The King's Grave
The Search for Richard III
By Philippa Langley and Michael Jones
The real life, death and remarkable discovery of history's most controversial monarch.
Now with a new chapter.
The official inside story of the life, death and remarkable discovery of history's most controversial monarch.
On 22 August 1485 Richard III was killed at Bosworth Field, the last king of England to die in battle. His victorious opponent, Henry Tudor (the future Henry VII), went on to found one of our most famous ruling dynasties. Richard's body was displayed in undignified fashion for two days in nearby Leicester and then hurriedly buried in the church of the Greyfriars. Fifty years later, at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, the king's grave was lost - its contents believed to be emptied into the river Soar and Richard III's reputation buried under a mound of Tudor propaganda. Its culmination was Shakespeare's compelling portrayal of a deformed and murderous villain, written over a hundred years after Richard's death.
Now - in an incredible find - Richard III's remains have been uncovered beneath a car park in Leicester. The King's Grave traces this remarkable journey. In alternate chapters, Philippa Langley, whose years of research and belief that she would find Richard in this exact spot inspired the project, reveals the inside story of the search for the king's grave, and historian Michael Jones tells of Richard's fifteenth-century life and death. The result is a compelling portrayal of one of our greatest archaeological discoveries, allowing a complete re-evaluation of our most controversial monarch - one that discards the distortions of later Tudor histories and puts the man firmly back into the context of his times.
Michael Jones was awarded a history PhD by Bristol University and subsequently taught at Glasgow University and Winchester College. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of the British Commission for Military History, and works now as a writer, media consultant and presenter. Among his historical titles he has written books on the battles of Bosworth, Agincourt, Stalingrad and Leningrad. He was TV consultant for Channel 4's Richard III: Fact or Fiction and National Geographic's Mystery Files: The Princes in the Tower, and co-author, with Philippa Gregory and David Baldwin, of The Women of the Cousins' War.
Philippa Langley inaugurated the quest for King Richard III's lost grave as part of her ongoing research into history's most controversial monarch. Her project marked the first-ever search for the grave of an anointed King of England, and was made into the acclaimed TV documentary The King in the Car Park for Channel 4. She is a screenwriter and the secretary of the Scottish Branch of the Richard III Society.
- Other details
- Publication date:
03 Jul 2014
- Page count:
In almost the exact spot where Langley had first become convinced she was standing on top of Richard's grave, a careful flick of a trowel revealed the leg bone of what would turn out to be the remains of the king, complete with the twisted, scoliosis spine so compellingly placed centre stage by Shakespeare. Now the remarkable story of King Richard's life and death - and the amazing journey of the intuitive woman who never gave up believing that she would one day find his body - has been brought together in this fascinating and informative book — Lancashire Evening Post
Jones's historical chapters are measured, reasonable and elegantly written — Sunday Times
A history-making book which I had trouble putting down — Historical Novel Society
[Philippa Langley] has just written a compelling book with historian and friend Michael Jones . . . It is cleverly constructed: in alternate chapters she tells the story of her quest, while Michael details the life of Richard colourfully. It reads like an up-all-night thriller — Mail on Sunday
This is the year that Richard III rose up from his unmarked grave in a Leicester car park, and this is the book that describes the painstaking quest for the king's body, and the battle that destroyed him. Philippa Langley pursued his remains, Michael Jones pursued his reputation and together they have written a book which explains and defines the battle where he died, the grave that was lost, and the legend that followed him. This book is about an important excavation indeed, of the body from a lost grave, and of a king from a long libel — Philippa Gregory
The King's Grave . . . reveals the remarkable story of how the remains came to be unearthed. And the result is a compelling portrayal of one of this century's most important archaeological discoveries — BBC History Magazine
History at its most fascinating — www.booksmonthly.co.uk/nonfic.html
A . . . page-turner — Current Archaeology
Langley's invaluable contribution to the investigation is undisputed; she envisioned, facilitated and drove it for years. Her confidential, breathy, diary-style chapters recreate the immediacy of the dig for the reader . . . The Search for Richard III makes for compelling reading — TLS
Jones's cogent and nuanced narrative provides the historical ballast to Langley's search — Guardian
Interesting [and] engaging — Daily Express
The King's Grave tells two remarkable stories in alternating chapters — Wall Street Journal
Fascinating — Bookseller