An insightful and elegant examination of Henry VIII's last will and testament that evokes the glittering world of the Tudor king in all its glory, pomp, and paranoia. On 28 January 1547, the sickly and obese King Henry VIII died at Whitehall. Just hours before his passing, his last will and testament had been read, stamped, and sealed. The will confirmed the line of succession as Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth; and, following them, the Grey and Suffolk families. It also listed bequests to the king's most trusted councillors and servants. Henry's will is one of the most intriguing and contested documents in British history. Historians have disagreed over its intended meaning, its authenticity and validity, and the circumstances of its creation. As well as examining the background to the drafting of the will and describing Henry's last days, Suzannah Lipscomb offers her own illuminating interpretation of one of the most significant constitutional documents of the Tudor period. Illustrated with portraits of the key figures at Henry's court, The King is Dead is as boldly evocative as it is beautiful—a work of Tudor history to cherish.
On 28 January 1547, the sickly and obese King Henry VIII died at Whitehall. Just hours before his passing, his last will and testament had been read, stamped and sealed. The will confirmed the line of succession as Edward, Mary and Elizabeth; and, following them, the Grey and Suffolk families. It also listed bequests to the king's most trusted councillors and servants. Henry's will is one of the most intriguing and contested documents in British history. Historians have disagreed over its intended meaning, its authenticity and validity, and the circumstances of its creation. As well as examining the background to the drafting of the will and describing Henry's last days, Suzannah Lipscomb offers her own, illuminating interpretation of one of the most significant constitutional documents of the Tudor period.
One of the best-known figures of British history, collective memory of Henry VIII presents us with the image of a corpulent, covetous, and cunning king whose appetite for worldly goods met few parallels, whose wives met infamously premature ends, and whose religion was ever political in intent. 1536 - focusing on a pivotal year in the life of the King - reveals a fuller portrait of this complex monarch, detailing the finer shades of humanity that have so long been overlooked. We discover that in 1536 Henry met many failures - physical, personal, and political - and emerged from them a revolutionary new king who proceeded to transform a nation and reform a religion. A compelling story, the effects of which are still with us today, 1536 shows what a profound difference can be made merely by changing the heart of a king.
Author: Suzannah Lipscomb
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2012-03-15
Join historian Suzannah Lipscomb as she reveals the hidden secrets of palaces, castles, theatres and abbeys to uncover the stories of Tudor England. From the famous palace at Hampton Court where dangerous court intrigue was rife, to less well-known houses, such as Anne Boleyn's childhood home at Hever Castle or Tutbury Castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned, follow in the footsteps of the Tudors in the places that they knew. In the corridors of power and the courtyards of country houses we meet the passionate but tragic Kateryn Parr, Henry VIII's last wife, Lady Jane Grey the nine-day queen, and hear how Sir Walter Raleigh planned his trip to the New World. This lively and engaging book reveals the rich history of the Tudors and paints a vivid and captivating picture of what it would have been like to live in Tudor England.
"Fascinating . . . Alison Weir does full justice to the subject." --The Philadelphia Inquirer At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife Katherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the teenage daughter of his second wife Anne Boleyn; and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. In this riveting account Alison Weir paints a unique portrait of these extraordinary rulers, examining their intricate relationships to each other and to history. She traces the tumult that followed Henry's death, from the brief intrigue-filled reigns of the boy king Edward VI and the fragile Lady Jane Grey, to the savagery of "Bloody Mary," and finally the accession of the politically adroit Elizabeth I. As always, Weir offers a fresh perspective on a period that has spawned many of the most enduring myths in English history, combining the best of the historian's and the biographer's art. "Like anthropology, history and biography can demonstrate unfamiliar ways of feeling and being. Alison Weir's sympathetic collective biography, The Children of Henry VIII does just that, reminding us that human nature has changed--and for the better. . . . Weir imparts movement and coherence while re-creating the suspense her characters endured and the suffering they inflicted." --The New York Times Book Review From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Chris Skidmore
Release Date: 2011-07-21
On the death of Henry VIII, the crown passed to his nine-year-old son, Edward. However, real power went to the Protector, Edward's uncle, the Duke of Somerset. The court had been a hotbed of intrigue since the last days of Henry VIII. Without an adult monarch, the stakes were even higher. The first challenger was the duke's own brother: he seduced Henry VIII's former queen, Katherine Parr; having married her, he pursued Princess Elizabeth and later was accused of trying to kidnap the boy king at gunpoint. He was beheaded. Somerset ultimately met the same fate, after a coup d'etat organized by the Duke of Warwick. Chris Skidmore reveals how the countrywide rebellions of 1549 were orchestrated by the plotters at court and were all connected to the (literally) burning issue of religion: Henry VIII had left England in religious limbo. Court intrigue, deceit and treason very nearly plunged the country into civil war. Edward was a precocious child, as his letters in French and Latin demonstrate. He kept a secret diary, written partly in Greek, which few of his courtiers could read. In 1551, at the age of 14, he took part in his first jousting tournament, an essential demonstration of physical prowess in a very physical age. Within a year it is his signature we find at the bottom of the Council minutes, yet in early 1553 he contracted a chest infection and later died, rumours circulating that he might have been poisoned. Mary, Edward's eldest sister, and devoted Catholic, was proclaimed Queen. This is more than just a story of bloodthirsty power struggles, but how the Church moved so far along Protestant lines that Mary would be unable to turn the clock back. It is also the story of a boy born to absolute power, whose own writings and letters offer a compelling picture of a life full of promise, but tragically cut short.
