"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse" is Richard III's famous cry in Shakespeare's tragedy about the monarch, but there may be a backlash against the bard now it has been revealed he presented an inaccurate physical portrayal of the king, according to one expert.
Today's evidence suggests Richard III's disability was not as severe as suggested in the play, which tells of a monarch blighted by deformity, including details of a pronounced hunchback and withered arm.
Professor Philip Schwyzer, an expert in renaissance literature at the University of Exeter, predicted a surge in interest in the play, but said he also expected criticism of the great writer:
"Shakespeare's physical description of the king sets up a sort of 'chicken and egg' scenario," he said. "Richard III says he cannot prove himself a lover because of his deformity, so he will prove himself a villain.
"Shakespeare poses the question of which came first - is he villainous because of his deformity, or does the deformity emphasise his mental characteristics? Whatever the results of today's findings, the mysteries of Richard III are far from solved."
Tests that prove Richard III, the last Plantagenet monarch, has been found in a car park behind social services offices in Leicester, were "beyond reasonable doubt", lead archaeologist Richard Buckley told reporters today.
Detailing the extensive research that proves the remains belong to the late king, the city's university researchers revealed that his skull was covered in wounds inflicted at the time of death, he suffered scoliosis and - consistent with accounts of Richard III - had an effeminate build.
Archaeologists previously said there was strong circumstantial evidence to suggest the exhumed bones are those of the king but did not want to make any academic decision before the skeleton was subjected to a number of tests.
The University of Leicester has released an image of the first full picture of the uncovered skeleton thought to be Richard III, ahead a news conference this morning to confirm whether or not the remains belong to the late king.