The ghost of Bonnie Prince Charlie can’t seem to catch a break. After a traditionally dashing portrait of the ‘Young Pretender’ was X-rayed, it revealed an earlier, contemporary image that suggested he maybe wasn’t quite as bonnie as we’ve all been led to believe.
Now researchers at Dundee University’s Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, no less, have produced what they claim is the most lifelike reconstruction of his face yet. They used death masks taken of the prince to create a three-dimensional model of his head, and state-of-the-art software then restored his 67-year-old face to its prime. Barbora Vesela, a masters student who initiated the project, said she hoped the new image would encourage people “to think about him as a person, instead of just a legend”.
The impression, from a modern standpoint, is of a rather unremarkable young man with pale skin, blond ringlets, and blotchy patches on his skin. And when thinking of an adjective to describe him, ‘peely-wally’ perhaps springs to mind more quickly than ‘bonnie’. However, as Vesela rightly said, “beauty is a very subjective thing”.