The Tudor Society


  • 19 August – A defiant but polite Mary I

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th August 1551, Princess Mary, the future Mary I, wrote to her half-brother King Edward VI regarding orders that he had sent, orders that she was not going to obey.

    As historian Henry Ellis noted, this letter is evidence of Mary’s talent at writing and her intellect, and it also shows just how stubborn she could be. But then Edward was stubborn too! He wasn’t going to let his sister defy him but she wasn’t going to obey him and compromise her faith – oh dear!

    Find out more about the situation, and hear Mary’s words to Edward, in today’s talk.

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  • 9 July – Mary wants to avoid bloodshed and vengeance

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th July 1553, three days after the death of her half-brother, King Edward VI, and the day after she’d proclaimed herself queen at her estate at Kenninghall, Mary (future Mary I), daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, wrote to the late king’s privy council regarding “some evil” that she’d heard.

    But what was going on? What had Mary heard and what was she going to do about it?

    Find out more about the situation and Mary’s letter in today’s talk.

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  • 2 June – Queen Jane Seymour

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd June 1536, Jane Seymour made her first public appearance at Greenwich Palace.

    She’d married King Henry VIII on 30th May 1536, and this public appearance was just two weeks after Anne Boleyn’s execution, so it must have caused quite a stir.

    Find out more about this public appearance, and also about Jane Seymour herself, in today’s talk.

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  • 20 April – Lady Mary Grey, sister of Lady Jane Grey

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th April 1578, Lady Mary Keys (née Grey), sister of Lady Jane Grey and wife of Thomas Keys, died at her home in the parish of St Botolph without Aldgate, London.

    Like her sisters, Mary had a sad life. Her secret marriage led to Elizabeth I imprisoning her and her husband, and they never saw each other again.

    Find out more about the tiny Mary who was described as “crook-backed”, her marriage to a man who was said to be 6’8, and what happened to Mary and Thomas, in today’s talk.

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  • 8 February – The Queen’s favourite rebels

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th February 1601, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex and Queen Elizabeth I’s former favourite, did a rather foolish thing and raised a rebellion against the queen and her council.

    Spoilers: It didn’t go well and he ended up being executed as a traitor.

    Find out exactly what happened in today’s talk.

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  • 4 February – Mary Boleyn gets married

    On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 4th February 1520, Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne Boleyn, got married to William Carey in the Chapel Royal at Greenwich Palace, in a service attended by King Henry VIII.

    Find out more about Mary Boleyn and William Carey in today’s talk.

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  • 8 January – Mary Shelton, Anne Boleyn’s cousin and lady

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th January 1571, Mary Shelton (married names: Heveningham and Appleyard) was buried at Heveningham Church, Suffolk.

    Mary Shelton was Queen Anne Boleyn’s cousin and lady-in-waiting, and may also have been King Henry VIII’s mistress. She also contributed to the Devonshire Manuscript with the likes of Mary Howard, Lady Margaret Douglas and Lord Thomas Howard.

    Find out more about Mary Shelton in today’s talk.

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  • 14 December – Mary I is buried

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th December 1558, Queen Mary I was buried at Westminster Abbey.

    Mary had died on 17th November 1558 and had left instructions for Catherine of Aragon’s remains to be moved from Peterborough and for them to be reinterred with Mary’s remains so that mother and daughter could be together.

    Did this happen?

    Find out all about Mary I’s burial, and who did join her in death, in today’s talk.

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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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  • 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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  • 18 October – Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th October 1541, Margaret Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII and eldest daughter of King Henry VII, died of a stroke at Methven Castle, Perthshire, Scotland. She was laid to rest at the Carthusian Priory of St John in Perth, which was later destroyed.

    Margaret Tudor is a fascinating Tudor lady. She was sent to Scotland at 13 to marry King James IV, she was widowed, divorced and unhappily married, she fled to England at one point, and she was the mother of Lady Margaret Douglas, grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots AND Lord Darnley, and great-grandmother of King James VI of Scotland (King James I of England). What a life she had!

    Find out all about Margaret Tudor in today’s talk.

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  • 9 October – Mary Tudor and Louis XII get married

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th October 1514, eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII and daughter of the late Henry VII, married fifty-two year-old King Louis XII of France at Abbeville in France.

    In today’s talk, I share contemporary accounts of Mary’s lavish entry into Abbeville on 8th October and the wedding on 9th October, including descriptions of Mary and her apparel.

    Of course, Mary wasn’t married to Louis for long as he died on 1st January 1515.

