Philippa Langley conceived, facilitated and commissioned the quest for King Richard III’s lost grave as part of her ongoing research into history’s most controversial monarch. Her Looking For Richard Project marked the first ever search for the grave of an anointed King of England, and was made into the award-winning TV documentary The King in the Car Park for Channel 4. The documentary became Channel 4’s highest rated specialist factual show in its thirty year history garnering a combined audience of over 6 million.
Philippa is a writer/producer and President of the Scottish Branch of the Richard III Society, receiving the Society’s highest accolade, the Robert Hamblin Award, for finding the remains of Richard III.
In 2013, she co-authored the best-selling history book The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III with military historian Michael Jones. The King’s Grave tells the story of Philippa’s seven and a half year search for Richard III in alternating chapters with Mike Jones on the King’s life and times.
In 2014, she co-authored Finding Richard III: The Official Account an academic work that details the research behind her Looking For Richard Project that got her to the northern end of the Social Services car park in Leicester in search of the king’s grave. The book includes three chapters from Dr John Ashdown-Hill, a chapter from Dr David and Wendy Johnson and is edited by biographer Annette Carson; all members of her Looking For Richard Project team. Also published for the first time within The Official Account are some of Philippa’s original materials including her agreements with the landowner and the contractor.
In the Spring of 2014, Philippa initiated and conceived the Hidden Abbey Project for the people and town of Reading. She now sits on its Steering Group, led by Reading Borough Council.
In 2015, she was awarded Membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by HM The Queen for services to the exhumation and identification of Richard III.
In 2016 Philippa launched The Missing Princes Project – a landmark research initiative that is using modern police investigative techniques to examine one of history’s most enduring mysteries – the disappearance of the sons of King Edward IV of England, the so-called ‘Princes in the Tower’.
A film about Philippa’s search for Richard III is being written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena, 2013).
To find out more about Philippa’s work, please visit:
Dr John Ashdown-Hill John was a historian and author, and for many years was a member of the Richard III Society Executive Committee. He also discovered the mtDNA sequence of King Richard III. John published several books on medieval history and numerous research articles. Most contained new evidence or new interpretations. A book on Cecily Neville was published in 2018 and a book on the Mythology of the ‘Princes in the Tower’ is due to be published in July 2018, with a book on Elizabeth Widville to follow in 2019. His first degree was joint, in languages and history, so for may years John taught languages in the UK and abroad, including latterly at a university in Turkey, and his role as a linguist helped him to discover or correct evidence in respect of Richard III. He was an Hon. Senior Lecturer of the History Department of the University of Essex (which also awarded him an honorary second doctorate for his role in the finding of Richard III). The Richard III archaeological project in Leicester was partly inspired by original research relating to King Richard III’s burial published in his book The Last Days of Richard III and also by his remarkable discovery of King Richard’s mtDNA sequence. John died in May 2018.
Annette CarsonAnnette Carson is a writer with a preference for history and biography. She is also an award-winning copywriter in the fields of PR and advertising. Her initial area of study was music, which she abandoned in favour of a writing career. She has sold over 55,000 non-fiction books on subjects including aviation and music, and has contributed to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Her lifelong interest in Richard III has involved continual reading and research, and in 2008 she published Richard III: The Maligned King (The History Press), an unconventional examination of his reign which questions the assumptions and certainties of traditional historians: "It's my belief we simply don't know as much as we're led to think we know about Richard III and his period," she explains, "and an open mind serves us better than one that runs along well-worn paths."
Dr David and Wendy Johnson David and Wendy Johnson are longstanding members of the Richard III Society and founder members of Philippa Langley’s Looking for Richard Project. They were present at the Cramond Inn near Edinburgh in February 2009 when the decision was taken to launch a search for the long lost mortal remains of King Richard III. In 2010 they composed the Reburial Document which set out the project’s ethos, aims and objectives, and included the first outline sketches of a proposed tomb design. The Reburial Document became the project’s blueprint and was instrumental in securing the consent of relevant authorities whose permission was an essential prerequisite in permitting the search for Richard’s remains to go ahead. They continued to assist Philippa as the project progressed and reached a successful conclusion. On Thursday 26 March 2015, the day of Richard III’s re-interment in Leicester Cathedral, they helped to organise a commemoration of King Richard’s life in York’s medieval guildhall. In October 2019, at the Richard III Society’s AGM in Edinburgh, they were presented with the Robert Hamblin Award for ‘exceptional service to the Society’.
