Interview With Ninya Mikhaila About The Lost King (2022) & More


I was lucky enough to grab some time with historical costumier Ninya Mikhaila to talk about her work on the upcoming film by Stephen Frears, The Lost King (2022). The film stars Sally Hawkins as Philippa Langley, the Edinburgh-based writer who helped uncover the lost burial site of Richard III under a carpark in Leicester in 2012.

While the film is not completely historical, the character of Richard III, played by Harry Lloyd, appears to Philippa in her imagination in all of his regal regalia at numerous points throughout the film. Ninya worked with Frears and costume designer Rhona Russell to create two of Richard’s costumes in the film: His kingly robes, and the iconic surcoat bearing England’s coat of arms that he wears in battle. In addition to Ninya, Frears tapped Tobias Capwell, curator of arms and armor at the Wallace Collection, to lead the charge on creating a historically accurate suit of armor custom fitted to Harry Lloyd.

The Lost King (2022)

Ninya Mikhaila, hard at work hand embroidering the royal surcoat worn by actor Harry Lloyd as Richard III in The Lost King (2022).


The Lost King (2022)

Harry Lloyd as Richard III in The Lost King (2022), wearing the hand-embroidered surcoat made by Ninya and the armor researched and created by Tobias Capwell and his team.


The Lost King (2022)

A close-up of Ninya’s surcoat on actor Harry Lloyd.


The Lost King (2022)

Harry Lloyd as Richard III and Sally Hawkins as Philippa Langley share a reflective moment in the film The Lost King (2022). Nina made Richard’s robes in the film.


The Lost King (2022)

The gorgeous red velvet arming doublet Ninya made for the film, which is never seen because it’s under all the armor!

Of course, our conversation ranged a bit wider than the film itself, encompassing a discussion about the finer points of historical costuming in film and television, cats, and Ninya’s next big projects (keep an eye out for The Typical Tudor which should be forthcoming shortly!).


And if you’re in London, visit The Wallace Collection’s free exhibition The Lost King: Imagining Richard III where you can see Ninya’s work on display until January 8, 2023.

Check out the trailer for The Lost King (2022) below and tell us what you think in the comments!

13 Responses

  1. Gail

    I still remember a great presentation by Ninya and Jane on dressing QEI at a conference years ago. Great work.

  2. hsc

    I love that shot of the hand embroidery in progress, and being able to compare that to the tight shots of the finished piece!

  3. Mona Bayard

    Interesting interview, I would have liked a higher proportion of Ninya’s experience in the conversation. Approve of the feline participation.

  4. Sean

    Ninya is so great! I’m tickled to learn that there’s a film about Philippa Langley, who always came off as a bit kooky, but the trailer actually looks rather heartwarming. The story is too good to pass up!

    • Rhonda L Stannard

      Sally Hawkins always seems to play “kooky” so she is right for the role. The movie otherwise looks really good. Richard III is always an interesting subject so I am looking forward to seeing it.

  5. Boxermom

    This movie looks very entertaining, but Sally Hawkins looks absolutely nothing like Philippa Langley; she’s a blue-eyed blonde. In fact, she reminds me a little of Joanna Lumley. :)

  6. Al Don

    Great interview and I loved the finished product. It looks fantastic. The tabard style, the embroidery, all good details. I like the gilded parts of the armour as well. Artist Graham Turner, perhaps the preeminent painter of the Wars of the Roses, depicted Richard III wearing completely gilded armour. Tobias Capwell (mentioned in the video) works with Turner and advised him that entirely gilded armour for Richard III was at least “possible”. However, having the couter and poleyn armour (elbows and knees respectively) be gilded and the rest not is a highly common motif in Medieval art and scarcely depicted in recreations, so I think it’s a fine choice. Beautiful.

    Also some interesting points brought up in the discussion. Regarding history versus the other sciences, I had that same debate with a friend of mine who’s a civil engineer, who believes everything has a quantifiable answer. Made me laugh to hear someone else had it.

    I likewise find Richard III and the princes in the Tower an interesting discussion. I just bought the new translation of Domenico Mancini’s De Occupatione Regni Anglie per Riccardum Tercium and am looking forward to it. I’ve also read Tim Thornton’s theory and find it based on the flimsiest logic and conclusions. To that end, I’d love to see an adaptation of Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour. I can’t cosign her conclusions about whodunit, but we’ve had enough Philippa bloody Gregory adaptions; why not adapt fiction from someone who actually cared about history for once?

    • Sarah Lorraine

      Also some interesting points brought up in the discussion. Regarding history versus the other sciences, I had that same debate with a friend of mine who’s a civil engineer, who believes everything has a quantifiable answer. Made me laugh to hear someone else had it.

      You’ve had this conversation, too? LOL, it’s such a trip to see how differently people approach life. The unknown doesn’t scare me, in fact, I find it really interesting! But my ex was VERY disturbed by the idea that things weren’t binary/black and white/right or wrong.

  7. Nzie

    Ooh looking forward to this! I saw an ad for the movie and it looks promising. :-)

    • Sarah Combs

      Can’t wait for this one! Great story and great actress. Hope it comes to a streaming site soon as it is unlikely to open in my small western town.

  8. Joni

    When are you gonna do a MCM on Harry Lloyd? Because he just keeps getting better with age.

  9. Al Don

    A belated follow-up: the man who designed the armour, Dr Tobias Capwell, was also interviewed. In his interview he gives great insights about the armour, its symbolic significance, and the decision making process in reconstructions. There’s also a very funny anecdote about Lawrence Olivier as Richard III and the dangers of making compromises on movie armour: