known that Richard III suffered from severe scoliosis – a sideways curvature of the spine. This condition would have significantly shortened his height while standing. Analysis of the skeleton suggests that Richard’s natural height was around 5’8”. This is above average for the period, but unsurprising given that his brother, Edward IV, was also unusually tall. Measuring 6’4”, Edward still holds the record as England’s tallest monarch.
Although it is impossible to be certain how many inches the scoliosis cost Richard, the difference could well have been as much as a foot. His right shoulder would have been raised higher than his left.Another conspicuous feature of the skeleton is the gracile nature of its bones, indicating that Richard had a slender, feminine build. This matches historical accounts of the king, suggesting that the more lurid allegations colouring the Tudor propaganda are exaggerations flowing from a wellspring of truth, rather than the entirely unfounded lies some suspected. Whether the same is true of his character is for historians, not archaeologists, to divine.