Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for July 2017

Books

Elizabeth Norton’s The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women: A Social History (US title) has been out for a while in the UK and will be out at the beginning of July in the US.

One book I missed a couple of months ago was Houses of Power: The Places that Shaped the Tudor World by Simon Thurley, which was released in the UK in April. I haven’t found any US publishing info yet, but I’ll add it if I do.

In new releases, Owen Tudor: Founding Father of the Tudor Dynasty by Terry Breverton will be out in mid-July in the UK and in October in the US.

Events

Queen of Bradgate celebrations at Bradgate Park – Bradgate Park, which holds the remains of the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, will be honoring the Nine Days Queen from July 8 to July 16. An overview is available at the link above and at the official website for Bradgate Park.

Tudor Joust is returning to Hampton Court Palace on July 15 and 16. Events will be going on all day on both days and no extra ticketing is required (it is included in the palace admission).

New Exhibitions

Reformation – Shattered World, New Beginnings opened on June 26 (I missed this one last month!) and runs through December 15 at the Senate House Library at the University of London. A video introduction by Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb is embedded above and you can download a digital copy of the exhibition catalogue for free at the website (something I like to see more of for those of us who can’t make it to a lot of these events and don’t want to pay for the expensive shipping to the US!).

The Encounter – Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt opens at the National Portrait Gallery, London on July 12 and runs through October 22. Tickets can be booked at the gallery’s website linked above. More about the exhibition:

The creative encounter between individual artists and sitters is explored in this major exhibition featuring portrait drawings by some of the outstanding masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Blood Royal: Picturing the Tudor Monarchy opens on July 25 and runs through August 25 at The Society of Antiquaries of London. They don’t have a dedicated page for the exhibition yet, but I’ll update the link when they do.

Continuing Exhibitions and Displays

In conjunction with London Art Week, the Weiss Gallery will run a special exhibition Courting Favour: From Elizabeth I to James I from June 26 through July 14, 2017. You can see the catalogue here. A little more about the exhibition:

The centerpiece of the show will be a beautiful portrayal of the youthful Queen Elizabeth I, a bust-length version of the magnificent ‘Hampden’ fulllength, currently on loan to Tate Britain. Displayed either side of the Queen will be portraits of her two great favourites Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.

Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire is Power & Portraiture: painting at the court of Elizabeth I opened on June 7 and will run through October 29, 2017 at From the website:

A special display exploring how Elizabeth I and her courtiers used portraits to fashion their public image and promote themselves in a glamorous, dangerous world.

Two spectacular panel paintings by Nicholas Hilliard will be accompanied by loans from the Royal Collection and National Portrait Gallery. Visitors will learn about the scientific and scholarly detective work that has led to this important discovery and will be able to compare it with the famous ‘Phoenix’ portrait of Elizabeth I.

Images of the queen will be flanked by those of her charismatic suitor, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, her ambassador to France, Sir Amias Paulet and the doomed nobleman, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.

Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for June 2017

Books

Just one new release this month, Elizabeth of York and Her Six Daughters-in-Law: Fashioning Tudor Queenship, 1485-1547 by Retha Warnike, another volume of the Queenship and Power series. As you may guess from the cost, this is one of the ‘academically priced’ volumes. It will be out June 24 in the UK and in July in the US.

Events

The last of the Power and Performance at Hampton Court Palace events is coming on June 8: Encounters with the Tudors: behind-the-scenes. Ticket information is at the link.

On June 30 is The real Wolfhall – A celebration of its revival and Royal Tudor history at the actual Wolfhall manor house. Click here for more information on the event and how to purchase tickets.

Exhibitions and Displays

Opening on June 7 and running through October 29, 2017 at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire is Power & Portraiture: painting at the court of Elizabeth I. From the website:

A special display exploring how Elizabeth I and her courtiers used portraits to fashion their public image and promote themselves in a glamorous, dangerous world.

Two spectacular panel paintings by Nicholas Hilliard will be accompanied by loans from the Royal Collection and National Portrait Gallery. Visitors will learn about the scientific and scholarly detective work that has led to this important discovery and will be able to compare it with the famous ‘Phoenix’ portrait of Elizabeth I.

Images of the queen will be flanked by those of her charismatic suitor, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, her ambassador to France, Sir Amias Paulet and the doomed nobleman, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.

And in conjunction with London Art Week, the Weiss Gallery will run a special exhibition Courting Favour: From Elizabeth I to James I from June 26 through July 14, 2017. A little more about the exhibition:

The centerpiece of the show will be a beautiful portrayal of the youthful Queen Elizabeth I, a bust-length version of the magnificent ‘Hampden’ fulllength, currently on loan to Tate Britain. Displayed either side of the Queen will be portraits of her two great favourites Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.

Upcoming Books and Events for May 2017

How can it already be time for the May round-up?!?

Books

Everyday Life in Tudor London: Life in the City of Thomas Cromwell, William Shakespeare & Anne Boleyn by Stephen Porter was released last fall in the UK and on Kindle, but the US hardcover is out on May 1.

Next up is Colouring History: The Tudors by author Natalie Grueninger of On the Tudor Trail and artist Kathryn Holeman is out May 1 in the UK and will be out later this year in the US.

And finally, Tudor Monarchs: Lives in Letters by Andrea Clarke is out on May 11 in the UK and later this summer in the US.

Events

Tudor Queens Day at Gainsborough Old Hall to be held on May 13, 2017 – join authors Alison Weir and Nicola Tallis and local historian Marilyn Roberts for talks on the wives of Henry VIII and Lady Jane Grey. (This is another that I’m posting a month early in case tickets sell out!) PDF flyer with more information, including how to get tickets

This has a listing of a number of events between March and June – Power and Performance at Hampton Court PalaceJoin author and historian Lauren Johnson as she hosts an impressive line-up of speakers to explore ideas of power and performance in the lively Tudor court. The next talk is May 10 on “Sacred music and the Reformation”, followed by “Playing the fool” on May 23 by Suzannah Lipscomb. Ticket information is at the link.

Coming up at the end of June is The real Wolfhall – A celebration of its revival and Royal Tudor history at the actual Wolfhall manor house. Click here for more information on the event and how to purchase tickets.

Upcoming Books and Exhibitions for April 2017

Books

A few books that have already been out for a while in the UK will be released in April in the US:

Amy Licence’s Catherine of Aragon: An Intimate Life of Henry VIII’s True Wife is now out in the US after a release last fall in the UK.

Gareth Russell’s Young and Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the Court of Henry VIII was released in January in the UK and will be out on April 4 in the US with the slightly different title Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII

Anne Boleyn in London by Lissa Chapman has been out since October in the UK and will be out later this month in the US.

And a couple of new books are out the month – it looks like the Scottish branch (i.e. descendants of Margaret Tudor) are getting some more attention these days:

Margaret Tudor’s daughter from her second marriage is the subject of So High a Blood: The Life of Margaret, Countess of Lennox by Morgan Ring is out in both the UK and US on April 6:

And Margaret Tudor’s great-granddaughter, Arbella Stuart is featured in Jill Armitage’s Arbella Stuart: The Uncrowned Queen which will be out April 15 in the UK. I don’t see a US release date yet, but I’ll update when if I get more info.

Events

Tudor Queens Day at Gainsborough Old Hall to be held on May 13, 2017 – join authors Alison Weir and Nicola Tallis and local historian Marilyn Roberts for talks on the wives of Henry VIII and Lady Jane Grey. (This is another that I’m posting a month early in case tickets sell out!) PDF flyer with more information, including how to get tickets

This has a listing of a number of events between March and June – Power and Performance at Hampton Court PalaceJoin author and historian Lauren Johnson as she hosts an impressive line-up of speakers to explore ideas of power and performance in the lively Tudor court. The next talk is April 25 on “Plays of persuasion”. Ticket information is at the link.

Exhibitions

500 Years of Treasures from Oxford opened at the Washington DC’s Folger Shakespeare Library in February and will run through the end of April.

Upcoming Books and Exhibitions for March 2017

Books

Giles Tremlett’s Isabella of Castile: Europe’s First Great Queen, which was released in February in the UK, will be out on March 7 in the US:

Events

Nicola Tallis, author of Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey will talk about her book at the Bradford on Avon Library on March 9, 2017. Click here for more details

And this has a listing of a number of events between March and June – Power and Performance at Hampton Court PalaceJoin author and historian Lauren Johnson as she hosts an impressive line-up of speakers to explore ideas of power and performance in the lively Tudor court. The first talk is March 28 on “Anne Boleyn: musician and composer”. Ticket information is at the link.

Exhibitions

Katharine, England’s Spanish Queen opened in the Visitor Centre at Peterborough Cathedral on January 16 and will run through March 15, 2017.

500 Years of Treasures from Oxford opened at the Washington DC’s Folger Shakespeare Library in February and will run through the end of April.

Upcoming Books and Exhibitions for February 2017

Books

A book slipped past me in January, as I suspected! (surprised there weren’t more…)

First up is The Turbulent Crown: The Story of the Tudor Queens by Roland Hui (and if I may be so presumptuous, a long-time friend of the site!) was released earlier in January in both the UK and US:

And the other new release Giles Tremlett’s Isabella of Castile: Europe’s First Great Queen which is out February 9 in the UK and March 7 in the US. I guess this technically isn’t “Tudor history”, but of course Isabella was Catherine of Aragon’s mother so I say it counts. 🙂

Events

This is actually in March, but I wanted to get it out early:

Nicola Tallis, author of Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey will talk about her book at the Bradford on Avon Library on March 9, 2017. Click here for more details

And this has a listing of a number of events between March and June:

Power and Performance at Hampton Court PalaceJoin author and historian Lauren Johnson as she hosts an impressive line-up of speakers to explore ideas of power and performance in the lively Tudor court. The first talk is March 28 on “Anne Boleyn: musician and composer”. Ticket information is at the link.

Exhibitions

Katharine, England’s Spanish Queen opened in the Visitor Centre at Peterborough Cathedral on January 16 and will run through March 15, 2017.

Upcoming Books and Exhibitions for January 2017

Happy 2017! Not a whole lot of things to start the year, but once again, I’m sure I’m missing a lot of stuff!

Books

First of the Tudors by Joanna Hickson was released in December in the UK and will be out at the end of January in paperback in the US (it’s already available as a Kindle book in the US).

And in new releases this month, Gareth Russell’s Young and Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the Court of Henry VIII will be out on January 12 in the UK and will be out in April in the US (wit the slightly different title of Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII).

Events

Peterborough Cathedral’s annual Katherine of Aragon Festival for 2017 will be held from Thursday January 26th through Sunday January 29th.

Upcoming Books and Exhibitions for December 2016

Books

A couple of books that have already been released in the UK are out in the US this month:

Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey by Nicola Tallis will be out December 6 in the US.

And Suzannah Lipscomb’s The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII that came out last year in the UK is finally getting a US release on December 20th.

One new release this month – First of the Tudors a novel about Jasper Tudor by Joanna Hickson is out December 1 in the UK and out early next year in the US (for the paperback release, it looks like you might be able to get the Kindle edition sooner).

And just in time for the holidays – a great gift idea for you or the Tudor-history lover in your life (or just a celebration of saying a big “Adios!!” to 2016) – The Tudor Planner!

Designed by Heather Teysko of the Renaissance English History Podcast, the planner features:

Each monthly page has a quote from a famous Tudor personality, and a This Month in Tudor History highlight. Plus a listening recommendation for an English Renaissance album for that month (because my particular passion is 16th century music). All of the recommendations are in a public Spotify playlist with the link so you can easily listen whenever you like. The weekly pages have events that happened that month in Tudor history.

