History Weekends 2018: 5 minutes with Alison Weir

Courageous and compassionate, Jane Seymour was caught up in some of the most turbulent events of the Tudor age. At our York and Winchester weekends this autumn, Alison Weir will draw on new research to cast fresh light on Henry VIII's third wife

Alison Weir.

We caught up with Alison Weir to find out what we can expect from her talk, Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen, at our History Weekends in York and Winchester this autumn…  

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Q: What can audiences look forward to in your talk at our History Weekends in York and Winchester?

A: They can expect to hear about new research on why and how Jane Seymour died, and new theories on the number of pregnancies she actually had. I’m hoping that my research also reveals new perspectives on her character.

Portrait of King Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Prince Edward. (Photo by Getty Images)

Q: Why are you so interested in this period of history?

A: It’s such a dramatic period, and one for which we have a wealth of information on the private lives of monarchs. The Tudor age is one of magnificence, of great social and religious change, and it is dominated by great monarchs.

Q: What might surprise or shock us about this area of history?

A: The discovery that Jane Seymour did not die of puerperal fever, and the extent of her complicity in Anne Boleyn’s fall…

Q: What is your favourite ‘little-known fact’ from history?

A: Studying the details of many contemporary journeys, I worked out that Henry VIII must have sent for Anne Boleyn’s executioner before her trial, which proves that the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

Q: Which three historical figures would you invite to a dinner party and why?

A: Richard III (I’d have a few questions for him); Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I’d particularly like Henry to know what a great queen his daughter made.

Q: If you had to live in any historical time period, which would you choose and why?

A: The 1960s! There was better healthcare than in Tudor England, and it was an exciting time to be alive.

Q: Which history book(s) would you recommend (excluding your own)?

A: Helen Rappaport’s Magnificent Obsession (2012); Elizabeth Norton’s The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor (2016); Deborah Cadbury’s The Lost King of France (2003); Eric Ives’s The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn (2005), to name just a few… the list would be very long!

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Alison Weir will be speaking about Jane Seymour at our Winchester History Weekend on Saturday 6 October and at our York History Weekend on Saturday 20 October. To find out more about her talk and to book tickets, click here.