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The Tudor Society
  • 27 October – The birth of Mary Herbert and the dramatic entrance of Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th October 1561, Mary Herbert (née Sidney), Countess of Pembroke, writer and literary patron, was born at Tickenhall, near Bewdley in Worcestershire. She was the sister of the poets Sir Philip Sidney and Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester, was a writer herself and an extremely talented lady, and she also lived life to the full.

    After her husband died, she had fun shooting pistols, flirting, taking tobacco and dancing. A fun lady!

    Find out more about this gifted Tudor woman, who was as beautiful as she was talented, and whose work was praised, and used, by men such as Shakespeare.

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  • 25 October – Twin saints and Francis I’s gift to Anne Boleyn

    Today, 25th October, is a feast day which was celebrated in medieval and Tudor times – the feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, martyrs of the Early Church and the patron saints of cobblers.

    Find out more about these saints, how their feast day became linked to an important English victory over the French, how it was marked, and why these saints are linked to Faversham in Kent, in this talk…

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  • 22 October – Examination of accusations against Henry VIII and the death of Baron Morley

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd October 1537, an examination, or rather interrogation, was carried out regarding an accusation of treasonous words spoken against King Henry VIII.

    Further investigations into the matter found that there was no evidence that these words were spoken, and that someone was trying to get another person into trouble.

    What was going on? In a time when the punishment for high treason was death, this was very serious.

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  • 21 October – Lancaster Herald’s encounter with rebels and Henry VIII’s time at the French court

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st October 1536, during the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion, Lancaster Herald had an encounter with armed peasants on his way to Pontefract Castle and then met with the rebel leader, Robert Aske, at the castle.

    The meeting didn’t go well, with Aske putting his foot down and not allowing the herald to complete his mission.

    What was going on? Who was Lancaster Herald? What was his mission?

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  • 16 October – Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s French trip and the Oxford Martyrs

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th October 1532, while Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Marquess of Pembroke, were on their visit to Calais, English nobles met French nobles to arrange a meeting between the King of England and his French counterpart, King Francis I.

    In this video, I give details on this event, who was there, what happened, and why Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn had gone to Calais…

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  • 7 October – A poet hired to woo Elizabeth I and there’s bad news for Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th October 1529, Pope Clement VII wrote to King Henry VIII regarding his quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

    It wasn’t good news. Catherine of Aragon had won this battle, with the pope deciding that the marriage was valid, but she hadn’t won the war. Henry VIII did get the marriage annulled in the end, but the pope didn’t do it.

    But what was going on? Why wouldn’t the pope help? What was Henry VIII’s argument for an annulment and on what grounds did Catherine appeal?

    Find out more…

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  • 30 September – A victorious Henry VIII and a procession for Mary I

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th September 1544, fifty-three-year-old King Henry VIII returned to England after his third invasion of France and the French surrender of Boulogne to him and his troops.

    Hear a contemporary account of what happened during the siege of Boulogne and how and why the French surrendered to Henry VIII…

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  • 16 September – A theologian dies after third bout of sweating sickness and Henry VIII and Catherine Howard enter York

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th September 1519, scholar, humanist, theologian, Dean of St Paul’s and founder of St Paul’s School, John Colet died after suffering three attacks of sweating sickness between 1517 and 1519. Humanists such as Erasmus were influenced by Colet’s work.

    In this video, I share an overview of this influential scholar’s life, including the fact that he was one of 20-22 children and that he used his wealth to refound a school…

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  • 4 September – Another marriage is arranged for Henry VIII and the death of Robert Dudley

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th September 1539, William, Duke of Cleves, signed the marriage treaty promising his sister, Anne of Cleves, in marriage to King Henry VIII.

    Anne would of course become Henry VIII’s fourth wife.

    Find out all about the marriage agreement and its terms, and what happened next…

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  • 30 June – Henry VIII and Catherine Howard set off on Progress

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th June 1541, Henry VIII and his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, set off on their progress to the north of England.

    Why did Henry VIII choose to go to the North?

    Find out in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

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  • Events of Henry VIII’s Reign Quiz

    As it’s the anniversary of the birth of Henry VIII tomorrow, 28th June, I thought I’d test your knowledge of some of the events of his reign, which lasted from April 1509 to January 1547.

    How much do you know about the events of King Henry VIII’s reign?

    Test yourself with this fun quiz.

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  • 25 June – Catherine of Aragon and Prince Henry are betrothed

    On 25th June 1503, the widowed Catherine of Aragon got betrothed to Prince Henry, second son of King Henry VII.

    Find out more about this, the plans for their marriage, and what happened, in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

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  • 21 June – Henry VIII travels to the Tower

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st June 1509, King Henry VIII travelled from Greenwich to the Tower of London. Why was England’s new king going to the Tower of London?

    Find out in this #TudorHistoryShorts video…

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  • The marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon Part 1 – talk by Claire Ridgway

    Here is the video of the Facebook Live talk I did for Tudor Society members in the private members-only group.

    In it, I look at the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, from its very beginnings, with their betrothal in Henry VII’s reign, to 1527, when Henry applied for a dispensation to marry Anne Boleyn.

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  • 21 Interesting Facts about Henry VIII

    My latest "Facts about..." video is on King Henry VIII, so I thought I'd share it here.

    Henry VIII is known for having six wives, and executing two of them, and for the break with Rome, as well as being the father of three Tudor monarchs: Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. However, there are lots more interesting facts about Henry VIII.

