Besides picking out Philip Treacy hats to wear to certain royal weddings, what do princesses really have on their plates these days? Well, in Italy, Natalia Guicciardini Strozzi — princess, actress, winemaker, and former ballerina — is leading the charge in opposition to plans to exhume the remains of Lisa Gherardini, Strozzi’s forebear and the Renaissance Florentine woman whom many believe to be the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” (The woman is better known as Lisa del Giocondo, thanks to her early marriage to a merchant of that surname.)
A royal descendant of Mona Lisa doesn’t want researchers looking for her remains. / Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
According to the Telegraph, the princess — whose blood ties to La Gioconda, as Leonardo’s painting is universally known in France, go back some 15 generations — is standing up against the team of Italian researchers led by Silvano Vinceti who are using a “ground-penetrating radar” to search beneath the Convent of St. Ursula in Florence for the suspected model’s coffin. The research team believes that if they can locate the remains, they can compare DNA samples with data extracted from the bones of other deceased family members, and then use skull fragments to reconstruct the visage of the woman, who died in 1542 at the age of 63. Excavation at the convent will begin early next month, followed by two weeks of digging.
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