Facial reconstruction aims to help determine identity of remains found in Norwich

The skull believed to be from Lady Eleanor and an artist's impression of her profile

The skull believed to be from Lady Eleanor and an artist's impression of her profile - Credit: Archant

She is regarded by some as the secret queen who helped put Richard III on the throne and – inadvertently, at least – sealed the fate of the princes in the tower.

Now, new research aims to help determine whether remains discovered in Norwich are of Lady Eleanor Talbot.

Lady Eleanor played a pivotal role in the Wars of the Roses during the fifteenth century, when her alleged marriage to Edward IV led to his children – the princes in the tower – being declared illegitimate after his death, in 1483.

That saw the crown pass to Edward's brother, Richard III, during whose reign the boys disappeared.

Tomorrow, historian John Ashdown-Hill will unveil a facial reconstruction based on remains excavated at Whitefriars in 1958.

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He is hoping that it will help to better establish whether they belonged to Lady Eleanor.

The 67-year-old said: 'The evidence so far is that they [the remains] belonged to someone aristocratic, someone with too much sugar in their teeth, and someone who died in their early 30s, which is all positive evidence that it is her.'

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Mr Ashdown-Hill asked experts at the University of Dundee to create the image, which is being shown at Norwich Castle, from the remains.

He said it would allow him to compare it to his own drawings and research.

It is believed Lady Eleanor wed Richard III's brother, Edward IV, prior to his marriage with Elizabeth Woodville.

This resulted in Edward's two surviving sons, Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, never being crowned following his death.

The two children were declared illegitimate after the Bishop of Bath and Wells claimed he married Edward and Lady Eleanor.

Following the declaration, the throne was then passed onto Richard III.

Mr Ashdown-Hill said it was understood that Lady Eleanor moved to Norfolk to be with her sister, Elizabeth Duchess of Norfolk, prior to her death.

Annmarie Hayek, from the Norfolk branch of the Richard III Society, said: 'Its a privilege to be involved with the hard work and dedication shown by Dr John Ashdown Hill.

'I hope this will open up aspects previously not known to people in Norwich, about the whole of the later Plantagenet reigns and the Wars of the Roses.

'Local people may well not be aware of Lady Eleanor Talbot and the local connection.'

The facial reconstruction will be unveiled at Norwich Castle tomorrow as part of a study day and conference.

For more information, email annmarie@talktalk.net

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