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  • 20 April – An oath to swear

    n this day in Tudor history, on 20th April 1534, in the reign of King Henry VIII, prominent Londoners were called to swear a special oath.

    Just what was the Oath of the Act of Succession? What were people swearing to?

    Find out in this latest #TudorHistoryShorts video…

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  • Henry VIII Quiz

    As April is the anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession in 1509, following the death of his father, Henry VII, I thought I’d test your knowledge of Henry VIII with a quiz.

    How much do you know about this iconic Tudor king?

    Get those little grey cells working with this fun quiz.

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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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  • Valentine’s Day in Tudor times

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    The 14th of February is the day on which we celebrate love. But what is the history of this feast? 

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  • Off with her head – A History Channel Podcast including an interview with Claire

    Just before Christmas I recorded an interview with the History Channel podcast team, which was fun to do as it’s always lovely to talk about Tudor history, and especially Anne Boleyn.

    If you’re in an English speaking country, you should be able to find the podcast on your usual podcast platform. Here’s the blurb and a few links for you:

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  • 8 October – Henry VIII forces Princess Mary to write letters

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th October 1536, while the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion was getting underway in Lincolnshire and spreading to Yorkshire, Henry VIII wasn’t only issuing orders regarding the rebels, he was also issuing orders regarding his eldest daughter.

    Henry and Mary had recently reconciled after Mary had finally submitted to him and recognised his supremacy and her illegitimate status. It was something that cost Mary dearly, but it did mend her relationship with her father and allow her back at court.

    But then Henry VIII put more pressure on his daughter by forcing her to write to the pope and to Mary of Hungary, the emperor’s sister.

    What did Mary have to write? What did the king want of his daughter? And why had Mary submitted to her father?

    Find out all about this in today’s talk.

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  • 30 September – A victorious Henry VIII returns to England

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th September 1544, fifty-three-year-old King Henry VIII returned to England after his third invasion of France and the French surrender of Boulogne to him and his troops.

    Hear a contemporary account of what happened during the siege of Boulogne and how and why the French surrendered to Henry VIII, in today’s talk.

    [Read More...]
  • 25 June – Prince Henry (Henry VIII) gets betrothed

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th June 1503, the nearly twelve-year-old Henry, Prince of Wales, eldest surviving son of King Henry VII, got betrothed to seventeen-year-old Catherine of Aragon at the Bishop of Salisbury’s palace in Fleet Street, London.

    But why did it take them until 1509 to get married? What happened?

    Find out about their betrothal and their subsequent break-up in today’s talk.

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  • 3 June – The Royal Supremacy

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd June 1535, Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII’s vicar-general, issued orders regarding the royal supremacy to the bishops of the kingdom.

    But what was the royal supremacy and what were the clergy expected to do?

    Find out all about the royal supremacy, the orders sent and how bishops reacted, in today’s talk.

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  • 26 May – Henry VIII and Charles V meet

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th May 1520, in the lead-up to King Henry VIII’s meeting with Francis I of France at the Field of Cloth of Gold, the English king met with his nephew Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, at Dover Castle on the south coast of England.

    Find out more about this meeting and the rather lavish outfits worn by Henry VIII and his queen consort, Catherine of Aragon, in today’s talk.

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  • 15 March – Henry VIII uses foul language!

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th March 1532, King Henry VIII used what was described as “foul language” to William Warham, Archbishop of Canterburyt. Henry VIII also threatened the poor man, and it is amazing that Warham kept his head as the king was furious.

    What happened? Find out what Warham did to upset the king in today’s talk.

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  • 11 February – Success for George Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 11 February 1531, the ecclesiastical assembly known as convocation granted King Henry VIII the title of “singular protector, supreme lord, and even, so far as the law of Christ allows, supreme head of the English church and clergy”.

    The person responsible for persuading convocation to grant the king this title was Anne Boleyn’s brother, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford. It was a big responsibility for the young diplomat and courtier.

    Find out more about what happened in today’s talk.

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  • 1 January – Henry VIII’s disastrous meeting with Anne of Cleves

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history talk”, Claire Ridgway, author of several Tudor history books, puts you out of your misery from the cliffhanger she left you with on 27th December, by telling you all about Henry VIII’s first meeting with his bride-to-be, Anne of Cleves, on 1st January 1540.

    This meeting between King Henry VIII and the woman who would soon become his fourth wife, was a bit of a disaster, but exactly how much of a disaster was it? The accounts differ and in the video I share two slightly different contemporary accounts, one given in a chronicle and one shared in the annulment proceedings a few months later in 1540.

    What happened on New Year’s Day 1540 at Rochester? Find out all about Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves’ first meeting in today’s talk.

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  • 24 December – Mumpsimus and Sumpsimus

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th December 1545, Christmas Eve, King Henry VIII made his final speech to Parliament.

    The king was concerned about the religious divisions in his realm and so chastised the Lords and Commons for their disagreements, and also the clergy for provoking this discord.

    In today’s talk, I share some of the king’s compelling speech from that day in 1545.

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  • 17 December – Henry VIII is excommunicated

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th December 1538, Pope Paul III announced the excommunication of King Henry VIII.

    Henry VIII had been threatened with excommunication several times, but his desecration of one of the holiest shrines in Europe was the final straw for the pope.

    Find out how Henry VIII, who had once been “Defender of the Faith”, had upset the Pope and what had been the final straw for the papacy in today’s talk.

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