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The Tudor Society
  • December 20 – Edward Arden and an alleged plot to kill the queen

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th December 1583, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Edward Arden was hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield.

    Arden was executed the day after his son-in-law, John Somerville, had been found dead in his cell at Newgate Prison.

    Arden, a Warwickshire gentleman who was related to William Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, and married to a member of the Throckmorton family, had been found guilty of treason, after being implicated in Somerville’s plot to kill Queen Elizabeth I.

    But was Edward Arden actually guilty? And why weren’t the others involved in this alleged plot executed?

    Find out more about Edward Arden and what happened in 1583…

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  • November 30 – Elizabeth I’s Golden Speech

    Portrait of Elizabeth I of England in Parliament Robes, British School, from Helmingham Hall, Stowmarket.

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th November 1601, Queen Elizabeth I gave her famous Golden Speech.

    She addressed it to the House of Commons, and it was her final speech to Parliament.

    In her speech, the sixty-eight-year-old Elizabeth I spoke of her position as queen and her love and respect for her realm, her people, and for her members of Parliament. It was a speech that brought many of the men present to tears. It was a heartfelt speech by a queen who truly loved her people.

    Let me share Elizabeth I’s Golden Speech with you…

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  • October 28 – Ivan the Terrible’s rather rude letter to Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th October 1570, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Ivan IV of Russia wrote a rather rude letter to the English queen.

    Ivan IV, more commonly known as Ivan the Terrible, was upset with Elizabeth I’s reaction to his idea of a political alliance, an agreement to help each other if their lives were in danger, and wrote the letter while he was still angry.

    His rude letter must have angered Elizabeth, but unlike Ivan, she waited to reply until her anger had subsided.

    Find out what Ivan the Terrible and Elizabeth I wrote in their letters to each other, and how they came to be corresponding in the first place…

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  • October 7 – George Gascoigne, a man who helped Robert Dudley with a marriage proposal

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th October 1577, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, George Gascoigne died in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

    As well as being an author and soldier, Gascoigne was a gifted poet. He was hired by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in 1575 to provide entertainment for the queen’s visit to Leicester’s home, Kenilworth Castle. Leicester was going to make one final attempt to persuade the queen to marry him, and he hoped Gascoigne could help him.

    Find out all about Gascoigne’s masque, Zabeta, and what happened at Kenilworth…

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  • August 16 – The Norris family lose another two sons

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th August 1599, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Thomas Norris, soldier and Lord President of Munster in Ireland, died at his home, Mallow Castle, in Cork.

    Norris died as a result of an injury he’d sustained in a skirmish with Irish troops on 30th May 1599. His brother, Henry, died just five days later.

    Thomas and Henry’s brothers, John, William and Maximilian, who were also soldiers, died in 1597, 1579 and 1593 respectively.

    Queen Elizabeth I recognised the sacrifice of the Norris family and wrote a letter of condolence to her friends, Henry Norris, 1st Baron Norris, and his wife, Margery Williams.

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  • August 9 – Elizabeth I issues a mandate that causes a stir

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th August 1561, while on a visit to Ipswich, in Suffolk, Queen Elizabeth I issued a royal mandate which caused quite a stir. She was forbidding women to reside in cathedrals and colleges.

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  • July 30 – Elizabeth rides to Wanstead to meet Mary

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th July 1553, eleven days after her half-sister, Mary, had been proclaimed queen, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, left her new home, Somerset House, to ride to Wanstead and greet Mary.

    Somerset House was Elizabeth’s new London residence and you can find out more about how Elizabeth acquired it and who built it originally in this video:

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  • July 27 – Robert Dudley wanted to keep Elizabeth I out of harm’s way

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th July 1588, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote to Queen Elizabeth I with an invitation. He was intent on keeping the queen, the woman he loved, out of harm’s way.

    What was his invitation?

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  • Elizabeth: Apprenticeship by David Starkey

    Elizabeth’s pre-accession years are being brought to life in the Starz series “Becoming Elizabeth” at the moment and an excellent book on this period of Elizabeth I’s life is David Starkey’s “Elizabeth: Apprenticeship”. Here’s a review from our archives from book reviewer Lil:

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  • June 7 – A queen’s physician is hanged, and a historic meeting

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th June 1594, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the queen’s physician, Roderigo Lopez, was hanged, drawn and quartered after being accused of plotting to poison the queen.