Click here or the picture above for more information on how to order your own copy!

Continuing Exhibitions

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for November 2016

Books

A few books that have already been released in the UK will be out in the US this month –

First up is The Tudors in 100 Objects by John Matusiak which was released August 1 in the UK and will be out in hardback in the US at the beginning of November:

And Sarah Gristwood’s Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth Century Europe which was released last month in the UK and at the end of this month in the US.

And in new books this month, Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey by Nicola Tallis is out November 3 in the UK and will be out December 6 in the US.

Events

The second of this fall’s BBC History Magazine’s History Weekends is in York from November 18th to 20th.

Continuing Exhibitions

Ending soon – Will & Jane opened on August 6 and will run through November 6 and is the final of three exhibitions at the Folger Shakespeare Library, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for October 2016

Books

Starting out with a number of books that slipped past me in the previous months…

First up is The Tudors in 100 Objects by John Matusiak which was released August 1 in the UK and will be out in hardback in the US at the beginning of November:

And Sean Cunningham’s Prince Arthur: The Tudor King Who Never Was came out in the US earlier than I expected, so it is now available!

One that I missed in August that is out in the UK and will be out October 9 in the US is Henry VII’s New Men and the Making of Tudor England by Steven Gunn. Unfortunately this one is ‘academically priced’ (i.e. expensive!) so I’ll have to snag it from the university library at some point.

Melanie Clegg’s Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise will be out this month in the US after a release in August in the UK.

In new books this month, Elizabeth Norton’s latest Tudor work, The Lives of Tudor Women is out the first week in October in the UK and will be out next year in the US.

And Catherine of Aragon: An Intimate Life of Henry VIII’s True Wife by Amy Licence is out mid-month in the UK and next spring in the US.

And finally, Sarah Gristwood’s Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth Century Europe is out this week in the UK and next month in the US.

Events

The BBC History Magazine’s History Weekends return this fall with one in Winchester from October 7th to 9th and another in York from November 18th to 20th.

Continuing Exhibitions

Will & Jane opened on August 6 and will run through November 6 and is the final of three exhibitions at the Folger Shakespeare Library, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for September 2016

New books

One book I missed from last month is Wendy J. Dunn’s Falling Pomegranate Seeds, a novel about Katherine of Aragon:

And out at the end of this month in the UK is Anne Boleyn in London by Lissa Chapman, which will be out early next year in the US:

Events

The BBC History Magazine’s History Weekends return this fall with one in Winchester from October 7th to 9th and another in York from November 18th to 20th.

Exhibitions Ending This Month

Oxford’s Bodleian Library will run Shakespeare’s Dead from April 22 to September 4. This exhibition will examine the theme of Death in Shakespeare’s works. It “provides a unique take on the subject by exploring how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life. … Shakespeare’s Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life.”

The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts opened April 15 and will run through September 6. The exhibition is a “Journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.”

The Visions of Utopia display opened in June in the Treasures of the British Library and will run through September 18, 2016.

Continuing Exhibitions

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for August 2016

New Books

One new release this month – Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise by Melanie Clegg is out August 30 in the UK and later in the fall in the US. It’s great to see work on Marie de Guise, someone I’ve been intrigued by for a while now.

And a few books already out in the UK that will be out at the end of the month in the US (or possibly mid-September – I have conflicting info, but I decided to go ahead and include them in this month’s round-up)

New Event

Tudor Ambition – Talk and book signing with Lauren Mackay and Elizabeth Norton at Sudeley Castle on September 4 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets available at the link. (Yes, it’s actually in September, but I wanted to get it in earlier to give people a chance to plan.)

New Exhibitions

Will & Jane will open on August 6 and run through November 6 and is the final of three exhibitions they put on, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

Continuing Exhibitions

Oxford’s Bodleian Library will run Shakespeare’s Dead from April 22 to September 4. This exhibition will examine the theme of Death in Shakespeare’s works. It “provides a unique take on the subject by exploring how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life. … Shakespeare’s Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life.”

The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts opened April 15 and will run through September 6. The exhibition is a “Journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.”

The Visions of Utopia display opened in June in the Treasures of the British Library and will run through September 18, 2016.

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Guest Post: The Death of Prince Arthur

I’m happy to be the next stop on the blog tour for Sean Cunningham’s Prince Arthur: The Tudor King Who Never Was, released earlier this month in the UK and coming in the next few months in the US.

Over to Sean:

The Tudor Regime Crashes Off Course: The Cause and Consequences of Prince Arthur’s Death

In the early morning of 5 April 1502, a messenger disturbed the pre-dawn routine at Greenwich Palace with the dreadful news that Arthur, Prince of Wales had died. This man had ridden across country from Ludlow after the prince had drawn his last breath just before 7pm on Saturday 2 April; an amazing feat of horsemanship at odds with the shattering news he carried in a journey he surely had not wanted to make.

Henry VII’s counsellors sent for the king’s confessor, whose task it was to pass on the dreadful fact that his eldest son was dead. The queen was awoken immediately. Together, Henry and his wife took the first steps in dealing with their loss. A herald was on hand to record their words of consolation to each other and the beginning of a response built on their faith in God. This was a deeply emotional and poignant moment, but there was little relief available as they ‘took their painful sorrows together’.

The detail captured by the herald at that time seems almost like an accidental and highly personal inclusion in a larger record of the state’s major ceremonies – christenings, weddings, investitures and funerals. It offers a rare glimpse of Henry VII as a man almost out of control with grief, who needs the presence and strength of his equally-devastated wife to be able to start the process of coming to terms with what had happened. The news must have triggered horrible feelings of despair that they had not been able to see their dying son; guilt at having sent him to be trained far beyond the regular destinations of the travelling royal household; and uncertainty about what their future without him might hold.


