The King is Dead

Category : Blog · No Comments Jul 28th, 2015

My new book is out on 5 November!

If you pre-order on Amazon, I’ll love you forever The King is Dead

And, before too long, I hope to be telling you about upcoming TV series… Watch this space.

Find it on Head of Zeus – The King is Dead

To be Published 5th November 2015

To be Published 5th November 2015

Epsom College Prizegiving

Category : Blog · No Comments Jun 26th, 2015

It was a great honour to speak and hand out the prizes at the Epsom College Prizegiving Ceremony today, especially as it’s my old school…

 

The Woman Who Married Herself and if you go to the end you’ll find Other You Tube Videos

Category : Blog · No Comments Jun 3rd, 2015

Here’s a little clip of a debate called ‘Vanity Fair’ at ‘How The Light Gets In’, at the Hay Festival last week on the question of whether narcissism could be a virtue, with Prof. Simon Blackburn, George Galloway and me, chaired by Ritula Shah.

Living in a Material World

Category : Blog · No Comments May 30th, 2015

My latest post in History Today in on Cultural Vandalism – take a look here.

The article features the destruction of Nonsuch Palace in Cheam – my old stamping ground.

Nowhere is there anything the like'; the arrival of Elizabeth I at Nonsuch Palace, 1598, engraving by Joris Hoefnagel.

Nowhere is there anything the like'; the arrival of Elizabeth I at Nonsuch Palace, 1598, engraving by Joris Hoefnagel.

The 22nd Swindon Festival of Literature

Category : Blog · No Comments May 15th, 2015

I’m delighted to be delivering a new talk this evening entitled ‘Public Intellectualism Today’  in which I’ll be looking at the importance of thinking deeply and carefully about things, present and past; and the role of the intellectual in society today.

In the talk I’ll pose the questions: Who and what is an intellectual, today? What does it mean to be an intellectual? Does being ‘a whole person’ include being an intellectual? What is the intellectual’s role in the world? How does an intellectual best engage with society? Has this changed significantly from the past to today? And is a ‘public intellectual’ not an oxymoron?

Wow, after all that I’ll sit back and let others do the work while I help judge the THINK SLAM!

This is how it works – Competitors have 3 minutes to present a thought-provoking idea, theory, or story. From then on, it’s a knockout! Keen but kindly judges, including me as judge-supremo, will decide who pleases the thinking parts that others cannot reach, who inspires good, great, or gruesome thoughts, and who does not.

Just as in all good sporting competitions, there will be a quarter final, semi final, and final! Though there may well be moments of seriousness, nervousness, and puzzlement, a spirit of wonder, wit, and good humour will prevail!

The sixth Swindon Think Slam Champ will receive a bubbly-filled trophy, rapturous applause, and nice words from me!

A New Princess

Category : Blog · No Comments May 3rd, 2015

I’ve enjoyed speaking about the birth of HRH The Princess of Cambridge from a historical perspective on the television and radio (Sky News, BBC Breakfast, LBC, Good Morning Britain on ITV, BBC News and BBC World) this weekend.

The birth of this little girl, fourth in line to the throne is historically interesting, because it brings equality to the sexes. For the first time, following a change in the law – the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, that only came into force a mere five weeks ago – the new Princess can’t be supplanted from her position in the line of succession by any younger brothers. Age, for the first time in history, trumps gender.

Another piece of legislation also applies to this child. The new baby will be titled HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge because of Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm issued by the Queen in December 2012. In 1917, George V restricted the title of HRH Prince or Princess to the children of the sovereign, their children, and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (i.e. today Prince George). So, born under that law, the new baby would have been Lady Charlotte Cambridge or possibly Lady Charlotte Mountbatten-Windsor or Lady  Charlotte Wales. But the Queen’s change to the law means she has been born a Princess. The law doesn’t extend to Prince Harry: if he has children, they will still not be titled Prince of Princess.

Finally, the last Princess of Cambridge was Princess Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth, born in 1833, and known for both her lavish partying and her charitable works. She was also, curiously, known as ‘The People’s Princess’, so already, before we even know her name, this little baby reminds us of her grandmother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

With Kay Burley outside the Lindo Wing for Sky News

With Kay Burley outside the Lindo Wing for Sky News

Good Morning Britain

Good Morning Britain

Sky News

Sky News

There is a Resonance About Being Where History Happened

Category : Blog · No Comments Apr 26th, 2015

I’m joining a Telegraph ‘World of Wolf Hall’ tour in July and wonder if you would like to join me?

You can find more details here if you are interested The World of Wolf Hall or call 033330 059095.

Telegraph tour ad

Who was Henry VIII?

Category : Blog · No Comments Apr 22nd, 2015

History Today have re-posted an old article of mine about Henry VIII that was first published in History Today Volume 59, Issue 4, April 2009

henry_1536

Quizeum – Wednesday 22nd April

Category : Blog · No Comments Apr 17th, 2015

It was a great pleasure to go on Griff Rhys Jones’s new quiz show, Quizeum, which will be shown this week in the Museum of London. My erudite team-mate, Lars Tharp, and I took on the formidable combination of historians Hallie Rubenhold and Dan Snow. The fiendish questions were set by Griff and his team at Modern TV. Do watch it to its nail-biting end!

