The Tudor Society
  • 30 November – Henry VIII gets told off by Catherine of Aragon AND Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th November 1529, the feast of St Andrew, Henry VIII was reproached by the two women in his life: his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and the woman he wanted to marry, Anne Boleyn.

    Catherine of Aragon was not impressed by the way her husband was treating her, and Anne Boleyn didn’t like the fact that the king was letting Catherine get the upper hand. They both told the king exactly what they thought. It was not a good day for King Henry VIII.

    Find out exactly what happened with Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn on this day in 1529, in today’s talk.

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  • 29 November – Cardinal Wolsey cheats the executioner

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th November 1530, at around 8 o’clock in the morning, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII’s former Lord Chancellor, died at the Abbey of St Mary de Pratis, Leicester.

    Cardinal Wolsey, who was in his fifties, cheated the executioner by dying a natural death while on his way to London to answer charges of treason. He surely would have been tried and executed had he reached the capital.

    Find out about Cardinal Wolsey’s death, and who ended up being buried in the sarcophagus he’d had commissioned, in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor Cosmetics

    Lettice Knollys

    A couple of weeks ago, I talked about skincare in the medieval and Tudor periods, the beauty ideal of the time and what ingredients were used in skincare regimens. Today, I’m following on from that talk by looking at the cosmetics of the time.

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  • 28 November – The sad end of claimant Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th November 1499, Edward Plantagenet, styled Earl of Warwick, was executed by beheading on Tower Hill.

    Warwick was a potential claimant to the throne being the son of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III, but it was his involvement in a plot by pretender Perkin Warbeck that was his final undoing.

    Find out more about his short and sad life, much of it spent in prison, in today’s talk:

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  • Tudor Society Christmas Party and Matthew Lewis Live Chat

    In December, instead of having an informal live chat on a Tudor topic, we like to have a bit of a party to celebrate the festive season and to get to know each other. It's a shame that we can't all get together physically, but the next best thing is piling into the Tudor Society chatroom and socialising with other Tudor Society members.

    So, feel free to dress up in party gear, or your favourite Christmas jumper, or even your pyjamas, and bring along a mince pie and Christmas tipple. It'll be fun just to have a chat.

    Here are the times in different time zones:

    • London, UK - Friday 13th December at 11pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Saturday 14th December at 12am
    • New York, USA - Friday 13th December at 6pm
    • Los Angeles, USA - Friday 13th December at 3pm
    • Sydney, Australia - Saturday 14th December at 10am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Saturday 14th December at 9.30am

    If your time zone is not listed here, then you can use to convert the London time to your zone.

    You can find the chatroom at

    Matthew Lewis is our December expert speaker but because the end of December gets a little crazy, with Christmas and New Year, we'll be having our live chat with him on the topic 1483: The Year of Three Kings in January:

    • London, UK - Friday 17th January at 11pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Saturday 18th January at 12am
    • New York, USA - Friday 17th January at 6pm
    • Los Angeles, USA - Friday 17th January at 3pm
    • Sydney, Australia - Saturday 18th January at 10am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Saturday 18th January at 9.30am

    I'll also be organising dates for our January informal chat and expert live chat very soon.

  • December 2019 – Tudor Life – Tudor Christmas

    Here's the full version of your monthly magazine: December's festive Tudor Life magazine is 60 pages long and packed with interesting and fun articles about Tudor Christmas.

    This month the magazine contains:

    • The Lion in Winter: Christmas with the Plantagenets by Roland Hui
    • How should we support historical locations? by Catherine Brooks
    • The Lord of Misrule by Sarah-Beth Watkins
    • A Chesworth Christmas by Gareth Russell
    • Tudor Advent Quiz by Catherine Brooks
    • A very British Christmas by Claire Ridgway
    • Henry VII’s Great Chocolate Seal offer by The National Archives
    • The houses of Lancaster and York and the Wars of the Roses by Susan Abernethy
    • 1483, The Year of the Three Kings our guest speaker is Matthew Lewis
    • Tudor Christmas Editor’s Picks by Gareth Russell
    • Tudor Society Members’ Bulletin by Tim Ridgway
    • The Mystery of Old Thomas Parr by Toni Mount
    • Forgotten Royal Women | Anna, Duchess of Cleves book reviews by Charlie Fenton
    • What exactly is historical fiction? by Wendy J. Dunn
    • From the Spicery: Culinary Curiosities with Rioghnach O’Geraghty
    • December’s On this day by Claire Ridgway