    Find out more about Lopez and what happened…

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  • May 8 – Charles Wriothesley, Elizabeth I’s Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy, and a show of strength

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th May 1508, herald and chronicler Charles Wriothesley was born in London.

    Wriothesley’s chronicle is one of the major primary sources for King Henry VIII’s reign, so let Claire tell you more about its writer, Charles Wriothesley, Windsor Herald, and what heralds actually are.

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  • Elizabeth I’s Early Life Crossword Puzzle

    How much do you know about the early years of that iconic queen, Elizabeth I?

    Test your knowledge with this fun crossword puzzle.

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  • April 28 – Elizabeth I’s funeral, Sir Anthony Browne and an executed priest

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th April 1603, Queen Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey in a lavish funeral.

    Find out more about her funeral…

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  • March 21 – Elizabeth I takes to her bed and The end of Thomas Cranmer

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st March 1603, a dying Queen Elizabeth I finally took to her bed.

    Elizabeth I had been queen since November 1558, but now she was dying. She had deep-rooted melancholy, couldn’t sleep and was refusing to eat. She spent her days lying on cushions in her withdrawing chamber. But on 21st March, she was finally persuaded to go to bed.

    Find out more about these last days in this talk…

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  • March 18 – Elizabeth I is arrested and The birth of Mary Tudor, Queen of France

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th March 1554, Palm Sunday, the twenty-year-old Lady Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth I) was escorted by barge from her home at Whitehall Palace along the River Thames to the Tower of London, and imprisoned there.

    Elizabeth had been implicated in Wyatt’s Rebellion, a rebellion that sought to depose Queen Mary I and put Elizabeth, the queen’s half-sister, on the throne in her place.

    Where was Elizabeth imprisoned? What happened to her? Find out more about Elizabeth’s arrest and her time in the Tower of London in this talk…

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  • March 17 – Alexander Alesius’ terrifying vision of Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I’s famous Tide Letter

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th March 1565, Scottish theologian and Reformer Alexander Alesius (also known as Ales, Aless), died in either Leipzig or Edinburgh.

    Alesius wrote a huge number of theological works, was friends with reformers Philip Melancthon and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, but had a row with the Bishop of London at one point.

    Find out more about Alexander Alesius and his terrifying vision or nightmare he experienced in the early hours of 19th May 1536, the day of Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution in this talk…

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  • 18 February – The Ridolfi Plot against Elizabeth I and the birthday of Queen Mary I

    On this day in history, 18th February 1612, Italian banker Roberto di Ridolfi died in Florence, Italy, aged 80.

    Amazingly, he died a natural death even though he’d been the brains behind the Ridolfi Plot, a plot to depose Queen Elizabeth I and to replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, thereby restoring Catholicism in England.

    Find out more about Ridolfi and his famous plot in this talk…

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  • 5 February – Elizabeth was under investigation and the birth of Sir Henry Brooke

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th February 1549, in the reign of King Edward VI, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth I, was summoned to appear before Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, who was keeping her under house arrest at Hatfield while the Crown investigated Thomas Seymour.

    Edward VI’s privy council were investigating whether Elizabeth was secretly plotting to marry Thomas Seymour, Edward VI’s uncle, helped by her servants, Katherine Ashley and Thomas Parry.

    Parry and Ashley had made confessions, but what had they said? And what would happen to them all?

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  • Blog: A New Theory on the Princes in the Tower and More

    At the end of last year we started something new on the website: a blog. Each month we will look back on exciting discoveries, new books, exhibitions, and lots more. In addition to that, we will mention what you may have missed on the Tudor Society website and look ahead to upcoming events. Today’s blog focuses on the first month of 2022! 

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  • 23 January – Elizabeth I opens the Royal Exchange and the death of Ferdinand II

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd January 1571, after dining with its founder, Sir Thomas Gresham, Queen Elizabeth I opened the Royal Exchange in London.

    Find out more about the official opening, what the Royal Exchange was, why Gresham paid for its building, and what happened to it, in this talk…

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  • 23 December – Elizabeth I moves to a property her mother knew well and the burial of Nicholas Undall

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd December 1558, just over a month after her accession, England’s new queen, Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, moved from Somerset House to Whitehall Palace, which became her principal residence.

    Whitehall, formerly York Place, had once been home to her mother, Anne Boleyn, and had been the setting of Anne’s marriage to Henry VIII. I wonder if Elizabeth felt close to her mother there.