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  • 7 September – Birth of Queen Elizabeth I, Gloriana

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th September 1533, at Greenwich Palace, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, gave birth to a daughter who would grow up to be Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, Gloriana, Good Queen Bess, a queen who would rule England for over 44 years.

    Happy birthday to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603)!

    Find out more about her birth, the reactions and celebrations in today’s talk.

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  • The Executed Queens Tour – Day 3 – Tutbury Castle

    Today started off well, with yet another scrumptious breakfast at Brockencote Hall, and then it was time to set off to see Tutbury Castle.

    One of our tour members admitted later that she hadn’t been looking forward to this visit as she knew that the castle was in ruins and there wouldn’t be much to see of the castle that Mary, Queen of Scots, knew during her four periods of imprisonment there, but this tour member ending up having a wonderful time. Let me tell you more.

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  • 10 July – Queen Jane and the boy with no ears

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th July 1553, Lady Jane Grey was officially proclaimed “Queen Jane” at the Tower of London, in Cheapside and Fleet Street. However, one young man could not keep quiet about his views regarding Mary being the rightful queen and he suffered a nasty punishment as a result.

    In today’s talk, I share a contemporary account of what happened on that day in London

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  • The Executed Queens Tour – Day 2 -Sudeley Castle

    After a filling breakfast (Full English for me!), our lovely coach driver, Alan, took us to Sudeley Castle, in Winchcombe, in the Cotswolds.

    As well as being the home and place of death of Catherine Parr, sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII, Sudeley also served as home to Lady Jane Grey, one of our executed queens, in 1548. Jane was the ward of Catherine’s fourth husband, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, who owned the castle, and so joined Catherine there when she retired to Sudeley as she prepared for the birth of her first and only child. Jane was at Sudeley when Catherine died in September 1548 and acted as chief mourner at Catherine’s funeral at the church within the grounds.

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  • 6 July – The king is dead, long live the queen!

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th July 1553, fifteen-year-old King Edward VI died at Greenwich Palace leaving the throne to his cousin’s eldest daughter, Lady Jane Grey.

    I share details of Edward’s final illness and last days, his “Devise for the Succession”, and Lady Jane Grey’s reaction at being told that she was Edward’s successor.

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  • Live Transcript – Roland Hui – Queenship

    Live chat transcript Roland Hui

    Thanks to all who came to the live chat on Saturday night. We had a fast-paced discussion about queenship and in particular the six wives of Henry VIII.

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  • 15 June – Mary is bullied

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th June 1536, Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was bullied and threatened by members of her father’s council.

    It must have been a truly shocking event for the twenty-year-old princess, who was now known as “Lady Mary”.

    In today’s video, I give a contemporary account of what happened on this day and why, and explain how Mary did end up reconciling with her father the king.

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  • The Executed Queens Tour

    In this special video, I talk about the four Tudor queens – Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey and Mary, Queen of Scots – whose lives ended on the scaffold, and some of the places connected to them.

    I find that by visiting places linked to historical people we get a special link to them. We can walk a little in their footsteps. We can look at things they knew, touch walls they touched… It’s special.

    I can’t wait to visit these places and to have that connection with these fascinating women. I’m quite literally counting the days!

    You can join me and Philippa on the Executed Queens Tour in July 2019. There are 4 places left!

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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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  • 13 May – Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon get married again

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th May 1515, Henry VIII's beloved sister, Mary Tudor, former Queen of France, married his best friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, at Greenwich Palace.

    Hear all about the couple's marriage in today's video from Claire Ridgway, author and founder of the Tudor Society.

    As Claire mentions, the couple had got married secretly in France and you can find out more about that in Claire's video at

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1536 – Queen Anne Boleyn’s royal household at Greenwich was broken up, even though she hadn't been tried yet. Click here to read more.
    • 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots's forces were defeated at the Battle of Langside.
    • 1619 – Funeral of Anne (Anne of Denmark), consort of James VI and I. She was buried in Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey.
  • 12 April – Queen Anne Boleyn makes an entrance with her sixty ladies

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th April 1533, Anne Boleyn made her very first public appearance as King Henry VIII’s official queen consort.

    Anne made quite an entrance! Accompanied by sixty ladies and “loaded with jewels”, she processed to Easter Eve mass at Greenwich Palace, setting tongues wagging.

    Hear an account of this event in today’s video.

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  • 24 March – The end of Queen Elizabeth I, Gloriana!