    High Quality Download (75Mb)
    Smaller Download (5.9Mb)

  • 27 November – William Shakespeare gets married

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th November 1582, eighteen year-old William Shakespeare, the famous playwright and a man known as the Bard, married twenty-six year-old Anne (also known as Agnes) Hathaway, at Temple Grafton, near Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire.

    Anne Hathaway was pregnant at the time of their marriage and went on to give birth to a daughter, Susannah, the following May. The couple went on to have twins, Hamnet and Judith, in 1585.

    Find out more about William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, and their marriage, and also what happened to them, in today’s talk:

    [Read More...]
  • 26 November – Henry Fitzroy gets married

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th November 1533, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, illegitimate son of King Henry VIII, married Mary Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, at Hampton Court Palace. They were both fourteen years old.

    It appears that the marriage, which was a political match rather than a love match, was the idea of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn.

    Find out more about Henry Fitzroy and Mary Howard’s marriage and its context in today’s talk.

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  • 25 November – The coronation of Elizabeth of York

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th November 1487, the Feast of St Catherine, Elizabeth of York, queen consort of Henry VII and mother of one-year-old Arthur Tudor, was crowned queen at Westminster Abbey.

    In today’s talk, I share details of Elizabeth of York’s coronation, including Elizabeth’s apparel, and who attended, plus a list of some of the interesting dishes served at Elizabeth of York’s coronation banquet which included swan and seal!

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  • 24 November – Elizabeth of York’s coronation procession

    On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 24th November 1487, the coronation procession of Elizabeth of York, queen consort of King Henry VII, the first Tudor monarch, took place in London.

    Elizabeth of York’s coronation was scheduled for the next day. She had become queen in January 1486, but her coronation had been postponed due to pregnancy and trouble with the Cornish rebels and Perkin Warbeck. Finally, Henry VII’s wife and the mother of little Prince Arthur could be crowned queen.

    Find out all about her coronation procession, what Elizabeth wore, who was involved and what happened, in today’s talk.

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  • Quiz – Which Tudor monarch?

    How much do you know about our very favourite kings and queens, the Tudor monarchs, and their reigns?

    Test your knowledge with this fun quiz! Good luck!

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  • 23 November – The pretender Perkin Warbeck

    Note: I say that Margaret of York was the Princes’ sister, when actually she was their aunt. Sorry!

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd November 1499, in the reign of King Henry VII, pretender Perkin Warbeck was hanged at Tyburn after allegedly plotting to help another claimant, Edward, Earl of Warwick, escape from the Tower of London.

    Perkin Warbeck had claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the younger of the Princes in the Tower, and had even been proclaimed King Richard IV, but his rebellion and claim failed.

    In today’s talk, I give Perkin Warbeck’s background, and explain how he ended up trying to claim the throne of England, and what happened.

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  • 22 November – Sir William Butts, royal physician and confidant

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd November 1545, Henry VIII’s trusted physician and confidant, Sir William Butts, died after suffering from a “dooble febre quartanz”, a form of malaria.

    Sir William Butts was the doctor who was sent to treat Anne Boleyn, when she was ill with sweating sickness, and also advised on Princess Mary’s sickness, and was the man King Henry VIII confided in about his problems consummating his marriage to Anne of Cleves. He was obviously a man the king could trust.

    Find out more about this Tudor physician in today’s talk, with help from Teasel the dog.

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  • Mary Queen of Scots in Edinburgh – Emma Casson

    This week we have Tudor Society member Emma Casson showing us around the places in Edinburgh that Mary, Queen of Scots would have known.

