Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for October 2021


I have lots of stuff for November, but only one new book on my tracking sheet for this month – Susan Doran’s Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens which is tied to the new British Library exhibition mentioned below. It’s due out in the UK on October 8, the day the exhibition opens and will be out in early 2022 in the US.


The Royal Shakespeare Company‘s production of the theatrical adaptation of The Mirror and the Light – the third book of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall Trilogy – opened at the Gielgud Theatre in London on September 23 and will run through January 23, 2022.

New Exhibition

The British Library‘s new exhibition on Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots opens on October 8 and will run through February 2022. You can book tickets at the website linked above.

From the exhibition website:

Step back into a dangerous world of plots, espionage and treachery to explore the turbulent relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots in their own words.

In an England and Scotland engulfed in religious turmoil and with civil wars raging on the continent, this major exhibition follows the storm that threatened these two powerful women as they struggled for control of the British Isles.

They never met but their fates were intertwined. From their shared beginnings, facing the challenge of ruling in a man’s world, feel the tension escalate as handwritten letters between the queens show how paranoia turned sisterly affection to suspicion.

With the threat of conspiracy ever present, communications written in code reveal how Elizabeth used a network of spies to trap and destroy her rival, bringing the dramatic story to a swift and bloody conclusion.

Encounter some of the Library’s most exceptional 16th-century manuscripts and printed works on display: Elizabeth’s stirring ‘heart and stomach of a king’ speech; the papal bull excommunicating Elizabeth; Mary’s 10-page plea for freedom.

These sit alongside haunting objects which reveal the complex story behind the two queens’ reigns. Tales of imprisonment and escape. Elizabeth’s speech to Parliament on her cousin’s fate. Eye-witness accounts of Mary’s execution.

Enter the dark side of the 16th century. Meet the real Elizabeth and Mary.

Continuing Exhibitions

The Royal Museums Greenwich united the three versions of the Armada Portrait for the first time for the Faces of a Queen exhibition. I’m not sure of the end date on this one, but I’m guessing it will be on for a while since it was delayed for so long.

Both of these wrap up at the end of October so time is running out!

And the Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits exhibition that has been around the world (including here in Texas!) opened in Greenwich on May 28 and will run through October 31.

And finally, the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the birth of William Cecil, Lord Burghley at Burghley House were also delayed because of the pandemic, but the did begin this year starting back in March and will run throughout the year.

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