Here’s a couple of clips:

Quickfire

What do these two objects reveal about Churchill and St. Pauls?

 

Quizeum

Shedding Light on Dark History

Category : Blog · No Comments Mar 24th, 2015

The increasing commercialisation of sites known for their gruesome and violent history raises troubling questions. But to ignore such events would be worse -

My article in April’s History Today magazine

Eerie: the metal sculpture of Alice Nutter in Roughlee, Lancashire

Eerie: the metal sculpture of Alice Nutter in Roughlee, Lancashire

Time Team

Category : Blog · No Comments Mar 19th, 2015

I was lucky enough to be part of this series – the last Time Team series ever! Sob. If you’re on Twitter, go and RT this to be entered into the competition (UK only).

Time Team Series 20

Time Team

Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home

Category : Blog · No Comments Mar 16th, 2015

If you missed it, Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home is playing on iPlayer for the next 24 days here.

This is what I wrote about it when it was first aired in 2013 Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home

The Last Days of Anne Boleyn

Category : Blog · No Comments Mar 15th, 2015

This programme will be repeated on Tuesday 7th April, on The Yesterday Channel. You can see what I wrote about it when it was first broadcast here.

Quizeum

Category : Blog · No Comments Mar 9th, 2015

Had great fun (although initially dead nervous) on Monday night recording an episode of Quizeum – a new quiz show in – guess what – a museum! It’s presented by Griff Rhys Jones. The series starts to air on 25th March on BBC 4 (at around 8.30pm) and my episode, at the Museum of London, is about six in. I was in a team with Lars Tharp (whom you’ll know from the Antiques Roadshow) and we fought historians Hallie Rubenhold and Dan Snow. But the question is: who won?

Here’s the first trailer:

Quizeum episode 1 trailer

Three Female Historians

Category : Blog · No Comments Feb 28th, 2015

On 28th February 2015, the Daily Mail featured three female historians, including me:

Daily Mail - Three female historians

New mini-review of Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England

Category : Blog · No Comments Feb 15th, 2015

Thanks to Mick Symes, I’ve just found this rather lovely mini-review of A Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England, which is out in paperback…

Must Reads

How Recent is History?

Category : Blog · No Comments Jan 29th, 2015

In this History Today article I argue that a revolution in communications and new technology means that we now live in an age of speeded-up history. Historians should wake up to this shift – read it here.

Recorded history: a cameraman follows troop movements in Northern Iraq, 2014

Recorded history: a cameraman follows troop movements in Northern Iraq, 2014

Tudors – The Illustrated History

Category : Blog · No Comments Jan 25th, 2015

An edited extract from my Introduction to Richard Rex’s ‘Tudors’ was published in The Sunday Telegraph on 25th January 2015 – What’s So Gripping About The Tudors?

The dynasty was short-lived, insecure and suspicious, yet laid the foundations for our Navy, Church and Empire.

wolf-hall_3175647b

THE TUDORS:  ILLUSTRATED HISTORY

By Richard Rex, and with an introduction by me.

Richard Rex Tudors, an illustrated history

I was delighted to write the introduction to this splendid book by Richard Rex. Don’t miss this one.

The Tudor Period is regarded by many as England’s golden age, and still casts a spell over the public imagination. Whether it is the glittering rule of Elizabeth, the ruthless power of her father Henry VIII, or the bloody and radical reign of Mary, the Tudors remain the most fascinating English dynasty. Richard Rex looks at how the public and private lives of the Tudors were inextricably linked, and how each Tudor monarch exuded charisma and danger in equal measure.

Available from Amberley Publishing with 25% off the RRP in November 2014: http://is.gd/skF5IA
Or from The Book Depositoryhttp://is.gd/9A9e2u

WOW! Damian Lewis read 1536 to prepare for his role as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall

Category : Blog · No Comments Jan 23rd, 2015

Well, I am astonished and delighted: Damian Lewis says that, among others (and as well as looking to Prince Harry!), he read my book on Henry VIII to prepare for his role in Wolf Hall:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/11358197/Damian-Lewiss-inspiration-for-Wolf-Halls-Henry-VIII-Wills-and-Harry.html

Wolf_Hall___BBC_Tw_3171034b

Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1599

Category : Blog · No Comments Jan 15th, 2015

I’ve written an article for The Times bringing together two of my great loves: the Tudors… and partying. ‘Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1599′:

‘Partying like a Tudor is a serious endeavour. Henry VIII’s party without parallel, the Field of the Cloth of Gold — the Glastonbury of its day — lasted for three weeks. By contrast, Elizabeth I’s party at Sudeley Castle — for three days straight to celebrate the defeat of the Spanish Armada — was a bit lightweight. So you need to be prepared . . .’

Tonight we'll party like 1599