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  • November 21 – Frances Grey, mother of Lady Jane Grey

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st November 1559, Frances Grey (maiden name Brandon, other married name Stokes), Duchess of Suffolk and the mother of Queen Jane, or Lady Jane Grey, died at Richmond. She was laid to rest in St Edmund’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, on the orders of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, and her second husband, Adrian Stokes, erected a tomb in her memory.

    Frances, daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Mary Tudor, Queen of France, has gone down in history as rather a harsh and abusive mother, but let me tell you a bit more about the woman who was once named in Edward VI’s “devise for the succession”.

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  • Join Elizabeth I for mulled wine and mince pies at Tutbury Church – 19 December 2019

    Yes, you read that right! You can enjoy mulled wine and mince pies with Queen Elizabeth I herself at Tutbury Church on 19th December 2019. Well, ok, it’s historian, actress and re-enactor Lesley Smith as Elizabeth, but you’ll feel like you’re with Gloriana herself!

    Here are the details:

    Mulled Wine and Mince Pies with Elizabeth I in Tutbury Church
    Thursday 19th December 2019
    7:30pm arrival for 8pm start
    £12.50 per person

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  • Christmas workshops at Acton Court

    If you can get to Acton Court in Gloucestershire, UK, why not enjoy one of their Christmas workshops?

    From Acton Court:

    Step back in time with Organic Blooms at Acton Court, create your own beautiful, natural Christmas wreath, garland or table decoration at one of our workshops.

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  • 20 November – Sir Christopher Hatton Elizabeth I’s mouton and lids

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th November 1591, Sir Christopher Hatton, Elizabeth I’s Lord Chancellor and favourite, died aged fifty-one. He was such a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I that he had a dazzling career and was constantly at her side.

    Find out more about Sir Christopher Hatton, his career and accomplishments, his patronage of learned men and explorers, and his special relationship with Elizabeth I, in today’s talk.

    [Read More...]
  • 19 November – An important member of the Catholic underground dies

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th November 1587, Henry Vaux died of what was probably consumption at Great Ashby, the home of his sister, Eleanor Brooksby.

    Henry Vaux is a fascinating Tudor man. He started out as a precocious child and poet, and grew up to be an important member of the Catholic underground. He was a Catholic recusant and priest harbourer, helping Jesuit priests in the Protestant reign of Queen Elizabeth I, both financially and by giving them a roof over the heads.

    In today’s talk, I introduce Henry Vaux and what happened to him in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign.

    Book Recommendation: One of my very favourite history books is “God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England” by Jessie Childs.

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  • 18 November – Cuthbert Tunstall, an imprisoned bishop

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th November 1559, eighty-five-year-old Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, died while in the custody of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace.

    Cuthbert Tunstall had an amazing career which spanned the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I, and he was imprisoned in two of those monarchs’ reigns. In today’s talk, I give an overview of this bishop’s interesting life and career.

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  • 17 November – The queen is dead! Long live the queen!

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th November 1558, forty-two-year-old Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, died at St James’s Palace in London. She passed the throne on to her twenty-five-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, who became Queen Elizabeth I.

    In today’s talk, I talk about the accession of Queen Elizabeth I and the traditional story of Elizabeth finding out that she was queen at Hatfield.

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  • Tudor Churchmen Wordsearch

    How much do you know about prominent churchmen of the Tudor period? Test your knowledge of these bishop, archbishops and those who served both Church and State, in this fun wordsearch.

    Good luck!

    Simply click on the link or image to open and print out. The words can read in any direction!

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  • 16 November – A strange Elizabethan Plot

    On this day in history, 16th November 1612, Elizabethan conspirator, William Stafford, died. He’s an interesting Tudor character because he had Plantagenet blood and also because he was allegedly the chief plotter in the Stafford Plot, a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I, but he was only imprisoned for a short time and lived the rest of his life quietly in Norfolk, dying a natural death.