Arthur’s chambers at Ludlow Castle, where he died on 2 April 1502

The prince had shown no signs of illness or debility as the centre of attention at his wedding five months previously. He performed traditional Maundy Thursday rituals at Ludlow on 24 March, nine days before his death. The account suggests a sickness came upon him very rapidly. Use of the words ‘driven in the singler parties of him inward’ has been taken by some writers to suggest the appearance of a tumour or a wasting disease; perhaps even of his genitals (which is also convenient as an explanation of the uncertainty over his performance in the marriage bed). Compared to Edward VI, whose decline in the summer of 1553 is recorded in harrowing detail, Prince Arthur was as healthy as normal ten days before his death.

There is no eyewitness account of Arthur’s final days. The herald’s record was written up after his funeral several weeks later. That makes it very difficult to make accurate assessment of what killed the prince. It does seem most likely, however, that Arthur was a victim of an outbreak of the sweating sickness in the Marches. Local mortality research indicates that Ludlow and Leominster were the centres of unusually high death rates by the end of 1502. At Arthur’s interment at Worcester, the herald’s account notes that many people were unable to attend because of the ‘siknes that then reigned emonges theym’.

This was a disease that spread very rapidly; sometimes in a matter of hours but often over a period of days. Symptoms moved through stages of coldness, shivering, headaches, limb and chest pains, fever, hot sweats, delirium and death. It was also very contagious.

If the English Sweat did kill Prince Arthur, then we might have expected more victims within the prince’s household. There is a suggestion that Princess Catherine was struck down at the same time. A chair was prepared for her at the funeral, but she did not attend the services at Ludlow or Worcester (it is unclear if this was protocol or evidence of her sickness). The remainder of Arthur’s household seems to have escaped infection. Catherine’s illness could be evidence that she had spent much time in close physical contact with her husband. Surely there should be no surprise that two teenage newlyweds spending winter on the Welsh Marches would have used the opportunity to get to know each other well? Discussion of that topic will have to continue elsewhere.

Why Arthur should have succumbed to infection in 1502 when he had been unaffected (as far as is known), over the previous nine years he had lived there might have been purely due to chance. The only significant difference within Arthur’s familiar community after November 1501 was arrival of the large group of Catherine’s Spanish courtiers and servants in Ludlow. Had they inadvertently carried infection from Spain then it is likely that it would have become apparent in London at the time of the wedding. Arthur seems to have been unlucky enough to be the most prominent victim of a violent outbreak of disease.


Arthur’s tomb at Worcester Cathedral

King Henry and Queen Elizabeth had already buried Princess Elizabeth, aged three, in 1495 and Prince Edmund, at the age of sixteen months, in June 1500. Premature death was a regular visitor to families at all levels of medieval society, but familiarity would not have lessened the pain. Arthur’s loss seems to have been felt more keenly because he had not been a constant presence in the day-to-day life of the royal family. The reality of Henry VII’s political survival meant that Arthur was far more valuable to the Tudor crown as a leader on the marches of Wales, learning how to rule in his own right, than he would have been as a resident at court.

In his reaction to Arthur’s death we can see, nevertheless, a little of the tension and frustration the king and queen must have experienced. Like all parents, they would have wanted to keep their son close. They also knew that his education in a region he dominated would be Arthur’s best possible preparation for kingship. It would have been difficult for the prince to absorb the weight of responsibility by watching the king’s court at play or observing civil servants at work without being able to take direct ownership of the interconnected strands of government, as he did at Ludlow. It was a risk that Henry had agonised over. It did isolate his son and placed his welfare and security in the hands of others. But it was a chance worth taking if it formed a strong ruler who would take forward Henry VII’s ideology of kingship.

At the end of 1501, that plan seemed to be working very well. Arthur was highly praised by foreign ambassadors, courtiers and other officials for his bearing, skill, intelligence and authority. His marriage in November 1501 was an acknowledgement that, at the age of fifteen, his training to be king was passing into a final stage of adult responsibility.


A near-contemporary image of Arthur from Great Malvern Priory, c.1501

There is no hint in evidence so far found that Arthur was sickly, inactive or uninvolved in life as a powerful marcher figure. He travelled widely, learned the techniques of lordship through hard work and open hospitality, made friendships, wrestled with his responsibilities in the law, and safeguarded his income from his lands. Arthur was on track to becoming a well-rounded and diligent king with very deep support in his own country.

What would be needed – and what might have been part of Henry VII’s plan after his son’s marriage – was to capitalise on the outpouring of goodwill and celebration associated with the royal wedding. It seems likely that Arthur would have been given a greater national profile as he entered his later teenage years. Ideally, Princess Catherine would soon become pregnant and the security of the succession would be even more firmly established (and it is possible that their return to Ludlow at the end of November 1501 was arranged with that purpose in mind).

More time at court could only have built Arthur’s growing confidence. It would have allowed for a transition between the king’s old allies and advisors, already beginning to die off, and the younger generation of Arthur’s friends and the senior officials who knew him well. At that stage of his development, the prince would have returned to the Westminster fold at exactly the time that his own experience was ready to be blended with the deeper knowledge possessed by the king’s most loyal followers, honed in keeping Henry VII on the throne since August 1485.

This sketch of possible plans is important because it shows what was totally undone by Arthur’s tragic death. Arthur’s status and position were based upon his development within a group that had grown and adapted with him. His brother Henry could not be inserted into this network in the expectation that it would continue as before. Henry was eleven years old and had not been brought up with the same urgent and precise need to build a broad range of kingly skills.


Would King Arthur have looked something like this? An image of Henry VIII from a Plea Roll in 1521

It almost goes without saying that Arthur’s death was a family tragedy for Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth. The life their son had led meant that they cannot have come to know him particularly well. The death of the king-in-waiting brought a halt to Henry VII’s programme to safeguard the realm as Arthur’s inheritance. His death left a vacuum. His brother Henry had to fill it, but it would take time before he was ready for the role of Prince of Wales.

