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The Tudor Society
  • 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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  • 7 September – Charles Brandon marries his young ward, and Elizabeth I is born

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th September 1533, just over two months after the death of his previous wife, Mary Tudor. Queen of France, forty-nine-year-old Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, married his ward, fourteen-year-old Catherine Willoughby.

    Find out more about this Tudor couple, how they came to be married, what their marriage was like, and what happened to them…

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  • 15 August – The Oaten Hill Martyrs and a lady-in-waiting who was attacked by Elizabeth I

    On his day in Tudor history, 15th August 1588, Catholics Robert Wilcox, Edward Campion, Christopher Buxton and Robert Widmerpool were examined while imprisoned in the Marshalsea prison in Southwark, London.

    These men ended up being executed, three of them for being Catholic priests and one for giving aid to priests. All four died with courage and in 1929 were beatified.

    Find out more about these men and how they came to be executed in this video…

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  • 9 July – Elizabeth I visits Robert Dudley’s castle

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th July 1575, Queen Elizabeth I visited Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, home of her favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Her stay would be a long one, 19 days!

    Find out a bit more about her stay at Kenilworth Castle in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

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  • Celebrate Summer with Mary and Elizabeth

    Today is the first day of Summer! For the occasion we chose two special events that took place in the Summer in the Tudor era. 

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  • Information Circulation and Queen Elizabeth I – a documentary

    As you probably know, Emma and Merel have been working at the Tudor Society over the past four months as interns as part of their degree, but what you won't know is that as part of their final year studies, they had to produce a documentary. We're so pleased that it's Tudor history themed! Congratulations to them both on such a wonderful production.

    Here it is...

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  • 7 June – The execution of Elizabeth I’s physician

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

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  • Elizabeth’s Mysterious Black Pearls

    In the Ermine Portrait, Elizabeth I is seen wearing a black pearl necklace. But how did this jewel from the Italian Medici family end up in the hands of the British Royal family? 

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  • 15 April – Blows and evil words from Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, courtier Sir John Scudamore was laid to rest. His wife served Queen Elizabeth I and appears to have suffered in doing so.

    Find out what happened to Mary Scudamore in this #TudorHistoryShorts video:

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  • A Tudor Funeral

    Sadly, Prince Philip passed away on the 9th of April 2021 at the age of 99. On Saturday the 17th of April the funeral will be held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Nowadays, a royal funeral is no longer for the family alone, all the world can watch it online. This was very different for the Tudors. What were their funeral traditions?

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  • These Tudors Are Your Favourites

    A couple of weeks ago we asked our Instagram followers to vote on their favourite Tudor Monarch and wife of Henry VIII. We combined the votes with the most searched questions on Google and the country in which they are most popular. Here are the results!

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  • 23 December – Elizabeth I moves to a property her mother knew well

    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 today’s talk.

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  • 20 December – Edward Arden, “victim of a grave iniquity” or conspirator?

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th December 1583, the day after his son-in-law, John Somerville, had been found dead in his cell, Warwickshire gentleman Edward Arden was hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield.

    Arden, 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 the queen.

    But was Arden actually guilty? Why didn’t others involved end up being executed too?

    Find out more about Edward Arden and what happened in 1583, in today’s talk.

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  • 19 December – A conspirator found dead in his cell

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th December 1583, twenty-three-year-old convicted conspirator, John Somerville, was found dead in his cell at Newgate Prison. His death was said to be suicide, due to his poor mental health, but some Catholics believed that he had been killed.

    Somerville had been found guilty of conspiring to assassinate the queen, but did he really mean to? Was he mentally ill? Was he manipulated by others?

    Find out more about John Somerville in today’s talk.

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  • 17 December – A promise made to Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th December 1559, fifty-five-year-old Matthew Parker was consecrated as Queen Elizabeth I’s Archbishop of Canterbury. It was an office which Parker did not want and would not have accepted if “he had not been so much bound to the mother”.

    What did he mean by that?

    Well, when he was Anne Boleyn’s chaplain in 1536, the queen had met with him just six days before her arrest and he made her a promise.

    Find out more about Matthew Parker, his life and that meeting with Anne Boleyn, in today’s talk:

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  • Quiz – Elizabeth I in movies and on TV

    As it was the anniversary of Elizabeth I’s accession this week, I thought we’d celebrate her reign once more with an Elizabeth I-themed quiz. This time, about portrayals of the queen in movies and on TV.

    Good luck!

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  • Happy Accession Day! Enjoy some Elizabeth I resources

    As today is the anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, on 17th November 1558, I thought I’d share with you some links to Elizabeth I resources here on the Tudor Society website.

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  • 18 October – Freedom for Elizabeth at last!

    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 in today’s talk.

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  • Expert Live Chat – Estelle Paranque – Elizabeth I and the French

    Historian Estelle Paranque is our August expert speaker, talking to us on "Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes: Power, Representation, and Diplomacy in the Reign of the Queen 1558-1588".

    Estelle will be joining us in the Tudor Society chatroom at https://www.tudorsociety.com/chatroom/ for a Q&A session on her talk on Elizabeth I and her research, on 22nd August.

    Here are the times in different time zones. If your time zone isn't listed you can use https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html to convert the London time to your zone.

    • London, UK - Saturday 22 August at 4pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Saturday 22 August at 5pm
    • New York, USA - Saturday 22 August at 11am
    • Los Angeles, USA - Saturday 22 August at 8am
    • Sydney, Australia - Sunday 23 August at 1am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Saturday 22 August at 00.300
  • 9 August – Elizabeth I’s words cause horror among her clergy

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

    Although she wasn’t going as far as banning clerical marriage, her mandate caused concern, and even horror, among her clergy, particularly her married Archbishop of Canterbury, who was a huge supporter of clerical marriage.

    Find out more about what Elizabeth I ordered, the reactions of William Cecil, Matthew Parker and Richard Cox, and why the Protestant Elizabeth may have issued this mandate, in today’s talk.

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