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The Monarchy, with Tracy Borman

This curated five-part series from popular historian Tracy Borman will chart the changing fortunes of the monarchy: from the bloody Norman conquest of 1066 through the upheaval of civil war in the 17th century to the reign of our current queen, Elizabeth II. It will also chart the evolution of the crown and explore the secrets behind its remarkable survival.

Each lecture lasts 45 minutes and is followed by a 30-minute Q&A. All attendees will receive a study pack to accompany each lecture, containing an original document picked by Tracy to discuss with her in the Q&A, a bespoke feature, detailed timeline and quiz. You can book individual modules or block-book the whole masterclass.

When: 5 sessions, taking place at 12.30pm GMT on Fridays between 7 January–4 February 2022

Tickets: £15 per session, or £60 for the whole series

Each session will run between 12.30-1.45pm GMT, with a chance to pose your questions to Tracy Borman


Tracy Borman is a bestselling author and historian, specialising in the Tudor period. Her most recent book is Crown & Sceptre. Her other books include Elizabeth’s Women, which was Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4; and Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him. Tracy has presented a number of TV history programmes. She works part-time as joint chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces and as chief executive of the Heritage Education Trust.

You can browse and order titles by Tracy Borman from our partners Fox Lane Books

How to book:

Please note: if you have any difficulty booking please drop us a line at

Find out more about each of the sessions and book individual modules below:

1. Hastings to Magna Carta

When: Friday 7 January 2022, 12.30pm GMT


The Monarchy masterclass series will begin with the most famous date in English history: the Norman Conquest of 1066. By the end of that year, the crown had belonged to three different men, ushering in not just a new ruling elite, but an entirely new era. This talk will explore how the Normans fought to establish a strong monarchy which would cement the unification of England and break down the divisions between Normans and Saxons. It will also chart the rise of the Angevin dynasty, from the mighty Henry II to his disreputable youngest son John, who brought the monarchy to the brink of ruin.

3. Tudors and Stuarts

When: Friday 21 January 2022, 12.30pm GMT


The sheer drama of the Tudor period, with a king who married six times, a Virgin Queen and a royal court that eclipsed all others in magnificence, has made it one of the most enduringly popular in English history. They withstood rival claimants and overseas foes to become one of the greatest dynasties in English royal history. Henry VIII brought the crown to the apogee of its power, but the lack of male heirs plagued him and his successors and in 1603 the Tudors gave way to the Stuarts. The kingdoms of England and Scotland were united for the first time in their history, but as this talk will show, the Stuarts’ obsession with the Divine Right of Kings almost destroyed the monarchy forever.

3. Victorians to Windsors

When: Friday 4 February 2022, 12.30pm GMT


The final talk of the series will begin with the long reign of Queen Victoria, who gave her name to one of the most self-confident ages in British history. She presided over “the empire on which the sun never sets”, and her kingdom led the world in trade and industry. Victoria’s Windsor successors weathered the storms of two world wars, but affairs of the heart posed an arguably greater threat to their crown. The abdication of Edward VIII so that he could marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson was mirrored in more recent times by the controversy surrounding Elizabeth II’s grandson, Prince Harry. Bringing us right up to date, the talk will conclude by considering what lessons Britain’s future monarchs can draw from the past 1,000 years.

2. The Plantagenets

When: Friday 14 January 2022, 12.30pm GMT


This talk will tell the story of the most dynamic and energetic dynasty in British royal history. At the height of their power, the Plantagenets commanded a vast empire that stretched from the Scottish border almost to the Mediterranean. For much of the period, England waged costly wars with France and Scotland, with mighty warrior kings such as Henry V achieving celebrated victories. But his successor plunged England into the Wars of the Roses – one of the bloodiest chapters in the history of the monarchy, during which the crown changed hands no fewer than six times. It culminated in the controversy of Richard III and the Princes in the Tower.

4. Restoration to Regency

When: Friday 28 January 2022, 12.30pm GMT


Beginning with the 'Merrie Monarch', Charles II, this talk will explore one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the crown: the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688. This ushered in a new, constitutional monarchy: from that point onwards, monarchs did not rule; they merely reigned. But what seemed a humiliating concession ensured the survival of the British monarchy at a time when royal dynasties across Europe were falling prey to bloody revolution. The advent of the Hanoverians witnessed the continuing retreat of the crown as a political force, but the emergence of its charitable role. This brought the monarchy ever closer to the people, which in turn helped to weather crises such as the American Revolution and the “madness” of George III.

Missed an event? You can find selected recordings of previous events and masterclass series, available to HistoryExtra subscribers, at our video hub

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