Following on from last year’s “Becoming Anne” exhibition, this year the Hever castle curatorial team have put together a new exhibition – “Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rivals, Mothers”. It is promoted as an exploration of the similarities between two women (Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn) who are usually viewed through the lense of their rivalry. At the centre of this exploration are two printed (and illuminated) Books of Hours – one owned by Catherine and one by Anne – which Kate McCaffrey has identified as coming from the same small print run in 1527. The exhibition also covers some aspects of their lives that are less widely known – in particular their childhoods and Anne’s sweating sickness in 1528 – and brings in costumes from film and television (Anne of a Thousand Days, Elizabeth, and Becoming Elizabeth).Continue reading “Review: Catherine and Anne exhibition at Hever Castle”
Review: Blood, Sex and Royalty episode 1
The new Netflix docudrama, “Blood, Sex and Royalty” has provoked somewhat of a Marmite reaction from viewers (for non-British readers, Marmite is a savoury spread made of yeast extract which is famous for provoking a polarising “love it or hate it” reaction). Scroll down for a short video of my reactions as I watched the show.Continue reading “Review: Blood, Sex and Royalty episode 1”
5 gift ideas for Tudor history fans
With Christmas fast approaching, there is still time to find the perfect gift for fans of Tudor history. But with so much available, what should you get for them? Read on for my five favourite gift ideas…. (I am not affiliated to any of these companies or products and have not been asked to promote them; these are my personal choices).
- BOOKS. There are a wealth of books about the Tudor period, but my two recommendations for year would be: The House of Dudley by Joanne Paul which traces three generations of the Dudley as they rose under Henry VII only to fall at the start of Henry VIII’s reign, rose again to great heights under Edward VI only to fall again with Lady Jane Grey, then rose again with Elizabeth I’s favouritism of Robert Dudley; and Mary Rose by Alexzandra Hildred, a beautifully illustrated coffee table book which will interest historians, archaeologists, divers and convservationists as it explores the story of the Mary Rose from her construction and sinking, to her underwater excavation, raising, and preservation.
What happened to the wives of Henry VIII?
Almost every fan of Tudor history will be familiar with the “Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived” rhyme but it is not entirely accurate. Expanding on my blog post about Henry VIII’s three wives, I have made a video looking at what happened to Henry VIII’s wives and what the rhyme should really be!
Tomb: Thomas Boleyn earl of Wiltshire
Who was Thomas Boleyn?
For many people, Thomas Boleyn is famous as the father of Anne Boleyn. However, this is to do him a great injustice. Thomas’ parents had invested in his education and social advancement (securing Eliabeth Howard, daughter of the earl of Surrey, as Thomas’ wife) and, when Henry VIII became king in 1509, Thomas was one of the young king’s favoured companions. He was made a knight of the Order of the Bath on the occasion of the King’s coronation, and regularly appeared at court. He was charming, athletic, skilled in aristocratic pursuits such as hunting and hawking, and he was a talented linguist. This made him both an ideal courtier and well suited to diplomatic work. He travelled abroad on numerous diplomatic missions, including time spent as resident ambassador in France. It was due to his diplomacy that he was able to obtain places for his daughters, Anne and Mary, at the French royal court. When his daughters returned to the English court and caught the attention of Henry VIII, Thomas rose rapidly in royal favour becoming first Viscount Rochford and then Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond. Anne’s marriage to Henry lifted her family to giddy heights but, with her death, it was returned largely to obscurity. Her father and mother were not implicated in the alleged crimes of their children but her mother died two years later, in 1538. Thomas died on 12 March 1539. Mary Boleyn died in 1543 and the remaining Boleyns, siblings of Thomas, showed no desire or talent for excelling at the royal court.
If you want to know more about Thomas Boleyn, I can recommend reading Lauren Mackay’s book Among the Wolves of Court.
Where is he buried?Continue reading “Tomb: Thomas Boleyn earl of Wiltshire”
A Brief History of the Mary Rose
Next Thursday (6th October) I am going to be speaking at the Mary Rose Anniversary lectures, talking about the Howard family and whether they were one of Tudor England’s most influential families. (see poster below).
In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the Mary Rose, last year I helped write a Brief History for the Tudors Dynasty podcast which you can listen to here.
7 things you should know about St George’s Chapel Windsor
Located within the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle, St George’s Chapel has become synonymous with royal weddings, baptisms, funerals and burials. It is here that Queen Elizabeth II will be laid to rest after her funeral at Westminster Abbey. However, the chapel has a far longer history that dates back to the 13th-century. What 7 things should you know about the history of St George’s Chapel?Continue reading “7 things you should know about St George’s Chapel Windsor”
Review: Becoming Elizabeth – Series
Season 1 of Becoming Elizabeth has ended and, whilst it did not leave us with a complete cliffhanger, the ground has clearly been laid for a season 2. At the time of writing this, there does not seem to be any concrete confirmation of a second season but fingers crossed!
I have been writing a series of blog posts looking at questions arising from the series but now it is time for a short review of the series – the good and the bad… (spoilers ahead!)Continue reading “Review: Becoming Elizabeth – Series”
Becoming Elizabeth Explained: Did Mary consider fleeing England?
With episode 8 of Becoming Elizabeth airing on Starz, the series that began with the death of Henry VIII has come to an end. Before turning my attention to the events of the final episode, I wanted to return to one of the major plots of episode 7: the suggestion that Mary Tudor should escape to Spain. But did Mary really consider fleeing England?
The short answer is: yes. However, not exactly as depicted… (Spoilers ahead)Continue reading “Becoming Elizabeth Explained: Did Mary consider fleeing England?”
Becoming Elizabeth Explained: Robert Dudley and Elizabeth Tudor
*Spoilers for Episode 7*
Over the course of Becoming Elizabeth, we have seen a growing friendship between the Lady Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. In episode 7, it is proposed that Elizabeth be married to a Danish Prince. On her way to meet the delegation at court, she is intercepted by Robert Dudley who suggests they run away together. He declares his love for her and asks if she returns his feelings. She denies loving him and refuses to go with him. But did Robert Dudley ever really ask Elizabeth to run away with him?Continue reading “Becoming Elizabeth Explained: Robert Dudley and Elizabeth Tudor”