Richard III, whose eldest sister, Anne of York, is a direct ancestor of Michael Ibsen. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters
When Canadian-born Michael Ibsen, 55, was invited to the dig to find the Plantagenet king Richard III, he felt "pretty surreal".
In 2005, a historian, Dr John Ashdown Hill, after years of painstaking research, had telephoned his mother, Joy. Joy, a UK-born journalist who emigrated to Canada in her 20s, was, he informed her, the 16th-generation niece of Richard III – a direct female descendant of his eldest sister, Anne of York.
"My mother was quite sceptical, but he was persuasive and she agreed to give a DNA sample. We thought it was something so abstract it was difficult to be emotionally involved, just a nice story to tell grandchildren, if we ever have any."
When Joy died four years ago, Michael, a furniture-maker who moved to London, and his brother and sister in Canada, promptly forgot about it.