    Find out more about Whitehall Palace, and also Somerset Place, the property Elizabeth left, in this talk…

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  • 2 December – Elizabeth I finally agreed to sentence Mary, Queen of Scots; to death and Henry Howard was arrested

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd December 1586, following a joint petition from the Houses of Lords and Commons, Elizabeth I finally agreed to a public proclamation of sentence against Mary, Queen of Scots: death.

    Mary had been found guilty of high treason back in October 1586, but Elizabeth had not wanted to contemplate regicide. However, Parliament believed that if Mary, Queen of Scots, was not executed, that she’d continue to plot against Elizabeth and would utterly “ruinate and overthrow the happy State and Common Weal of this most Noble Realm”. She was too much of a danger and needed dealing with once and for all.

    Find out what Parliament said and what happened next in this talk…

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  • Blog: fascinating discoveries and intriguing collections

    From books to exhibitions, to new discoveries and more. Every month we (Merel and Emma) will give you an update on all things new and exciting in the Tudor world. Starting with the first blog in which we look back on what has happened in November. 

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  • 30 October – Elizabeth I’s refusal to renew Robert Devereux and the coronation of Henry VII

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th October 1600, Queen Elizabeth I refused to renew Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex’s monopoly on sweet wines, saying that “an unruly horse must be abated of his provender, that he may be the easier and better managed.”

    It may not sound like a major event, but it was for Essex and it drove him to desperation and, ultimately, to the scaffold.

    Why? What was going on? How could the queen’s refusal to renew this monopoly lead to Essex’s undoing?

    Find out what was happened in 1600 and what happened next with the queen and her favourite, in this talk…

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  • 29 October – Henry VIII’s farewell to Francis I of France and the execution of Sir Walter Ralegh

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th October 1532, King Henry VIII bid farewell to his “loving brother”, his French counterpart, King Francis I.

    The two kings had enjoyed each other’s company at Calais and Boulogne, and Henry VIII was pleased with their meetings. In fact, things had gone so well that Henry VIII decided to marry Anne Boleyn!

    Find out more about their farewell, and what had happened during the trip, in this talk…

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  • 28 October – Ivan the Terrible writes a rude letter to Elizabeth I and the Feast of St Simon and St Jude

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th October 1570, Ivan IV of Russia, known commonly as Ivan the Terrible, wrote a rather rude letter to Queen Elizabeth I.

    Ivan was upset with Elizabeth’s reaction to his idea of a political alliance, an agreement to help each other if their lives were in danger, and wrote the letter while he was still angry. They were words that must have made Elizabeth see red for a while, but she managed to write a calm reply to him.

    Find out exactly what Ivan the Terrible and Elizabeth I wrote to each other, and how they came to be corresponding in the first place, in this talk…

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  • 18 October – Freedom for Elizabeth and the death of Margaret Tudor

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th October 1555, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, finally received permission from her half-sister, Queen Mary I, to leave court and travel to her own estate at Hatfield, rather than return to house arrest in Woodstock.

    Poor Elizabeth had spent the last 18 months being watched or imprisoned, so this must have been a huge relief.

    But why had Elizabeth been watched and confined? What had she gone through and why?

    Find out more about this awful part of Elizabeth I’s life…

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  • 28 September – Robert Devereux sees Elizabeth I without her mask of youth and Mary I travels to the Tower

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th September 1599, Elizabeth I’s favourite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, strode into the queen’s bedchamber unannounced and saw her without her makeup or wig, without her “mask of youth”.

    Why would he do such a thing?

    Find out why Devereux was troubled and wanted to see the queen urgently and how Elizabeth I reacted to his visit, and what happened next…

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  • 15 September – Elizabeth I saves the day and a Tudor taxman

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th September 1589, the Battle of Arques began.

    This battle was part of the final war of the French Wars of Religion, a series of conflicts in France from 1562-1598 between Catholics and Huguenots. It was fought between the new French king, Henry IV, and the Catholic League led by Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne, and looked bad for Henry until troops sent by Elizabeth I arrived – phew!

    You can find out more about what led to this battle, what happened at the battle, and what happened next, in this video…

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  • Elizabeth I Places Crossword Puzzle

    This week has been the anniversary of the birth of Queen Elizabeth I on 7th September 1533, so I thought we’d mark the occasion by testing your knowledge of places linked to Elizabeth I.

    Test your knowledge of Elizabeth I places with this fun crossword puzzle.

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