    How and why did William Stafford escape serious punishment for the Stafford Plot and what did Sir Francis Walsingham have to do with it all?

    Find out about William Stafford and the Stafford Plot in today’s talk.

    [Read More...]
  • Medieval and Tudor Skincare

    In this week’s Claire Chats talk, I start a two-part series looking at skincare and cosmetics in the medieval and Tudor periods. It’s a fascinating subject when we are living at a time when lots of people are reverting to using natural remedies, storecupboard ingredients and herbs and spices for skincare and skin complaints.

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  • 15 November – The pope threatens Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th November 1532, a rather cross Pope Clement VII threatened King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn with excommunication.

    Why? Well, because Henry VIII had defied the pope’s instructions and previous threats, and gone his own way, setting aside Catherine of Aragon and living with Anne Boleyn. The pope was not impressed with this disobedient king.

    In today’s talk,I share excerpts of the pope’s letter, along with an explanation of the context and what happened next.

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  • 14 November – Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon get married (but not to each other!)

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th November and the Feast of St Erkenwald, there may have been two royal Tudor weddings. We know that Catherine of Aragon married Arthur, Prince of Wales, on 14th November 1501, but chronicler Edward Hall gives 14th November 1532 as the date of a secret wedding for King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Marquess of Pembroke, in Dover.

    Let me tell you all about the weddings of Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor, and Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

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  • 13 November – Lady Jane Grey is tried for treason

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th November 1553, in the reign of Queen Mary I, the former queen Jane, or Lady Jane Grey, was tried for treason at Guildhall in London. She wasn’t the only one tried, her husband Lord Guildford Dudley, his brothers Ambrose and Henry Dudley, and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, were also tried for treason for their parts in putting Jane on the throne.

    In today’s talk, I explain what happened at their trial and also what happened to these Tudor people after they were found guilty and condemned to death.

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  • 12 November – Queen Jane Seymour’s remains are moved to Windsor

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th November 1537, the corpse of Queen Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife, was transported by chariot in a procession from Hampton Court Palace to Windsor Castle, in preparation for burial. Jane Seymour’s heart and entrails had been buried in the chapel at Hampton Court Palace following her death on 24th October 1537.

    Queen Jane’s stepdaughter, the Lady Mary, acted as chief mourner for the proceedings.

    There was also a commemoration for Queen Jane in the city of London.

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  • 11 November – Queen Catherine Howard is moved to Syon House

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th November 1541, the feast of Martinmas, King Henry VIII’s council sent Archbishop Thomas Cranmer a letter containing instructions to move Queen Catherine Howard from Hampton Court Palace to Syon House, formerly Syon Abbey.

    In today’s talk, Claire Ridgway, founder of the Tudor Society, shares the instructions that Cranmer was given and what the queen was sent for her time at Syon. Claire also shares what else happened on this day in 1541, along with some trivia about the people in charge of Catherine’s household at Syon.

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  • Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1565-1601)

    Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, after Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger

    Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, after Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger

    Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, was born on this day in history, 10th November 1565, at Netherwood, Herefordshire. To commemorate the birth of this man, one of Elizabeth I's favourites, I thought I'd share this mini biography of him, along with a few videos I did.

    Devereux was the eldest son of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, and Lettice Knollys, granddaughter of Mary Boleyn, and was a favourite of Elizabeth I. After his father's death in 1576, William Cecil, Lord Burghley, was made his guardian, and in 1578 his mother married his godfather, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

    Essex first caught the Queen's attention in 1584 when his stepfather, Leicester, brought him to court, and he was appointed Master of the Horse on his return to court after successful military service in the Netherlands with his stepfather. He was just twenty-one, and the Queen was fifty-three.

    Although Robert Devereux is often described as "the darling of Elizabeth's old age", having replaced his stepfather in Elizabeth's affections after Dudley's death in 1588, Alison Plowden says that "it would probably be more accurate to describe him as one of its greatest headaches". Although Essex was dashing and charming, he was rash, ambitious, arrogant, headstrong and used to getting his own way. Unlike Dudley, Essex did not know Elizabeth as only a childhood friend or sweetheart can, and he constantly underestimated her and attempted to bully her into submission.

