The Tudor Society
  • Hever Castle – still worth a visit? by Tim Ridgway

    Hever Castle

    A few weeks ago, my father and I were able to get away for a morning to visit Hever Castle in Kent. It’s somewhere that you may have been to before, and it’s a castle that is very close to our hearts – we LOVE the way the grounds are kept and how the castle evokes the history of the Boleyn family, the time Anne of Cleves spent there AND, more recently, how the Astor family lived and renovated the whole area.

    For a long time, Hever castle was quite static in its displays – not much changed, which was fine if you’d never visited before, but since we had visited so many times, it was rare to see anything new. That’s no longer the case.

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  • Blog: A Tudor Style Banquet, Heritage Festival and Easter Fun

    This time we are not only looking back at what has been, but are also looking forward to what is to come. From Easter activities and exciting events you do not want to miss, to some fascinating videos from our website.

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  • Blog: Parr’s Million Pound Mansion and Henry’s Regret

    With the end of the month nearing, it is time again to look back at what happened in the past few weeks. From a new discovery to History For Ukraine, March had a lot to offer. 

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  • One Book Unites Two Rival Queens by Kate McCaffrey

    Thank you so much to Kate McCaffrey for sharing this guest article with us today. Kate has been in the news recently because of her discovery of previously hidden inscriptions in one of Anne Boleyn’s Books of Hours at Hever Castle – a wonderful discovery.

    Do follow the link at the end of this post to read Kate’s guest article on the Anne Boleyn Files too.

    Over to Kate…

    Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Two queens, two wives, two rivals. They are both highly recognisable leading women from sixteenth-century England, but are also famed rivals in love and power. At best, we consider them to have had a fraught, divisive relationship. In today’s society, as is so often the case, we frequently see them as two women pitted against each other: one ‘good’, one ‘bad’, one Catholic, one Reformist, one wife, one mistress. Certainly, they were rivals and had many differing opinions and standpoints, but they also had key qualities in common. They were both highly educated, pious women who were at the whims of their changeable husband and who, in their own ways, were victims of patriarchal circumstance.

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  • Book news – Coming soon – The Boleyns of Hever Castle

    The 19th May, the anniversary of Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution, seems a fitting day to announce some news regarding a Boleyn-themed book, don’t you think?

    Many of you will know that Dr Owen Emmerson and I have been working on a book about the history of Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Well, the original book idea had to be postponed due to travel restrictions and the closure of archives, so we decided to focus on 77 years of Hever’s history, the time when it was owned by the Boleyn family.

    The Boleyns of Hever Castle will be launched at Hever Castle on 1st August 2021 – hurrah!

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  • The Boleyns of Hever Castle – A talk by Dr Owen Emmerson and Claire

    Those of you who are in the UK or planning on visiting the UK this summer (fingers crossed!) many be interested in knowing that I will be speaking with my dear friend, Hever Castle Supervisor Dr Owen Emmerson, at Hever Castle on Sunday 1st August 2021.

    The talk is on our very favourite subject, the Boleyns, and it will take place at the Two Sisters Theatre in the grounds of Hever Castle at 8pm.

    Anne Boleyn’s parents weren’t the only Boleyns linked to the castle, it was connected to the Boleyn family for 77 years before it was taken by the Crown, and we’ll tell you all about its Boleyn owners.

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  • Hever: A Castle and its People – EXCLUSIVE book announcement

    I am so very excited about this special announcement! Hever Castle, home of the Boleyn family, is one of my happy places, so writing a book about it with one of my very best friends is a dream come true!

    In May 2018, castle supervisor Owen Emmerson and I shook hands on a book idea, a social history of Hever Castle. We have been friends for quite a few years now, drawn together over our shared love for all things Anne Boleyn, and we both feel strongly about Hever Castle. Owen is lucky enough to work there and I’m blessed to be able to visit it several times a year. It is an amazing place with an incredibly rich history. It has been home to so many prominent families and there are also many myths and inaccuracies regarding its history, ownership and its development through the ages. Owen and I want to tell Hever Castle’s story through the people that owned it, from its beginnings as a medieval manor, through its time as a castle that was owned by kings and queens, all the way to the present day. We hope to bring this beautiful castle, and the families connected to it, to life.

