York and Winchester History Weekends: 5 minutes with Tracy Borman

In the privacy of their apartments, the Tudor monarchs led very different lives to the ones that most of their subjects witnessed. At our York and Winchester History Weekends this autumn, Tracy Borman will reveal the Tudors as they really were, and take the audience behind closed doors to explore the intimate history of the most celebrated royal dynasty in history...

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Ahead of her talk, ‘The Private Lives of the Tudors’, we caught up with Tracy to find out more and learn about her passion for history…
 
Q: How and when did you first realise you had a passion for history?
 
A: When I was very young and my parents used to take my sister and I around castles and stately homes. I always wanted to move in!

 
Q: Your recent books have focused on the Tudors. Why do you love this period of history?
 
A: Because you literally couldn’t make it up. There’s a king who marries six times, a ‘virgin queen’, Shakespeare, Walter Raleigh, courtly magnificence and amazing palaces… the Tudors really do have it all.
 
Q: Which other historical areas fascinate you and why?
 
A: My first book was on the Georgians and they will always hold a special place in my affections. They were just so farcical – life was never dull at the Georgian court!
 
Q: Which history books are you reading at the moment?
 
A: I’m about to start researching Henry VIII, but in the meantime I’m enjoying Robyn Young’s new historical novel, Sons of the Blood (2016).
 
Q: Are there any developments in your field that are really exciting you at the moment?
 
A: There have been some remarkable new discoveries at Historic Royal Palaces (where I’m joint chief curator) lately, including a hat that may have belonged to Henry VIII and the only known surviving item from Elizabeth I’s wardrobe. I love the fact that treasures such as these can come to light at any time, even when we thought we knew everything there was to know about the Tudors.
 
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the York and Winchester History Weekends? 
 
A: I have hugely enjoyed the previous festivals. The audiences are always fantastic – so engaged and knowledgeable. And there could hardly be two more historic cities.
 
Q: What can we expect from your talk?
 
A: I will be taking the audience behind closed doors to discover the Tudors as they really were – the human beings behind the iconic facades. But be warned: it isn’t always a pretty sight!
 
Tracy Borman is an acclaimed author and historian whose books include a biography of Thomas Cromwell and The Private Lives of the Tudors. You can find out more about our Winchester and York History Weekends and Tracy’s talk, ‘The Private Lives of the Tudors’, here.
 
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