I’ve done an interview for the Lady Jane Grey website about my new book, which you can read here.
And, I’ll have some exciting news about US publication soon…
Excited to be recording the voiceover for our new Hidden Killers… Of the Post-War Home… Coming soon to BBC 4.
Here it is on catch-up: 2 hrs 17 mins in, I’m told.
As Halloween fast approaches, Matthew Sweet is joined around the Free Thinking cauldron by guests (including me) to consider the season of the witch.
Join me on BBC Radio 3, at 10pm, on Tuesday 27th October, when I will be discussing Witches with Marina Warer, Matthew Sweet, Claire Nally, Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Catherine Spooner and Craig Templeton Smith.
Or if you miss it, the programme will be available to listen to on iPlayer Radio shortly after broadcast.
In less than 2 weeks – on 5th November, my new book, The King Is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII, is to be published.
Pre-order it here now to get it first.
Here’s the whole panel at HistoryHit – from left to right Neil Oliver, Sam Willis, Bethany Hughes, Dan Snow, Tom Holland, me, David Olugosa and Frank McDonough:
Come hear some of your favourite Twitter historians discussing big historical questions:
Get your tickets here
Here’s a short history of witchcraft that I wrote for the BBC History Magazine (online):
If all this witchery makes you want to go looking for witchcraft sites, here’s my guide, featured in this week’s Sunday Telegraph.
I have exciting news for UK viewers: my series on the 16th and 17thc women accused of witchcraft – “WITCH HUNT: A Century of Murder” – looks set to start on Channel 5 on 13th October. (It’s been renamed from Witches to Witch Hunt).
More details to follow (including any dates for airing in other countries as and when I get them).
Historians try to produce as total a view of the past as possible. Yet does our concern with facts isolate us from how material culture influenced lived experience?
Read my latest History Today post here.
If you are a man seeking a wife, you can do worse than employ this helpful list of questions prepared by King Henry VII in 1505 when he was thinking of marrying again (to Joanna of Naples).
1. Does she speak any French or Latin?
2. How old is she?
3. Does she wear makeup?
4. Is her face fat or lean, sharp or round?
5. Is her countenance cheerful and amiable, frowning and malicious, steadfast or light, and does she blush when she speaks?
6. How clear is her skin?
7. What colour is her hair?
8. What shape is her nose?
9. Measure the height and breadth of her forehead.
10. Are her arms long or short, small or great?
11. Get a look at her bare hands: are her palms thick or thin? Are her hands fat or lean, long or short?
12. What about her fingers? Are they long or short, small or great, broad or narrow?
13. And her neck? Is it long or short, small or great?
14. Are her breasts big or small?
15. Does she have any hair about her lips?
16. Find some excuse to get her to tell a story at some length, get as close to her as possible and note: how sweet is her breath?
17. Every time you speak with her, notice: does she smell of spices, or rosewater, or musk?
18. How tall is she? And is she wearing heels? How high are the heels? Don’t be deceived into thinking she’s taller than she actually is.
19. When she takes the heels off, get a look at her feet: what shape are they?
20. Does she have any sickness, deformities or blemishes? Is she often ill? With what?
21. Enquire about her diet. Is she a great feeder or drinker? Does she eat often? Does she drink wine or water, or both?
22. Finally, appoint a ‘cunning painter’ to produce an image of her.
This, gentlemen, is all the information you need to make your decision.
Instructions given by King Henry the Seventh to his Embassadors, When he intended to marry the young queen of Naples: together with the answers of the embassadors ed. by T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt (1761)
23. Item, … diligently enqere for some conynge painter… [to] drawe a picture of the visage and semblance of the said young quene…
High minded allegations of prurience should not stop historians from examining the intimate lives of people in the past – My August History Today article
Was she ensnared by a conspiracy, the victim of her own loose tongue, or simply guilty as charged? In this 2013 article I tries to unearth the real reason why Henry VIII sent his second wife, Anne Boleyn, to the block.
My new book is out on 5 November!
If you pre-order on Amazon, I’ll love you forever:
You can also find it on Head of Zeus: The King is Dead
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…
26th June 2015 Prize Giving 2015 – read more:http://t.co/JV4Fpyomyh
— Epsom College (@EpsomCollegeUK) June 26, 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.
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.
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!
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.