The four-year age gap between the Tudor brothers made a big difference to the demands that could be placed on Prince Henry. Waiting for him to grow into a strong teenager only allowed further deaths – especially of Queen Elizabeth and Reginald Bray in 1503 – to bring disaster even nearer.

The Tudor regime had been resilient to conspiracy and rebellion for over fifteen years. It was strongly positioned to usher Prince Arthur into his role as king with a comprehensive plan that had been in development for the prince’s whole life. When Arthur died, there was no alternative in place. Henry VII had perhaps been so sure of God’s support that he had not yet looked at a role for his second son that mirrored some of the training Arthur had been given.

Some efforts to improve the regime’s strength were taken almost immediately. Queen Elizabeth became pregnant in the weeks after Arthur’s death. This was a risk and a reaction to the vulnerability that Henry VII then felt. But Elizabeth did not survive the birth of Princess Catherine in February 1503. The king was plunged into despair as a result. Without his queen Henry lost much of his former energy and focus. The power of government was put in the hands of cold-eyed professionals like Edmund Dudley. They used the force of the law to rule in a way that gave the regime a strong tint of tyranny by 1509.

The final five years of Henry VII’s reign became a ruthless exercise in survival as attempts were made to reinvent Prince Henry. The carefree lifestyle that Arthur’s brother had enjoyed was transformed. He was closeted, protected and placed on an accelerated and intensive programme to give him some of the expertise that Arthur had developed naturally in his council and household on the Marches of Wales.

The sophistication and luxury of a metropolitan royal lifestyle was not something his Prince Henry gave up willingly. His relationship with his father became strained as the king’s health also began to fail. At his death in April 1509, Henry VII’s regime was just-about able to pass the crown to Henry, Prince of Wales; but only with some sleight of hand from the king’s old counsellors to withhold news of the old king’s death.

Henry VIII therefore became king with an enormous opportunity in front of him, but without the comprehensive arsenal of skills that King Arthur would have possessed. That was not the only legacy that the new king inherited. When he eventually married Arthur’s widow, Catherine of Aragon, England was placed on an altogether different route through the sixteenth century than the one that King Arthur would have taken.


Henry VIII’s Tudor dragon about to devour Catherine of Aragon’s pomegranate symbol
from the King’s Bench Plea Roll, TNA KB 27/1003, 1512

About the Author
Dr Sean Cunningham is Head of Medieval Records at the UK National Archives. He main interest is in British history in the period c.1450-1558. Sean has published many studies of politics, society and warfare, especially in the early Tudor period, including Henry VII in the Routledge Historical Biographies series and his new book, Prince Arthur: The Tudor King Who Never Was, for Amberley. Sean is about to start researching the private spending accounts of the royal chamber under Henry VII and Henry VIII for a new project with Winchester and Sheffield Universities. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and co-convenor of the Late Medieval Seminar at London’s Institute of Historical Research.

Purchase and pre-order from Amazon:


Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for July 2016

New Books

First up is J. Stephan Edwards with The Lady Jane Grey’s Prayer Book: British Library Harley Manuscript 2342, Fully Illustrated and Transcribed which will be released July 15. Pre-orders are available directly through the publisher. More information is available at the author’s website.

And the other new book this month is Sean Cunningham’s Prince Arthur: The Tudor King Who Never Was which will be released July 15 in the UK and later in the fall in the US.

Other Books

Several books that have been previously released in the UK will be released in July in the US —

Insurrection: Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and the Pilgrimage of Grace by Susan Loughlin was released July 1 in the US after an April release in the UK:

Tracy Borman’s Private Lives of the Tudors came out in May in the UK and will be released July 19 in the US:

And one I missed from last month – an academic work edited by Sarah Duncan and Valerie Schutte titled The Birth of a Queen: Essays on the Quincentenary of Mary I:

Events

The Mary Rose Museum will be reopening on July 20 and for the first time visitors will get an unobstructed view of the ship.

New Exhibitions

The Visions of Utopia display opened in June in the Treasures of the British Library and will run through September 18, 2016.

Visit our free temporary display and discover one of the most influential books in Western literature – Thomas More’s Utopia. Marking the 500th anniversary of its publication, this unique display will look at the context in which More wrote the original Utopia and at different visions and meanings of Utopia up to the present day. Written during the reign of Henry VIII, the book was an instant best seller and has continued to inspire readers, writers and thinkers throughout the centuries.

See close up one of the world’s only surviving original editions of Utopia, an original diplomatic letter to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, signed by More and others and many other precious items.

Exhibitions ending this month

America’s Shakespeare opened on April 7 and will run through July 24 and is the second of three exhibitions they will put on, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee opened January 18 and will run through July 29, 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Continuing Exhibitions

The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts opened April 15 and will run through September 6. The exhibition is a “Journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.”

Oxford’s Bodleian Library will run Shakespeare’s Dead from April 22 to September 4. This exhibition will examine the theme of Death in Shakespeare’s works. It “provides a unique take on the subject by exploring how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life. … Shakespeare’s Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life.”

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Upcoming Books and Continuing Exhibitions for June 2016

New Books

The Tudor Brandons: Mary and Charles – Henry VIII’s Nearest & Dearest by Sarah-Beth Watkins is due out June 1 in the UK and June 24 in the US:

And one new release I missed from last month:

Terry Breveton’s Henry VII: The Maligned Tudor King was released May 15 in the UK and will be out at the end of July in the US (possibly with the alternate title Henry VII: Destiny’s King):

And one book that came out in the UK a few months ago and now out in the US – Amy Licence’s Red Roses: Blanche of Gaunt to Margaret Beaufort:

There were a few other books I’ve been tracking that now have confusing (or non-existent) release dates that I decided to just leave off and will post when I get more definitive information.

Continuing Exhibitions

America’s Shakespeare opened on April 7 and will run through July 24 and is the second of three exhibitions they will put on, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts opened April 15 and will run through September 6. The exhibition is a “Journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.”

Oxford’s Bodleian Library will run Shakespeare’s Dead from April 22 to September 4. This exhibition will examine the theme of Death in Shakespeare’s works. It “provides a unique take on the subject by exploring how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life. … Shakespeare’s Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life.”

Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee opened January 18 and will run through July 29, 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Upcoming Books and Events for May 2016

I meant to get this post up several days ago but the virus I mentioned a couple of weeks ago has continued to kick my butt so it took a little longer to get around to it than I had anticipated!

Books

The US release of Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger’s In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII will be on May 19, coincidentally the 480th anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution. The book was released in the UK in March.

And in the good timing department – releasing today is Charles Brandon – The King’s Man by Sarah Bryson.

John Guy’s latest Tudor work, Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years, which covers the later years of the Queen’s reign, will be released on May 3 in the US and May 5 in the UK.

The first novel in Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen will be released May 5 in the UK and May 31 in the US.

Kristie Dean’s newest book, On the Trail of Richard III will be out on May 5 in the UK and the US edition will be released later in the summer.

Next up is The Reluctant Ambassador: The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Chaloner, a Tudor Diplomat by Dan O’Sullivan, which is out May 15 in the UK and will be out in July in the US.

And finally for this month – The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman is out May 19 in the UK and July 12 in the US.

New Event

Alison Weir will give a talk entitled Richard III: The Man and the Myth in conjunction with the Red Rose Chain’s production of Shakespeare’s Richard III at The Avenue Theatre in Ipswich on Saturday May 7 at 6:00 p.m. Click the link for more details!

Continuing Exhibitions

Ending this month:

Westminster Abbey’s 500 Years of Wonder will celebrate the quincentennial of the completion of Henry VII’s Lady Chapel with some special events between April 21st and May 5 including a concert, services, and lectures.

By me William Shakespeare: A Life in Writing opened at the National Archives on February 3 and will run through May 29 and features Shakespeare’s will as the centerpiece of the exhibition.

The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin launched Shakespeare in Print and Performance on December 21, 2015 and it will run through May 29, 2016. (I finally got a chance to go over and see this on my lunch hour a few weeks ago and I’ll have a write-up sometime soon.)

And things you still have a little more time to catch:

America’s Shakespeare opened on April 7 and will run through July 24 and is the second of three exhibitions they will put on, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts opened April 15 and will run through September 6. The exhibition is a “Journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.”

Oxford’s Bodleian Library will run Shakespeare’s Dead from April 22 to September 4. This exhibition will examine the theme of Death in Shakespeare’s works. It “provides a unique take on the subject by exploring how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life. … Shakespeare’s Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life.”

Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee opened January 18 and will run through July 29, 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Sunday Short Takes

A terse round-up this week since I think a cold virus has finally managed to catch me… I’m really surprised it took this long given the exhaustion I’ve had over the past 8 months and the fact that I interact with college students, globe-trotting faculty and research scientists, the general public, and school-aged kids on a regular basis! I guess my immune system just didn’t have enough energy left to fight off this one.

* Conservation plan set to preserve Woking Palace’s future

* Shakespeare first folio discovered at stately home on Scottish island

* Shakespeare’s Buildings

* Conserving Shakespeare’s will and Shakespeare’s will: a new interpretation – from the UK National Archives, where the will is on display

* Virtual Historical Festival – Check the Timetable for more information on the authors taking part

* Wythenshawe Hall: Photos reveal damage to fire-hit Tudor mansion – follow-up to a sad story from a few weeks ago

* 360 Tour of the Tower of London with Dan Snow

Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for April 2016

Books

One book I missed that came out in late March was Jerry Bortton’s This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World which was released March 24 in the UK and March 22 for an international edition (including the US):

And another was the second of Tony Riches’s Tudor Trilogy of historical fiction novels: Jasper, which was released on March 22 in the UK and US.

Two new books with UK releases this month (and later or unknown-at-this-time US releases):

First up is Insurrection: Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and the Pilgrimage of Grace by Susan Loughlin, which will be released on April 4 in the UK and in July in the US.

And the second is Katherine Howard: The Tragic Story of Henry VIII’s Fifth Queen by Josephine Wilkinson, which is out April 7 in the UK and on the Kindle in the US, but I don’t have a release date for the hardcover in the US yet.

New Events and Exhibitions

Believe it or not, I have one addition to this round-up that is isn’t Shakespeare related!

Westminster Abbey’s 500 Years of Wonder will celebrate the quincentennial of the completion of Henry VII’s Lady Chapel with some special events between April 21st and May 5 including a concert, services, and lectures.

And now, back to the Shakespeare events. 🙂

America’s Shakespeare will open on April 7 and run through July 24 and is the second of three exhibitions they will put on, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts opens April 15 and will run through September 6. The exhibition is a “Journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.”


And finally, Oxford’s Bodleian Library will run Shakespeare’s Dead from April 22 to September 4. This exhibition will examine the theme of Death in Shakespeare’s works. It “provides a unique take on the subject by exploring how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life. … Shakespeare’s Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life.”

Continuing Exhibitions

I can’t hope to find all of the Shakespeare exhibitions being put on this year, so I’m mainly trying to get the big ones and a few I come across that are outside the UK. If you’re in the UK and want to keep up with special events occurring throughout the year, check out Shakespeare400.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

By me William Shakespeare: A Life in Writing opened at the National Archives on February 3 and will run through May 29 and features Shakespeare’s will as the centerpiece of the exhibition.

The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin launched Shakespeare in Print and Performance on December 21, 2015 and it will run through May 29, 2016.

Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee opened January 18 and will run through July 29, 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Sunday Short Takes

There were a couple of stories that really lit up my alerts this week, so I chose a couple of representative links. And I just realized that both of these graves were places I visited last year, so I’ve added a couple of photos.


Light projection showing the placement of Richard III’s skeleton in the grave.

* Armchair archaeologists can explore Richard III’s grave in online modelAn interactive model of King Richard III’s grave, gives an archaeologist’s-eye view of the skeleton of one of England’s most vilified monarchs

* Visit Richard III’s Gravesite With This Bone Chilling 3D ModelThe ruler’s final resting spot is now publicly available for exploration online


Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon.

And a little more on the scan of Shakespeare’s grave mentioned in last week’s round-up:

* Shakespeare’s skull ‘probably stolen’ from Stratford graveA hi-tech investigation of William Shakespeare’s grave has concluded his skull was probably stolen. The discovery gives credence to a news report in 1879, later dismissed as fiction, that trophy hunters took the skull from his shallow grave in 1794.

* Shakespeare’s skull may have been removed from grave, documentary findsIn 1879, an unconfirmed report in the press claimed that William Shakespeare’s skull was stolen from his shallow grave by trophy hunters 85 years earlier. Now, a high-tech radar investigation into the Bard’s grave suggests that the story is true.

And one other interesting article that I read last week:

* The first Muslims in EnglandFrom as far away as North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, Muslims from various walks of life found themselves in London in the 16th Century working as diplomats, merchants, translators, musicians, servants and even prostitutes. – There is more about this in the March issue of BBC History Magazine which I recommend if you’re interested. Both articles were written by Jerry Brotton, author of the new book This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World which I’ll add to the next new books round-up!

In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII Blog Tour – May the Force be with You

I’m happy to be the final stop on the blog tour for Natalie Grueninger and Sarah Morris’ newest book: In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, following their previous fantastic title, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn. In this post, Sarah will share her top five locations that left an imprint on her. I don’t think that Sarah knew I’m a life-long Star Wars fan but I got a little thrill when I saw the title for her guest article. 🙂

May the Force be with You

By Sarah Morris

Over the last three to four years, I have been privileged to travel to around 130 locations associated with each of Henry VIII’s queen consorts. A little like people one meets through life, some pass you by, leaving no more than pleasant memories to accompany you on your journey, and others leave a much more enduring impression. Like Mary I once famously said of her fated relationship to Calais, they remain ‘engraved’ in your heart. But why?

One of the peculiar and indeed unpredictable things that both Natalie and I have noticed during our travels is how some locations have a ‘vibe’ that draws you in – and this is not always associated with the most complete, or obvious, locations. Certainly on more than one occasion, when Nat and I were visiting ruins or simply just earthworks in a field, we would look at each other with that knowing look – ‘the force’ as we came to know it was palpable, seeping out of the bricks and mortar, even the very earth itself.

On day one of this blog tour, Nat touched on this phenomenon; it seems that for some reason certain locations are able to connect with us at a deeply emotional level. Some would argue that this is a figment of an overactive imagination, but others might say that these places hold the energetic imprint of people and events long after they have passed. Could it be that in some subtle way we are able to tap into that? I’d like to think so.

So in this penultimate entry, I thought I would share with you five, short, thumbnail sketches of less well fêted locations that still hold the power to move me in the way I have described, even though our encounter was often all too fleeting. So, here is the countdown in reverse order:

5. Pontefract Castle, Yorkshire


A Model of Pontefract Castle

In its day, Pontefract Castle was a behemoth, renowned as being a key strategic fortress, and one which was virtually impregnable to boot. Images of the castle, captured before its destruction following England’s Civil War, convey its might and austerity. The castle’s sinister history of royal incarceration and aristocratic execution arguably makes Pontefract second only to the Tower of London in terms of its infamy. Today only ruins remain perched high upon a rocky outcrop of land. Pontefract Castle is way off the usual tourist trail. So when I visited, it was all but deserted, leaving me alone with only ghosts for company. The commanding views once enjoyed by the castle are now obscured by trees surrounding its perimeter, but the imprint of the royal apartments remains outlined in the ground.


Inside the ruined bailey of Pontefract Castle

Pontefract was one of the locations specifically cited for Catherine Howard’s indiscretions with Thomas Culpepper during the summer progress of 1541; the queen sending one of her ladies to watch the back door (probably of the Queen’s Tower), so that Culpepper could gain entrance to the queen’s privy chambers unnoticed. Before my visit, I had read eye witness accounts from the interrogations of the queen’s ladies, and through these it is not hard to see Catherine was tense, snapping at her ladies-in-waiting, threatening them with her displeasure. Clearly the queen sensed she was treading very dangerous ground indeed. And yet, as daylight fades, the rugged brutality of the place is replaced by the passion and warmth of a young woman’s desire for her lover. Bathed in flickering candle light, it was at Pontefract that the lovers entwined, Catherine writing to Thomas whilst at Pontefract that she would be his for ‘as long as life endures’.

4. Schloss Burg an der Wupper, Solingen, Germany


Burg Castle as it appeared in the sixteenth century

Burg Castle was once the childhood home of Anne of Cleves. If you wish to understand the secrets of Anne’s heart, there is no better way than to make the pilgrimage sixty miles or so east of Anne’s birthplace of Dusseldorf, into the wooded valleys of the Rhine. The castle has been recreated to reflect its appearance at the zenith of the renaissance, when it served as one of the principal lodgings for the ducal family. Murals painted following the rebuilding of the castle tell the story of the Dukes of Cleve and the key events of the castle’s history, including the betrothal of Anne’s parents when they were just young children of five and six.


The Knight’s Hall (Rittersaal) of Burg Castle

The grand hall in which great public ceremonies took place (including the feast to celebrate the imminent nuptials of Anne’s elder sister, Sibylle), makes it easy to see through the veil of time and recreate Anne’s past. Yet, it was in one single room, the Kemanate that all my research on Anne’s early years became fused with her presence. I am not sure quite what acted as the catalyst. Perhaps it was the stories told by my American guide about life at the ducal court as we wandered around the castle, or perhaps it was simply standing in the room in which Anne would have spent much of her time during daylight hours. However, there is no doubt that for me, it was there that I finally felt I understood the young woman who I would later follow all the way to her grave.

3. Kimbolton Castle, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire


The Interior of Kimbolton School and the room in which
Katherine of Aragon reputedly died in January 1536

Katherine of Aragon’s struggle with Henry and the English nation was truly a saga of epic proportions – and it changed a nation’s history. It is utterly impossible not to be deeply moved when one stands in the very room in which she died, as well as in the nearby chapel, where it seems likely that her body lay in state for three weeks before her burial at Peterborough Cathedral. Although now a school, with the interiors having been entirely remodelled in the late eighteenth century, the echoes of Katherine’s defiant last stand remain audible – if you have an ear to hear. Nowhere have I felt closer to Henry’s proud, Spanish wife.

2. Wolf Hall, Wiltshire


Watercolour of the current Wolfhall farmhouse, thought to incorporate
elements of the Seymour’s original mansion (copyright Gillian Bathe)

Standing atop a plateau of land in the heart of rural Wiltshire, surrounded by green fields, cow sheds and a rather run down looking farmhouse, it should be nigh on impossible to tap into any sense that you are amidst the remains of a building that has passed into immortality. Yet strangely quite the opposite was true for me.

Popularised in recent literature, Wolf Hall was once the provincial country home of the Seymour family. Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII stayed as guests of Sir John and Lady Seymour for a week during the summer progress of 1535. Although we are deeply sceptical of the long-term legend that it is here that Henry’s eyes first fell on Jane, the Seymour’s eldest daughter, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something of significance did indeed transpire here, and that as Anne Boleyn strolled through one of its many gardens, her time as Henry’s ‘most beloved wife’ was fast running out. The place continues to haunt me to this day, some three years after my first visit.

1. Charterhouse Square, London


Charterhouse Yard from the Agas Map of 1560. The Latimers’
residence is circled in the top right hand corner of the square

Some of the most fascinating locations for me are those that take you by surprise – and this was certainly the case with Charterhouse Square. Once laying just outside the ancient city walls of London, it was a desirable spot for the Tudor elite. John Latimer, Katherine’s then husband, explains why in a contemporary letter to Cromwell; the Yard (as it was then known), stood ‘in good air, out of press of the city’. It was the Latimers’ favoured London residence.

Here, I was to track down Katherine Parr at one of the most interesting junctures of her life. Sir John and Lady Latimer lived in Charterhouse Yard during the fall of Catherine Howard; the scandalous break up of Katherine’s brother’s marriage to the adulterous Anne Bourchier, and the death of Lord Latimer himself.


The author outside the site of the Latimers’ London home,
currently occupied by No10. Charterhouse Square.

Today, the imprint of the Square is little changed from its medieval origins; an irregular pentagon with its central green looked onto in the north by the remains of The Charterhouse itself, with imposing buildings lining its remaining edges. Although the medieval / Tudor houses are mostly gone, it retains a sense of being a veritable time capsule, little visited by tourists. And yet, you will not be alone during your visit. For as you stroll past No.10 (the site of the Latimer’s residence), you might find yourself nodding your head in silent greeting to Katherine’s neighbour, the Tudor antiquarian, John Leland, as he sets off on one of his many travels; or maybe you might catch a fleeting glimpse of Katherine’s brother, who also lived on the Square; and if that were not enough remember the 50,000 souls whose bodies are buried beneath the green, as a result of perishing during the outbreak of the Black death in 1349.

As I left, I couldn’t help but think about Katherine’s final departure from Charterhouse Yard; was she leaving there to become Henry’s wife? Did she sense that her life was about to change forever and that she was one small step away from immortality?

Natalie and I hope you have enjoyed our blog tour and we wish you many happy hours retracing the footsteps of these six, unforgettable women.

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Buy In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
(Released on 19 May 2016)
The Book Depository
(Free worldwide shipping)

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About the Authors


Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, who lives in Sydney with her husband and two children.

She graduated from The University of NSW in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English and Spanish and Latin American Studies and received her Bachelor of Teaching from The University of Sydney in 2006.

Natalie has been working in public education since 2006 and is passionate about making learning engaging and accessible for all children.

In 2009 she created On the Tudor Trail, a website dedicated to documenting historic sites and buildings associated with Anne Boleyn and sharing information about the life and times of Henry VIII’s second wife. Natalie is fascinated by all aspects of life in Tudor England and has spent many years researching this period.

Her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Sarah Morris, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, was published by Amberley Publishing and released in the UK in late 2013. Natalie and Sarah have just finished the second book in the series, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, due for publication in the UK on 15 March 2016 and on Amazon US on 19 May 2016.

You’ll find Natalie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Dr Sarah A. Morris

Sarah is a creative soul, as well as an eternal optimist who generally prepares for the worst! She is an advocate of following the heart’s deepest desire as a means to finding peace and happiness. To this end, her writing is a creative expression of her joy of both learning and educating.

Drawn by an inexplicable need to write down the story of Anne Boleyn’s innocence, she published the first volume of her debut novel, Le Temps Viendra: a novel of Anne Boleyn in 2012; the second volume followed in 2013. That same year, her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Natalie Grueninger called, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, was also published. Hopelessly swept away by an enduring passion for Tudor history and its buildings, her latest book, the second of the In the Footsteps series entitled, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, is due to be published by Amberley Publishing in the UK on 15th March 2016 and in the US on 19th May.

She lives in rural Oxfordshire with her beloved dog and travelling companion, Milly.

You’ll find Sarah at www.letempsviendra.co.uk, or via her blog,: This Sceptred Isle.