Philippa Langley

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Philippa Jayne Langley, MBE (born 29 June 1962) is a Scottish screenwriter and historian who is best known for her contribution to the exhumation of Richard III in 2012.

Richard III Society[edit]

Langley is the President of the Scottish branch of the Richard III Society.[1] She attributes the discovery to a feeling she had when first visiting the northern end of the Social Services car park where the king was later found, having gone to Leicester for the purpose of finding out more about the historical figure for a screenplay she was writing; other members of the Richard III Society had suggested the three central car parks location as long ago as 1975[2] but an oversight in footnoting gave no evidence for it. According to Langley, "the first time I stood in that car park, the strangest feeling just washed over me. I thought: 'I am standing on Richard's grave'."[3] She proceeded to fundraise, organise and commission the excavation of the site, leading to the eventual discovery of Richard III's remains.[4] She later contributed to a documentary about the project, titled Richard III: The King in the Car Park based on her original Looking For Richard Project.[3]

She is co-author, with Michael K. Jones, of The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III (US title: "The King`s Grave: The Discovery of Richard III’s Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds"). In 2013 Langley was working on the screenplay for a proposed film on the life of Richard III, in which she hoped Richard would be portrayed by English actor Richard Armitage, who was himself named after the king.[5]

In July 2017 Langley objected to a plan to stage Shakespeare's play Richard III at Leicester Cathedral, on the basis that it was contrary to the undertaking by the Dean of Leicester, made in March 2015, that the king would be reburied in the Cathedral "with all dignity and honour". The play was staged in sold-out performances at the cathedral on 19 and 20 July.[6][7]

Other projects[edit]

In 2014, Langley detailed the years of research behind the Looking For Richard Project that got her to the northern end of the car park in Leicester in search of the church and grave in Finding Richard III: The Official Account of Research by the Retrieval & Reburial Project. The co-authored work includes chapters from Looking For Richard Project members, Dr. John Ashdown-Hill and Dr David and Wendy Johnson and is edited by Annette Carson.

In March 2015, she backed a project to locate the remains of Henry I of England, who was buried at Reading Abbey which later fell into ruin.[8]


Langley was awarded an MBE in 2015 for "services to the exhumation and identification of Richard III".[9][10]


  1. ^ "Philippa Langley". Richard III Society. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  2. ^ Strange, Audrey (September 1975). "The Grey Friars, Leicester". The Ricardian. Richard III Society. 3 (no. 50): 3–7.
  3. ^ a b Kennedy, Maev (5 February 2013). "'It's like Richard III wanted to be found'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  4. ^ Dickson, E. Jane (4 February 2013). "Meet Philippa Langley: the woman who discovered Richard III in a car park". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  5. ^ Nutt, Kathleen (2 February 2013). "Hobbit actor lines up role as Richard III". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  6. ^ Bird, Dan (7 July 2017). "Why Cathedral 'needs rethink over staging Richard III play'". Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  7. ^ Dominic Cavendish (20 July 2017). "Richard III comes to Leicester Cathedral, with gripping results - review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  8. ^ "A search for bones of Henry I is planned in Reading". BBC News. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  9. ^ Leicester Mercury. Accessed 12 June 2015
  10. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Ashdown-Hill, John; David Johnson; Wendy Johnson; Philippa Langley (2014). Carson, Annette, ed. Finding Richard III: The Official Account of Research by the Retrieval & Reburial Project. Horstead: Imprimis Imprimatur. ISBN 978-0-9576840-2-7.

External links[edit]