    Today is the anniversary of the death of the iconic Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and a woman who is known as the Virgin Queen, Gloriana and Good Queen Bess, and whose reign has been called a Golden Age.

    In today's video, I talk about Elizabeth's last days and share contemporary accounts of her death on 24th March 1603. I also share some of Queen Elizabeth I's achievements.

    There are lots of resources on Elizabeth I on the Tudor Society and you can find others by using the search box.

    And if you only have 60 seconds to spare!

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1582 – Death of Sir James Dyer, judge, law reporter and Speaker of the House of Commons during the reign of Edward VI. His other offices included King's Sergeant-at-Law, Judge of the Common Pleas and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. He was buried at Great Staughton Church in Huntingdonshire, next to his wife.
    • 1619 – Death of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, nobleman and politician, at Warwick House in Holborn. He was buried at Felsted Church. Rich was married to Penelope Devereux, daughter of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, and Lettice Knollys, and sister of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. It was not a happy marriage, and the couple separated in 1590 after the birth of their second son, and divorced in 1605. Penelope began a relationship with Charles Blount, the future Lord Mountjoy, in 1590 and went on to have children by him.
  • 18 March – The birth of Mary Tudor, Queen of France

    Mary Tudor, Queen of France, detail from a portrait of her and her second husband, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

    Henry VIII’s beloved sister, Mary Tudor, Queen of France, was born on this day in 1496 at Richmond Palace.

    In this video, I give a brief overview of Mary Tudor’s life.

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  • 1 February – Mary I’s rousing speech

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st February 1554, Queen Mary I gave a rousing speech to the citizens of London. In this video, I explain what why she did and what she said.

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  • January 2019 – Tudor Life – Tudor Marys

    Happy New Year! This month in Tudor Life Magazine, we have a bumper edition which is 94 pages long. It’s all about the Marys who made up the Tudor world…

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  • The tomb of Elizabeth I and Mary I

    Thank you to Lynne for asking these two questions about the shared tomb of Queens Elizabeth I and Mary I: “Why did James I decide to bury Elizabeth I on top of her sister Mary? Why is Elizabeth I’s effigy visible with her mother’s coat of arms and nothing on display for Mary?”

    Let me tell you about their burials and their present resting place at Westminster Abbey.

    Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, died on 17th November 1558. Mary left instructions in her will for her mother’s remains, which had been buried at Peterborough Abbey, to be exhumed and brought to London so that Catherine could be buried with Mary. However, her instructions were ignored; Catherine remained at Peterborough and Mary lay in state at St James’s Palace until her funeral on 14th December 1558, when she was buried at Westminster Abbey with just stones marking her resting place. You can read more about her funeral in my article 14 December 1558 – Burial of Queen Mary I.

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  • Anne Stanley: England’s Rightful Queen? by Conor Byrne

    It is well known that when Elizabeth I died on 24 March 1603 at Richmond Palace, she was succeeded on the throne of England by her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland. Although Elizabeth had consented to the execution of James’s mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1587, the mainly cordial relations between the Scottish king and the English queen were undoubtedly influenced by James’s hope that he would eventually be named successor to Elizabeth. The Tudor queen had been notoriously reluctant during her forty-four-year reign to name a successor, but as her life drew to a close Elizabeth realised that the maintenance of peace in her kingdom depended greatly on a stable succession. The peaceful accession of James in the spring of 1603, however, has obscured the dynastic and political relevance of a forgotten noblewoman – Anne Stanley, later Countess of Castlehaven. In the twenty-first century, Anne is generally known not for her dynastic importance but for her testimony against her husband, which led to his execution for sodomy in 1631.

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  • The queen and the royal potty

    Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Nancy for asking this question: “If the queen had to make a pottie stop between residences, how would that be accomplished? Does anyone know?”

    Social historian and re-enactor Bess Chilver has answered Nancy’s question, taking into account what a king would do as well. Over to Bess…

    Very interesting question. Our perception of a Royal, even now in these times of minimal deference, is that of a figure, remote and almost not human. Or at least, not subject to the usual human frailties and bodily functions.

    However, even a King or a Queen needs to use the (Royal) Potty sometimes, so where did they use it?

    Within their own properties, there were rooms specifically for their own private use. The Close Stool or Privy was the Medieval and 16th-century versions of the modern toilet. Mostly they worked in a similar way to a modern composting toilet except that the contents of the toilet would be removed by the night soil men. The effluent would be used for composting elsewhere – an excellent example of recycling.

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