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.
THE TUDORS: ILLUSTRATED HISTORY
By Richard Rex, and with an introduction by me.
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.
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:
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 . . .’
A little bird has told me that Henry and Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History premieres at 11.30am on Tuesday 13th January on the Australian History Channel.
It’s official, Hidden Killers of the Tudor Home will air on BBC 4 on Tuesday 20th January at 9pm.
Here’s the latest information from the BBC with me looking very sad at the prospect of all those killers!
I Never Knew that About Britain will be on ITV on Wednesday nights, starting this week 7th January, at 11.40pm. The first unknown fact is the last invasion of Britain. This is the blurb from when it was on TV last year – I Never Knew That About Britain
The Last Days of Anne Boleyn is being repeated on BBC 2 on Saturday 10th January at 7.30pm. This is a talking heads programme of historians and historical novelists, and includes Greg Walker, Hilary Mantel, David Starkey, Philippa Gregory … a few others, and me! The Last Days of Anne Boleyn – BBC 2
Historians, I argue in History Today, need a Code of Conduct:
Historians should adhere to a rigorous code of professional practice if they are to avoid the kinds of careless mistakes that bring their professional integrity into question.
It looks rather splendid.
I’m battling hard to finish a little book by New Year. It’s to be called The King is Dead! The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII, and, if I pull it off, will be published in the spring.
All encouragement welcome!
Update, Update – I finished it in the nick of time – never partied at New Year so hard – I had a lot to celebrate!
I’ve reviewed Tracy Borman and Dan Jones’s new books for the New Statesman – follow this link Behind the Mantel: in search of the real Thomas Cromwell.
To capitalise on the success of Wolf Hall or perhaps to offer an accurate historical account of Cromwell, there have been four recent or reissued biographies of Henry VIII’s first minister. Borman’s narrative adds a fifth.
Thomas Cromwell, Tracy Borman, Hodder & Stoughton, 464pp, £25
The Hollow Crown, Dan Jones, Faber & Faber, 480pp, £20
This year I was again delighted to be speaking at the BBC History Magazine Weekend in Malmesbury Abbey, and also to be interviewed by Sam Willis for a BBC History Magazine Podcast.
I recently gave a talk at the Tower of London to Jardine Matheson Executives from Hong Kong on the leadership lessons we can learn from the Tudors (including what to avoid). Brilliant group; tremendous fun.
Blown away by this wonderful piece about NCH (and flattering mention of me) in The Daily Telegraph by History student Hugo Stevensen.
I was honoured to be a judge at this year’s Inspiration Awards for Women. Here are some of the highlights from the 2014 Awards for Women supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer at Cadogan Hall, London, England. The event acknowledges inspirational women and raises money and profile for the charity.
Poirot or Scheherazade? I ask: must historians choose between academic analysis and popular narrative, in my latest column in History Today.
I’m cracking on with a new book – on Henry VIII’s last will – so hopefully some things will be coming your way before too long.
I spent 7th August recording a BBC History Magazine podcast interview about the wars of the roses, the fifteenth century, and the art and science of writing history, interrogating Dan Jones. The podcast is live on the BBC History Mag website. We also deviated into the writing of popular history, whether Richard III was a tyrant and other assorted matters
Dan is to present the book in a new series soon, which you must watch on Channel 5.
On 30 July, at 9pm, for those in the UK, I’m was one of ten presenters counting down the World’s Worst Natural Disasters on More 4. Mine was historic and devastated the globe in the 14th century, and it got No. 1 billing…
In my July 2014 column for History Today, I reflected on feelings and friendship in the past…. How Does It Feel?