The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • Henry VIII’s Six Wives Quiz

    This week’s Sunday quiz is on King Henry VIII’s six wives. How much do you know about these six fascinating women? Grab a snack and a drink, get yourself comfortable, and test your knowledge with this fun little quiz – good luck!

    [Read More...]
  • Claire’s bookcase – Books on the Six Wives of Henry VIII

    Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Anthony for inspiring today’s Claire Chats talk. Anthony asked if I’d do another of my “bookcase” chats so today I thought I’d focus on my collection of books on the six wives of Henry VIII.

    [Read More...]
  • Jane Seymour

    Jane Seymour was the eldest daughter of Sir John Seymour and his wife, Margery. She was probably born in around 1509 at Wulfhall in Wiltshire. By virtue of her mother, Jane could claim descent from Edward III, and her father’s family were descended from Guy de St Maur, who allegedly accompanied William the Conqueror to England in the eleventh century. Unlike Anne Boleyn, nothing is known of Jane’s childhood and adolescence. An unsubstantiated nineteenth-century tradition claimed that she resided at the French court as a maid of honour, but no contemporary evidence supports the notion. It is likely that Jane was educated in line with the expectations of the sixteenth-century gentry. Her needlework and embroidery were praised during her tenure as queen, and it is also plausible that she received music and dancing lessons, although there is nothing to suggest that she was praised at court for any particular skill in those pursuits. Her family were entirely traditional in their religious sympathies: it was only during the last years of Henry VIII’s reign that her brother Edward espoused the cause of radical reform.

    [Read More...]
  • Anne Boleyn

    Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire, and Elizabeth Howard. She was the granddaughter of Thomas Howard, second Duke of Norfolk, and like all of Henry VIII’s wives, was descended from Edward I. Where Anne was born remains uncertain; traditionally Blickling Hall and Hever Castle, both of which were Boleyn properties, have been suggested, but a family tradition claimed that she was born in London, perhaps at Norfolk House, one of the seats of her mother’s family. Modern historians have usually assigned 1501 as the year of Anne’s birth, but two seventeenth-century texts nominated 1507. William Camden, the Elizabethan historian and herald, researched and wrote a life of Anne’s daughter, Elizabeth, in which, as Wyatt H. Herendeen notes, his ‘interpenetrating personal and professional lives were ‘authored’ by Elizabeth, while Burghley was his symbolic father.’ Entreating Camden to commence the project in the late 1590s, Burghley provided the historian with private papers as well as documents from the queen’s archives. This access, which included documents in Cotton’s library, ensured that Camden enjoyed ‘a privileged perspective’ on Elizabeth’s reign, as Herendeen contends. With the impressive resources available to him, it is questionable whether Elizabeth’s biographer would have erred in documenting her mother’s year of birth. Moreover, according to the memoirs of Jane Dormer, a favourite attendant of Mary I, Anne had not yet reached her twenty-ninth birthday when she was beheaded in 1536: an admission that supports a birth date of 1507.

    [Read More...]
  • Katherine of Aragon

    Katherine of Aragon was born into the royal Spanish household on 16th December 1485, at the Archbishop’s Palace of Alcalá de Henares. She was the daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and his illustrious wife, Isabella I of Castile. Katherine’s parents were the Catholic powerhouses of Western Europe during the late fifteenth century, therefore during her youth, the young Spanish princess would have envisioned the grand future that awaited her, with an ambitious marriage into an equally powerful European royal household.

    At aged just three, her parents were in negotiations with the English king, Henry VII, for a suitable marriage to his son, Arthur. The Tudors had recently taken the throne after defeating the Yorkist Richard III at Bosworth in 1485, although their Lancastrian claimant to the throne was still vulnerable to usurpation. England required international support to ensure the legitimacy and security of their house. An Anglo-Spanish alliance would be vitally important for the country’s prosperity and position in European politics.

    [Read More...]
  • Six Wives with Lucy Worsley Episode 3

    Episode 3 of “Six Wives with Lucy Worsley” looked at Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

    [Read More...]
  • Six Wives with Lucy Worsley Episode 2

    Episode 2 of “Six Wives with Lucy Worsley” focused on Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, although Jane didn’t get much attention, and took us from Anne’s rise through to Jane’s death. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

    [Read More...]
  • Six Wives with Lucy Worsley

    For those of you interested in the new BBC series “Six Wives with Lucy Worsley”, I found the first episode, which was aired last night (7th December) on YouTube

    [Read More...]
  • Katherine Howard Quiz

    Our quiz maestro Rebecca Larson is testing your knowledge on Queen Katherine Howard this week. Enjoy and good luck!

    [Read More...]
  • Expert Talk – Janet Wertman – Researching Jane the Quene

    In this month’s expert chat we have Janet Wertman, author of Jane the Quene, a novel about Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII. Janet discusses how she went about researching her novel, including how she put together a detailed timeline to ensure that events happened in the correct order.

    [Read More...]
  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII:Monarchy and Matrimony in Tudor England

    MedievalCourses.com has just launched a new course by Gareth Russell, editor of the Tudor Society’s Tudor Life magazine and author of The Emperors: How Europe’s Rulers Were Destroyed by the First World War, A History of the English Monarchy: From Boadicea to Elizabeth I and the forthcoming Young and Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the Court of Henry VIII.

    Although I’m biased, being involved in MedievalCourse.com, I can hand-on-heart say that this is an excellent course. Gareth has done a brilliant job in creating and narrating each of the seven units and what I really love about this course is that he doesn’t look at the same old topics regarding these wives, he “uses each wife to explore a different aspect of monarchy in Tudor England” and then finishes with a unit considering why these women remain so popular and how they have “been re-invented and revitalised by the age of Hollywood, television and best-selling novels”. Bravo, Gareth, you’ve done a wonderful job!

    [Read More...]
  • Henry VIII’s six wives are as popular as ever – Conor Byrne

    Henry VIII’s six wives are as popular as ever. In the 2016 History Hot 100 recently compiled by BBC History Magazine, no less than four of the notorious Tudor king’s consorts featured. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, wife number two Anne Boleyn finished highest, at number 4. Katherine Parr came in at number 31, Katherine of Aragon at 36, and Anne of Cleves at 38.

    Tudormania, as coined by a Guardian article, is pervasive. The general public and historians alike cannot get enough of the Tudors. But our obsession with this colourful dynasty, by and large, centres on a handful of characters that dominate films, novels and articles. This confinement of our focus is starkly revealed in the Hot 100: the top Tudor figures are, unsurprisingly, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell.

    [Read More...]
  • Catherine Parr Quiz

    Catherine Parr was a fascinating lady, but how much do you know about this queen consort of Henry VIII?

    [Read More...]
  • Was Katherine Parr a feminist? By Conor Byrne

    Katherine Parr was different to Henry VIII’s other consorts. She was several years older than his previous wives, she had been married twice before, and she had not spent considerable time in royal service. Above all, however, Katherine differs to her five predecessors by virtue of her status as an author. She was the first Queen of England to publish her own work.

    [Read More...]
  • Henry VIII’s Six Wives Quiz

    Have fun with these 13 questions on Henry VIII’s six queen consorts.

    [Read More...]
  • Gareth Russell Talk – The Households of Henry VIII’s Queens

    Gareth Russell talks about the households of Henry VIII’s six wives.

    [Read More...]