7 podcasts about British kings and queens to listen to right now

From Henry VIII and his wives to Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, the monarchy is an ever-popular area of British history. Want to know more about our kings and queens of the past? HistoryExtra’s digital editorial assistant Rachel Dinning rounds up 7 podcast episodes from the HistoryExtra archive that you won't want to miss…

Mary Queen of Scots, after Nicholas Hilliard, 16th century, National Portrait Gallery, London. (Photo by SuperStock)

Find out more about kings and queens in British history with these entertaining free episodes of the HistoryExtra podcast…

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1

King John: medieval monster

Was King John really that bad? He was even worse than we might think, says Professor Nicholas Vincent in this podcast about the life and reign of the infamous 13th-century monarch. Vincent takes us all the way through the king’s reign, which saw military disasters abroad and the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215.


2

Inside the mind of Elizabeth I

In 2018, HistoryExtra reached a landmark moment on its podcast when we broadcast our 500th episode. To mark the occasion, we released five special episodes – including this one about Elizabeth I, in which historian Helen Castor explores the psychology of the Virgin Queen and the challenges when writing a new biography of one of England’s best-known historical figures.


3

Queen Victoria by Lucy Worsley

Kensington Palace was once home to the young Victoria – and in 2018, BBC History Revealed editor Charlotte Hodgman headed to the palace to discuss the queen’s life with historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley.

4

Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s favourite queen

Divorced, beheaded… died. In this podcast from 2018, bestselling author and historian Alison Weir discusses the life and tragic death of the Henry VIII’s third wife, who bore the king his long-awaited male heir. Weir also reveals the challenges of recreating Seymour for her historical novel Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen, in which the historian explores the controversial possibility that Jane may have been pregnant at the time of her marriage – but had a miscarriage.


5

Henry VI: terrible king

Henry VI (1421–71) was not a successful king. Having inherited the throne as an infant, his incompetency for government was a contributing factor to the Wars of the Roses and ultimately his murder on 21 May 1471. Here, author Lauren Johnson – the historian behind the discovery that Henry VI may have had a sex coach – discusses his life and reign.


6

Mary, Queen of Scots’ tragic life

In this podcast from 2019, Kate Williams tells the dramatic story of the 16th-century Scottish queen and reflects on her doomed relationship with her cousin Elizabeth I of England. As part of the conversation, Williams also discusses the historical accuracy of Mary Queen of Scots (2018), starring actresses Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as Mary and her cousin Elizabeth respectively.

7

King George V at war

Bringing this list into the 20th century, Alexandra Churchill considers the life and reign of the Queen’s grandfather George V, exploring his role during the First World War and the question of whether he could have done more to save his cousin Tsar Nicholas II.

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Rachel Dinning is the digital editorial assistant at HistoryExtra