A contributor to both BBC History Magazine and History Extra, Ashdown-Hill, who held a PhD in medieval history from the University of Essex, found in the early 2000s that his research countered the long-believed story: that Richard’s bones had been tipped into a river after his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth by Henry VII.
Over a number of years, Ashdown-Hill tracked a line of descent from Richard III’s eldest sister, Anne of York, to a woman living in Canada. Later, he worked with Philippa Langley and others from the Richard III Society to verify the genealogy and the need for a search of a possible gravesite underneath a Leicester car park. After the University of Leicester confirmed that a skeleton found at the site was that of Richard III in February 2013, Ashdown-Hill campaigned to settle the monarch’s final resting place.
Speaking to History Extra in 2015 about the importance of the find and what it meant to the thousands of people who queued to see the king’s coffin, he explained that it’s “an opportunity to give something back to Richard” and a chance to combat “injustice of the unlevel playing field of history”.