The best books on Richard III from the writer who discovered the king’s grave in 2012

Philippa Langley Author Of The Lost King: The Search for Richard III
By Philippa Langley

Who am I?

I am a British writer/producer with a 30-year interest in Richard III (1452-1485). A visit to Bosworth Field, the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses changed my life irrevocably. This haunting place captured my imagination and with it the story of the last Plantagenet monarch who died fighting in this small corner of Leicestershire for crown and country.

I wrote...

The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

By Philippa Langley, Michael Jones,

Book cover of The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

What is my book about?

Whilst researching Richard III for a biographical screenplay, in 2004 Philippa Langley visited the site of the Greyfriars precinct in Leicester. Here King Richard had been buried after Bosworth. Fifty years later, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the grave was lost and the king’s remains believed to have been thrown into a nearby river. 

Following an intuitive experience in a car park in the Greyfriars precinct, The Lost King tells the story of Langley’s years of research and belief that she would find the church and grave in this exact spot, as historian Michael Jones tells of Richard's 15th-century life and death. The Lost King is now a major motion picture starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan. (Previously titled: The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III)

The books I picked & why

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Richard III: The Maligned King

By Annette Carson,

Book cover of Richard III: The Maligned King

Why this book?

This is a compelling and comprehensive study of Richard III’s reign. Annette Carson examines the events as they actually happened, based on the evidence of the original sources. In place of assumptions so beloved of traditional historians, she instead dissects motives and actions in light of the historical facts. Carson dares to investigate areas where historians fear to tread, raising many controversial questions and encouraging readers to think again.

The Secret Queen: Eleanor Talbot, the Woman Who Put Richard III on the Throne

By John Ashdown-Hill,

Book cover of The Secret Queen: Eleanor Talbot, the Woman Who Put Richard III on the Throne

Why this book?

Following Edward IV’s death in 1483, his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was found to be bigamous and their children declared illegitimate. The crown then passed to Edward’s younger brother, Richard III, who was elected king. For centuries the story of Edward IV’s bigamy was believed to be a concoction. In this seminal work, John Ashdown-Hill brings to light the story of Eleanor Talbot, Edward IV’s legal wife. 

The Survival of Princes in the Tower: Murder, Mystery and Myth

By Matthew Lewis,

Book cover of The Survival of Princes in the Tower: Murder, Mystery and Myth

Why this book?

The murder of the ‘Princes in the Tower’ is the most famous cold case in British history. Matthew Lewis delves into the context of the disappearance and the characters of the suspects and asks a crucial but often overlooked question: what if there was no murder? Lewis provides a rounded and complete assessment of this most fascinating historical mystery.

The Daughter of Time

By Josephine Tey,

Book cover of The Daughter of Time

Why this book?

In Josephine Tey’s classic novel, Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III. Grant determines to find out who Richard III really was and who killed the Princes in the Tower. Published in 1951, Tey’s novel is a page-turner of the highest order and has never been out of print. 

Domenico Mancini: De Occupatione Regni Anglie

By D. Mancini, Annette Carson (translator),

Book cover of Domenico Mancini: De Occupatione Regni Anglie

Why this book?

Domenico Mancini was an Italian visitor to London in 1483 who witnessed Richard III’s rise from Protector to King, and wrote the only genuinely contemporary account. His short narrative, less than 7,000 words, is so important that it’s used and quoted by every commentator who has anything to say about Richard III. This translation renders Mancini up-to-date and accessible for today’s readers. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Richard III of England, murders, and London?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Richard III of England, murders, and London.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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