The rise and fall of the Boleyns
She is the most famous of Henry VIII’s six wives, with the tragic story of her rise and fall known the world over. But what about Anne Boleyn’s father and brother? In this episode, historian Lauren Mackay charts the tumultuous lives of Thomas and George Bolyen and asks whether popular portrayals of the pair in novels and television series are accurate…
Inside the mind of Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I was England’s ‘Gloriana’ – a virgin queen who saw herself as wedded to her country, and who brought almost half a century of stability after the turmoil of her siblings’ short reigns. Here, in this 2018 podcast, Helen Castor explores the psychology of Elizabeth I and discusses the challenges of writing a biography of one of England’s best-known historical figures.
Thomas Cromwell reconsidered
Ever since Hilary Mantel made him the star of her acclaimed Wolf Hall novel, Thomas Cromwell has been one of the most talked-about figures of the Tudor age. In 2018 his life story was re-examined by Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch in a major new biography – described by Mantel herself as “the biography we’ve been waiting 400 years for”. In this episode, MacCulloch discusses Cromwell’s life and his relationships with Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and the European Protestant movement…
The Tudors: everything you need to know
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Tudors, but were afraid to ask
Take a whistle-stop tour through the Tudor period with historian and author Tracy Borman, who in this podcast responds to listener queries and popular search enquiries about the 16th-century English royal dynasty. Find out whether Henry VII had a legitimate claim to the throne, how the Tudors are related to the modern-day royal family, and what really killed King Henry VIII…
Historian Miranda Kaufmann explores the lives of a number of Africans who made England their home in the 16th century and considers why, until recently, so little has been known about black Tudors. You can read more about some of these individuals – from the court musician who persuaded Henry VIII to give him a handsome pay rise, to the family man who profited from high society’s passion for silk stockings – here.
Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s favourite queen
In 1537, Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII, bore the king his long-awaited male heir, Edward. Bestselling author and historian Alison Weir discusses Jane’s life and tragic premature death, and explains why Jane – who she describes as an “enigma” – makes such a fascinating character study for her historical novel, The Haunted Queen.
The tragedy of Lady Jane Grey
She was put on the English throne by her scheming father-in-law, deposed by her power-hungry cousin and condemned to death by her own father’s tears. In this episode, historian, author and broadcaster Helen Castor describes the short, but dramatic, life and reign of England’s ‘Nine Days Queen’, Lady Jane Grey.
Richard III and dirty Tudors
Rotting vegetation, dung heaps and overflowing cesspits were just some of the unpleasant daily realities faced by ordinary people in 16th-century England. Here, Pamela Hartshorne discusses the challenges Tudors faced when trying to keep their cities clean and hygienic. Also in this episode, Chris Skidmore tells us how his research presents a different picture of the controversial 15th-century king Richard III.
JFK and a neglected Tudor, Elizabeth of York
She was a founder of the Tudor dynasty and mother to one of England’s most notorious kings, Henry VIII. Yet, argues Alison Weir, Elizabeth of York remains an underestimated queen in her own right. Here, the bestselling author and historian discusses why Elizabeth is so often overlooked. Also in this episode, Mark White reappraises the American president John F Kennedy.
Emma Mason is the digital editor at HistoryExtra