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  • Christmas time at Hever Castle

    Hever Castle is illuminated at Christmas

    It’s been a crazy crazy week! Tim and I flew to the UK on Wednesday to do some special filming at Hever Castle for an announcement that I will be sharing with you soon, and we flew back early Thursday. Talking about a flying visit!

    Hever Castle is always stunning, but I’ve never seen it at Christmas, and this Christmas they’ve gone all out with Christmas decorations and lights. It’s so very pretty. So, for this week’s video, I thought I’d share with you the beauty of Hever Castle at Christmas. And, yes, that is me talking to you in the dark. I didn’t want to take away from the Christmas lights by having any lighting on me!

    Find out more about Hever Castle Christmas events and opening times at

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  • The Executed Queens Tour – Day 4 – Hever Castle

    After a delicious breakfast – my choice was smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, plus yogurt, fruit and nuts – it was time to leave the Midlands and to head for my happy place.

    The coach journey was trouble free, and we arrived at Hever Castle at lunchtime. It was like coming home when I was greeted by a member of staff I’ve known since 2010 and the comment was “your usual room, Madam”! I really need to just move in!

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 – Day 2

    We couldn’t have picked better weather for our full day at Hever Castle! Blue skies and sunshine were perfect for appreciating the beauty of the castles and its stunning gardens.

    We started our day with a lovely breakfast in the private Astor Wing before heading over to St Peter’s Church, just outside the castle grounds, to see the tomb and brass memorial of Thomas Boleyn and the little brass cross of Henry Boleyn. Then it was time to enjoy everything the castle has to offer – the castle interior with its large portrait collection, exhibition celebrating Hever Castle’s use in films and on TV (including two beautiful dresses worn by Genevieve Bujold in “Anne of the Thousand Days”), the gardens the gift shop and Hever ducks and swans.

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience Tour 2018

    British History Tours will soon be publicising its 2018 “Anne Boleyn Experience” tour which will run from 16-20 May 2018.

    The tour will be led by Philippa Lacey Brewell of British History Tours and Claire Ridgway (me!) and will be based at Hever Castle, childhood home of Queen Anne Boleyn. Participants will stay in a luxury private wing at Hever Castle and there will be tours of the castle, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. We’ll actually be visiting the Tower of London on 19th May, the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution.

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  • New online Literary Trail launched by the Historic Houses Association

    To celebrate 2017 being declared the “Year of Literary Heroes” by Visit England, the Historic Houses Association (HHA) has just launched a new online literary trail which includes over forty properties around the UK that have links to literary figures, books and plays.

    In the press release, the HHA says:

    “Authors as diverse as D.H. Lawrence, Charlotte Brontë, Roald Dahl and George Eliot are all connected with HHA Member houses. Our varied Member houses are all independently owned and many have been in the same families for generations.

    Perhaps you’ll be shown around by a descendant of one of these literary greats? Maybe the author will sign your book? Can you find the desk where your favourite novel was written?”

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  • Hever Castle with Sarah Bryson

    Today in our regular Friday video spot, Sarah Bryson, author of Mary Boleyn in a Nutshell and Charles Brandon: The King’s Man, tells us about Hever Castle, the family home of the Boleyns, and shares her experience of visiting it recently. Thank you Sarah!

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  • The Marriage Bed of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York

    Bed of rosesFrom now until 22nd November 2015, Hever Castle is exhibiting a late medieval bed believed to have been the marriage bed of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. It is on loan from the Langley Collection.

    Extensive research has been done regarding the provenance of the bed, including DNA testing of the timber. You can read more about the bed and the research at the following links:

    Also in The Bed of Roses exhibition is a newly purchased 16th Century replica of a painting of Henry VIII by Joos van Cleve. Go to to find out more about the castle and visiting it.

  • Hever Castle by Sarah Bryson

    Situated in the beautiful countryside of Kent, UK, Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of the most famous women in English history.

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