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Historian Dr John Ashdown-Hill receives MBE from the Queen

PUBLISHED: 16:51 09 October 2015

Dr John Ashdown-Hill from Lawford is made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.  Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Dr John Ashdown-Hill from Lawford is made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A historian who was instrumental in the discovery of Richard III’s remains has today been presented with an MBE.

Dr John Ashdown-Hill wears his MBE after it was presented to him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Photo: John Stillwell/PA WireDr John Ashdown-Hill wears his MBE after it was presented to him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

John Ashdown-Hill, a former Stowmarket, Ipswich and Colchester resident, was given the honour by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Dr Ashdown-Hill, who now lives in Lawford, was made an honorary graduate of the University of Essex last year for his role in the Looking for Richard project.

He helped to spearhead the campaign which eventually found the former monarch’s remains under a Leicester car park, and the academic was recognised for this in the Queen’s birthday honours announced in June.

Dr Ashdown-Hill said: “It was a proud moment to receive the MBE, and when it was announced it meant a lot to me, especially the wording.

“It was a wonderful ceremony, beautifully organised, but not pompous. People at the palace are very friendly and it was really pleasant.

“The last few moments while waiting to do my bow to the Queen I felt a bit nervous, but when one actually moves forward your steps take over.”

The service was attended by 700 people, including actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Lindsay who had both played the much-maligned king in Shakespeare.

In a foreword to the order of service, the Queen praised the reburial of the Plantagenet monarch, saying the country had recognised a moment of “great national significance” was at hand.

Screenwriter Philippa Langley, who was also involved in the project, also received an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II yesterday.

Ms Langley said after the investiture ceremony: “The Queen was fascinated by the whole project. She asked if we always thought he was buried in Leicester and I confirmed we did.

“I said once we’d gone into the research, the car park looked like a real possibility, it was a hypothesis, but a real possibility.

“She said ‘Yes, to find a king in a car park is not an everyday occurrence’.”

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