    After a successful raid on Cadiz in 1596 during the war with Spain, Essex returned to England as a hero. His return to court caused the forming of two factions: the Devereux faction, who were seeking military profit and glory, and the opposing faction headed by Lord Burghley and his son, Robert Cecil, who were on the side of peace. Although Elizabeth loved flirting with the handsome Essex and doted on him, she sought to keep a balance between the factions, and would not always give her favourite what he wanted. This led to Essex sulking like a spoiled child, and to stormy rows between him and the Queen. Essex ignored the advice of friends like Francis Bacon, who warned him not to offend Elizabeth by seeking to be overly powerful, because he did not want to settle for 'just' being a servant like his stepfather. He wanted more. Wise counsel fell on deaf ears, and Elizabeth's attempts to tame wild-child Essex failed.

    Ultimately, it was his pride and his need for recognition and power that led to his undoing. In 1599, Essex became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, but his campaign against the Irish was unsuccessful. Essex constantly ignored the Queen's orders, acted contrary to her wishes and constantly worried about what the Cecil faction were getting up to back at court. His obsession with power led to him giving up on the Irish situation, making a truce with the Irish rebel leader (against the Queen's wishes) and returning to England without the Queen's permission. This amounted to desertion and disobedience, something which Elizabeth could not and would not tolerate. The situation was made worse on the 28th September 1599, by Essex striding into Elizabeth's bedchamber unannounced and seeing the Queen without her makeup or wig, without her "mask of youth". You can read more about this event in my article here.

    On the 29th September, Essex was interrogated before the Queen's Council for around 5 hours, and the Council concluded that his truce with the Irish rebels was indefensible, and that his return to England was a desertion of duty. Essex was then put under house arrest. In June 1600, Essex appeared before a special court and was punished by being deprived of his public office and being confined to his home. However, in August, he was granted his freedom, although his sweet wines monopoly, his one source of income, was not renewed.
    He may well have wormed his way back into the Queen's affections if he had apologised and appealed to the Queen for mercy - after all, she had a soft spot for him and was used to his impulsive behaviour - but Essex made the fatal mistake of trying to enlist the support of the Scottish king, James VI, against Cecil's faction at court, and planning a coup for March 1601 to force Elizabeth to summon Parliament and deal with Cecil and his faction. When, on the 7th February, Essex received a message from the Queen that he was to present himself before Council, he decided to move things forward and summoned three hundred followers, telling them that Cecil and Ralegh were planning to assassinate him, and that the rising should therefore take place the next day, instead of in March.

    Robert Devereux by Isaac Oliver

    Robert Devereux by Isaac Oliver

    On the 8th February 1601, Essex, his supporters and two hundred soldiers gathered at Essex House. Essex then marched into the city crying "For the Queen! For the Queen! The crown of England is sold to the Spaniard! A plot is laid for my life!" but London's citizens remained indoors instead of joining him on his march. As his supporters deserted him, Essex was forced to give up and return home, where he surrendered after Lord Admiral Nottingham threatened to blow up his house if he did not give himself up.

    On the 9th February, Elizabeth I told the French ambassador that the "shameless ingrate, had at last revealed what had long been in his mind". Her patience had been stretched beyond breaking point and she could no longer excuse her past favourite's behaviour. On the 13th February the full details of the coup planned by Essex were made public, and on the 17th February indictments were laid against Essex and his key supporters, including Henry Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton. Two days later, on the 19th February, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and his friend, Southampton, were tried at Westminster Hall by a jury of their peers. Both men were accused of high treason, found guilty and sentenced to death. Elizabeth I, in her mercy, commuted Southampton's sentence to life in prison and Essex's sentence of a traitor's death to death by beheading. On the 20th February, the Queen signed his death warrant.

    Essex was executed on Tower Green on the 25th February 1601.

    Taken from On this Day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway.