The Tudor Society
  • Happy birthday to Lady Margaret Beaufort!

    A portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort

    Today, 31st May, is the anniversary of the birth of Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, and matriarch of the Tudor dynasty, in 1443 at Bletsoe Castle in Bedfordshire.

    I thought we’d celebrate the birthday of this fascinating Tudor lady by sharing some Tudor Society resources linked to her.

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  • 31 May – Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession

    On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 31st May 1533, the eve of her coronation, a pregnant Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, processed from the Tower of London to Westminster Hall.

    This coronation procession is one of those events that Claire would love to travel back in time for as it was a huge procession through the streets of London and there was lots of entertainment, including lavish, pageants, orations, music, and wine flowing in the conduits and in fountains. To be a citizen of London on that day! Wow!

    Hear all about the pageantry in today’s video.

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  • Knole

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I talk about my recent visit to Knole in Kent, a beautiful house that one served as a palace, or country retreat, for the Archbishops of Canterbury.

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  • Live chat reminder – 31 May – Lady Jane Grey with Tamise Hills

    Tamise Hills from the Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide is our expert guest speaker for May, and her talk looks at what resources there are to help us understand this often forgotten Tudor queen.

    Tamise is joining us in the Tudor Society chatroom tomorrow, 31st May, to answer your questions on her talk and all things to do with Lady Jane Grey, so I do hope you can join us.

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  • June’s live chats – 15 and 29 June

    Roland Hui

    Roland HuiTime is flying, don't you think? I can't believe that it's nearly June and time to share the dates for our June live chats.

    Our informal live chat is on the topic "Tudor Queens" and will take place in the Tudor Society chatroom on 15th June. The idea for these informal chats is for members to jump in and share their views, pose questions for other members, share book/TV recommendations etc. and to just enjoy talking Tudor.

    Here are the times for the chat in different time zones:

    • London, UK - Saturday 15 June at 11pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Sunday 16 June at 12am
    • New York, USA - Saturday 15 June at 6pm
    • Los Angeles, USA - Saturday 15 June at 3pm
    • Sydney, Australia - Sunday 16 June at 8am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Sunday 16 June at 7.30am

    Our expert speaker for June is Roland Hui, author of The Turbulent Crown: The Story of the Tudor Queens and The Mary Queen of Scots Colouring Book, and his topic is Queenship. His talk will go live here on the Tudor Society on 1st June and he will be joining us in the chatroom to answer your questions on his talk on 29th June. We will be giving away a book (your choice of The Turbulent Crown or the colouring book) to one lucky chat participant. The winner will be picked at random.

    Here are the times for the chat in different time zones:

    • London, UK - Saturday 29th June at 11pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Sunday 30th June at 12am
    • New York, USA - Saturday 29th June at 6pm
    • Los Angeles, USA - Saturday 29th June at 3pm
    • Sydney, Australia - Sunday 30th June at 8am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Sunday 30th June at 7.30am

    Both chat sessions will last for one hour, although please don't feel that you have to be there for the whole hour. They take place in the Tudor Society chatroom at

  • 30 May – Henry VIII gets married to Jane Seymour

    On this day in Tudor history, Tuesday 30th May 1536, just eleven days after the execution of his second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII married his third wife, the woman he thought of as his true love and true wife, Jane Seymour.

    Find out more about this event and the bride and groom in today’s video.

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  • June 2019 – Tudor Life – Queenship

    June’s 76 Page FULL COLOUR Tudor Life magazine is focused on queenship during the Tudor period. It’s packed with interesting facts and articles about all of the Tudor queens and as always it’s a really great quality publication in full colour too! We know you’ll enjoy it.

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  • 29 May – Queen Anne Boleyn’s River Procession

    A portrait of Anne Boleyn from the collection at Hever Castle. She's depicted wearing a gable hood.

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th May 1533, the celebrations for Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation kicked off with a spectacular river pageant on the Thames.

    In today’s video, I describe this amazing river procession, using details from contemporary sources. Fire-breathing dragons, wild men, music, sumptuous decorations… it must have been a wonderful sight.

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  • 28 May – The Rome and Reims Plot and the end of 3 priests

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th May 1582, Roman Catholic priests Thomas Forde, John Shert and Robert Johnson suffered full traitors’ deaths at Tyburn.

    The three men had been condemned for their alleged implication in the Rome and Reims Plot of 1580, but many believe that this plot wasn’t actually real.

    In today’s video, I explain exactly what led to these men’s executions in 1582, why Roman Catholic priests were persecuted in this manner, and what the plot was all about.

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  • 27 May – Celebrations for Queen Jane’s pregnancy

    A portrait of Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein the Younger

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th May 1537, news that Queen Jane Seymour had felt her baby move for the first time provoked celebrations in London, Calais, Oxford and York.

    How did people celebrate?

    In today’s video, I share what the contemporary sources say about this day and how the news was celebrated.

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  • 26 May – Mary seeks Thomas Cromwell’s help

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th May 1536, Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary, sought the help of Thomas Cromwell, the king’s right-hand man. Now that Anne Boleyn was dead and gone, Mary hoped for a reconciliation with her father the king.

    What did she want Cromwell to do?

    What happened to Mary after Anne Boleyn’s death? How was she treated?

    In today’s video,I consider Mary’s situation and what happened between her and her father after this point.

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  • The Dudley Family Quiz

    A portrait of John Dudley from the collection at Knole in Kent.

    This week’s Sunday quiz tests your knowledge of one of my very favourite Tudor families, the Dudleys.

    How much do you know about them?

    Find out in this fun quiz!

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  • 25 May – A triple Tudor wedding

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th May 1553, Lady Jane Grey got married to Lord Guildford Dudley, son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland.

    They weren’t the only couple to get married in the ceremony at Durham House, Jane’s sister, Katherine, and Guildford’s sister, Catherine, also got married.

    In today’s video, I give more details and consider who was behind this triple Tudor wedding.

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  • 24 May – A monstrous birth

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th May 1562, according to contemporary sources, a “monstrous” child was born in Chichester, Sussex.

    This deformed baby was not the only “monstrous” birth that year and these events were seen as signs from God.

    Find out more about this birth and the others of 1562 in today’s video.

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  • Monsters

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I consider reports of monstrous births in the Tudor period and how these events were viewed and reported.

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  • 23 May – Henry VIII’s first marriage is annulled

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd May 1533, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, declared the sentence of the special court that had met at Dunstable Priory in Bedfordshire.

    The Dunstable Priory court had convened to hear the case for the annulment of King Henry VIII’s marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Predictably, the court declared the marriage to be contrary to God’s laws and the archbishop was able to inform the king of the sentence of “divorce”.

    Find out more in today’s video.

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  • 22 May – Blessed John Forest and a prophecy fulfilled

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd May 1538, Franciscan friar John Forest met his end at Smithfield in London for his allegiance to the Church of Rome.

    His death, along with the burning of a religious statue from Wales, was said to be the fulfilment of a prophecy made about the statue.

    Find out more about Blessed John Forest and the prophecy in today’s video.

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  • 21 May – William Tyndale’s Arrest

    Today is the anniversary of reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale’s arrest in Antwerp on 21st May 1535, after he was betrayed.

    Why was Tyndale arrested and why didn’t King Henry VIII help him when he had the chance?

    In today’s video, I explain what happened to Tyndale on this day, why the king refused to help him, and what happened next.

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  • 20 May – Matthew Hamont, the Arian or Deist heretic

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  • Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours at Hever Castle with Claire Ridgway

    Claire holds Anne Boleyn's books of hours

    Claire Ridgway from the Tudor Society was given the amazing honour by Hever Castle to hold Anne Boleyn’s books of hours. WOW!

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  • May birthdays wordsearch

    Lots of important Tudor people were born in the month of May, so today we have a wordsearch testing you on them. Feel free to search the Tudor Society or “google” if you get stuck!

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  • 19 May – Elizabeth I’s release from the Tower

    On 19th May 1554, the future Queen Elizabeth I was released from the Tower of London after two months of imprisonment. It was the anniversary of her mother Queen Anne Boleyn's execution.

    Elizabeth wasn't free, though, she was released into house arrest. Why? Why had she been imprisoned in the Tower and what happened next?

    Claire Ridgway, author of "On This Day in Tudor History", tells the story of this period in Elizabeth I's life in today's video.

    You can find out more about Elizabeth's arrest and her Tide Letter in Claire's video from 17th March -

    On this day in history:

    • 1527 – Death of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, at Wressle. He was buried in Beverley Minster
    • 1536 – Archbishop Thomas Cranmer issued a dispensation for Henry VIII to marry Jane Seymour, because they were fifth cousins
    • 1536 - Execution of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, at the Tower of London. Click here to read more about her execution
    • 1597 – Death of Richard Rogers, Bishop-Suffragan of Dover.
  • 18 May – Catherine Woodville

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Catherine Woodville, Duchess of Buckingham and Bedford, in 1497.

    Who was this noblewoman and how was she linked to the famous Woodvilles that rose in the reign of King Edward IV? Find out in today’s video.

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  • Best Historical Fiction for Summer Reading – I need you!

    I need you! That’s right, I need your recommendations so that I can fill my kindle with lots of fantastic historical novels.

    Please watch the video to see exactly what I’m looking for, and then leave your recommendations (author and title, and a bit of blurb if you like about why you recommend it) as comments below. Thank you!

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  • 17 May – The Duke of Buckingham and his Plantagenet blood

    Portrait of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, aged 42

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th May 1521, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was executed for treason on Tower Hill.

    He’d served King Henry VII and King Henry VIII loyally for many years, so what led to this nobleman being condemned for high treason?

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  • 16 May – Mary, Queen of Scots, from one prison to another

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th May 1568, following her escape from prison in Scotland, Mary landed on English soil and was taken prisoner once more, but this time by England.

    Why was Mary taken prisoner? What happened?

    I explain all in today's video.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1511 – Burial of Walter Fitzsimons, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Deputy of Ireland, in the nave of St Patrick's Cathedral.
    • 1532 – Resignation of Sir Thomas More as Chancellor.1536 – Archbishop Cranmer visited Queen Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London. It is thought that his visit's purpose was to get Anne to confess to an impediment to her marriage and to consent to him dissolving her marriage to Henry VIII. This would disinherit and bastardise her daughter Elizabeth.
    • 1544 – Death of John Skewys, lawyer and chronicler.1566 – Death of Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven, a man who was involved in the murder of David Riccio, Mary, Queen of Scots's private secretary.
    • 1567 – Death of Sir Anthony Browne, judge, at his home Weald Hall, South Weald, Essex. He had served Mary I as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, but was removed from this office by Elizabeth I and made a Puisne Justice of the same court.
    • 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots landed at Workington after losing at the Battle of Langside.
    • 1576 – Burial of Nicholas Bullingham, Bishop of Lincoln and Worcester. His burial was originally registered at Hartlebury (he died at Hartlebury Castle), but his tomb can now be found in the north aisle of Worcester Cathedral.
    • 1579 – Death of George Freville, judge and 2nd Baron of the Exchequer.
    • 1618 – Death of Dorothy Wadham (née Petre), founder of Wadham College, Oxford. She is buried in St Mary's Church, Ilminster.
    • 1620 – Death of William Adams, navigator, in Hirado, Japan. He is thought to be the first Englishman to have reached Japan (arriving there in 1600) and was the inspiration for the character of John Blackthorne in the famous novel Shōgun.
  • Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 – Day 4

    Today was our final full day on the Anne Boleyn Experience tour 201 – sob!

    After a delicious breakfast (Full Hever Breakfast plus a naughty Danish pastry!), it was time to hit the road. Our luxury coach, driven by the very friendly Alan, took us from Hever, which is nestled in the Kent coutryside, up to London and the incredible building that is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London.

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  • 15 May – Mary, Queen of Scots, marries for the third time

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th May 1567, the recently widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married for the third time, taking James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell and Duke of Orkney, as her husband.

    You can find out more about Bothwell in Claire's video from April 14 - - and in today's video, I tell you all about the bride, Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1464 – Execution of Henry Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, immediately after the Battle of Hexham. He was buried in Hexham Abbey.
    • 1536 - Trials of Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn in the King's Hall at the Tower of London. They were both found guilty and sentenced to death. Click here to read about Anne's trial and here to read about George's.
    • 1537 – Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy de Darcy, and his cousin, John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford, were tried for treason at Westminster after being implicated in the Pilgrimage of Grace. “Letters and Papers” recorded the verdict as guilty and the sentence was “Judgment as usual in cases of high treason. Execution to be at Tyburn.” They were actually beheaded.
    • 1555 – Death of Sir Thomas Bromley, judge. Mary I made him her first Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench, but was unhappy when Nicholas Throckmorton was acquitted in 1554.
    • 1556 – John Knox appeared in Edinburgh to face heresy charges.
  • Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 – Day 3

    I started Day 3 of the Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 off well with a Full Hever Breakfast – yum! And then it was time to head off to nearby Penshurst Place, home of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, before it was seized by the crown after his execution and its keepership granted to Thomas Boleyn. In Edward VI’s reign, it was granted to the Sidney family and has been in that family ever since.

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  • 14 May – Lady Helena Gorges

    On this day in history, 14th May 1635, Helena Gorges (née Snakenborg), Lady Gorges, was buried in Salisbury Cathedral.

    But who was this lady and how did a Swedish royal maid-of-honour end up being buried in England?

    In today’s video, I share some facts about this fascinating woman.

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