Dominic SewellDominic Sewell is one of the country's leading historical horse trainers whose skills are often called upon by film and TV companies. He is also a foremost equitation expert in the art of mediaeval horsemanship. Dominic is a champion jouster and has taken the role of Richard III at re-enactments of the Battle of Bosworth. Along with Dr Toby Capwell, Dominic is also a founding member of the Order of the Crescent and competes in jousting competitions across Europe and the USA. With his considerable practical experience in mediaeval combat, Dominic is one of a small team of experts who have tested the skills of King Richard III on the battlefield to see if he really was Shakespeare's deformed monster with hunched back and withered arm. His conclusion is that, as documented in many historic texts, Richard was a skilled and experienced battlefield commander who fought hand-to-hand in many engagements, and was physically capable of fighting from horseback while wearing armour.
Dr Tobias CapwellToby is one of the world's leading authorities on mediaeval and Renaissance weapons and armour, with special emphasis on armour in England during the 15th century. Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London, he has published numerous books and articles on many areas of the subject, including The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe 1520-1630 (2012), Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour in the Wallace Collection (2011) and The Real Fighting Stuff: Arms and Armour at Glasgow Museums (2006). He also appears regularly on radio and television, notably presenting Metalworks: The Knight’s Tale on BBC4 in 2012. A practitioner as well as a scholar, Toby has helped found the modern competitive jousting community, and participates in major international jousts and tournaments all over the world.
Prof. Turi KingTuri is a geneticist at the University of Leicester with a background in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge University. Her work has centred around the link between surnames and genetics, as well as work on the forensic aspects thereof, genetic genealogy, genetic ancestry and assessing the genetic legacy of the Vikings in the north of England. Turi ensured the excavation was carried out under clean conditions, helped excavate and then led the genetic analysis both of modern relatives and ancient remains. She also led the statistical analysis which led to the remains being identified as those of King Richard III. Turi has appeared in Michael Wood's Story of England and Great British Story, and in ITV's Britain's Secret Treasures, and has carried out DNA testing for the BBC. Turi is from Vancouver, Canada.
Mathew has worked for University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) since 2004, excavating a wide range of rural and urban archaeology across the Midlands, from the prehistoric period through to the Industrial Revolution. He graduated from the University of Leicester in 2003 with a BA in Archaeology and an MA in Landscape Studies; his interests include urban archaeology, community archaeology and Roman and medieval archaeology.
Notable projects include the Highcross Leicester retail development, a massive multi-period urban excavation investigating the north-east quarter of the Roman and medieval town; the Western Road Roman Cemetary in Leicester, work on Leicester Castle and the Leicester Greyfriars, and the first excavated section of the Lower Icknield Way at Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire.
In 2012, he supervised the successful archaeological search for the lost grave of King Richard III. He has co-authored two popular books on Leicestershire archaeology: Visions of Ancient Leicester (2011) and Richard III: The King under the Car Park (2012) and in his spare time he helps run the Leicestershire branch of the Young Archaeologists Club.
Medieval Europe’), and has contributed to a work on medieval weapons and wounds.
Robert C Woosnam-Savage AMARobert has been Curator of European Edged Weapons at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, since 2001. He was Curator of European Arms and Armour at Glasgow Museums (1983-97) curating the exhibition 'Bonnie Prince Charlie: Fact and Fiction' (1995-6). He has published on many subjects ranging from the arms and armour of Uccello's paintings to the Welsh Castles of Edward I. His interest in battlefield and conflict archaeology has led to his involvement with recent work Towton (1461) and Culloden (1746) and he was heavily involved with the Culloden Battlefield Memorial Project (2004-8). He also identified a sword hilt fragment which helped confirm and locate the site of the battle of Bosworth (1485). His publications include a chapter in Culloden: The History and Archaeology of the Last Clan Battle (2009) and he has contributed to the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology (2010). In 2010 was elected to the Executive Board of the International Committee for Museums (ICOMAM). He has written a book about medieval arms and armour (‘Arms and Armour of Late
Phil StonePhil, a retired Radiologist, joined the Richard III Society in 1976 and over the years became involved in many areas. For twenty years he was Chairman of the London Branch and became a member of the Executive Committee in 1995 following his appointment as the Society's Fotheringhay Coordinator in 1994. He became Chairman of the Society in 2002. Phil worked closely with Philippa Langley, supporting her work on the Greyfriars project. Phil frequently lectured on behalf of the Society to both Ricardian and non-Ricardian audiences and was a frequent contributor to the Society's in-house magazine, the Ricardian Bulletin. Phil also had a lifelong interest in ancient Egypt. Phil died in 2020.