Author: Tracy Borman
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Release Date: 2016-12-13
England’s Tudor monarchs—Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I—are perhaps the most celebrated and fascinating of all royal families in history. Their love affairs, their political triumphs, and their overturning of the religious order are the subject of countless works of popular scholarship. But for all we know about Henry’s quest for male heirs, or Elizabeth’s purported virginity, the lives of the Tudor monarchs away from the public eye remain largely beyond our grasp, mostly not chronicled by previous historians. In The Private Lives of the Tudors, acclaimed historian Tracy Borman delves deep behind the public face of the monarchs, showing us what their lives were like beyond the stage of the court. Drawing on original material from those closest to them—courtiers like the “groom of the stool,” a much-coveted position, surprisingly—Borman examines Tudor life in fine detail. What did the monarchs eat? What clothes did they wear, and how were they designed, bought, and cared for? How did they wield power? When sick, how were they treated? What games did they play? How did they practice their faith? And whom did they love, and how did they give birth to the all-important heirs? Exploring their education, upbringing, sexual lives, and taking us into the kitchens, bathrooms, schoolrooms, and bedrooms at court, The Private Lives of the Tudors charts the course of the entire dynasty, surfacing new and fascinating insights into these celebrated figures.
Author: Suzannah Lipscomb
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Release Date: 2019-04-30
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
'Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived': so goes the famous mnemonic by which we recall the varied destinies of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. The stories of these six consorts of the second Tudor king – their fates the brutal corollary of the stark dynastic imperatives of the royal succession – have assumed mythic status in the annals of English history. Only three of these women would give Henry a child that survived infancy: two girls (Mary and Elizabeth) and one boy (Edward). All three would inherit the crown worn by their mighty father, but the Tudor dynasty would not outlive their deaths. Suzannah Lipscomb's crisply authoritative and insightful accounts of the lives of these six queens are embellished by beautiful images of the principal players in this most compelling of royal dramas.
As Henry VIII lies on his deathbed, an incendiary manuscript threatens to tear his court apart. Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councilors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government. As heretics are hunted across London, and radical Protestants are burned at the stake, the Catholic party focuses its attack on Henry's sixth wife--and Matthew Shardlake's old mentor--Queen Catherine Parr. Shardlake, still haunted by his narrow escape from death the year before, steps into action when the beleaguered and desperate Queen summons him to Whitehall Palace to help her recover a dangerous manuscript. The Queen has authored a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King's attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down. Although the secret book was kept hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen's private chamber, it has inexplicably vanished. Only one page has been recovered--clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer. Shardlake's investigations take him on a trail that begins among the backstreet printshops of London, but leads him and his trusty assistant Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of court politics, a world Shardlake swore never to enter again. In this crucible of power and ambition, Protestant friends can be as dangerous as Catholic enemies, and those with shifting allegiances can be the most dangerous of all.
Author: John Guy
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Release Date: 2013-04-25
Behind the façade of politics and pageantry at the Tudor court, there was a family drama. Nothing drove Henry VIII, England's wealthiest and most powerful king, more than producing a legitimate male heir and so perpetuating his dynasty. To that end, he married six wives, became the subject of the most notorious divorce case of the sixteenth century, and broke with the pope, all in an age of international competition and warfare, social unrest and growing religious intolerance and discord. Henry fathered four living children, each by a different mother. Their interrelationships were often scarred by jealously, mutual distrust, sibling rivalry, even hatred. Possessed of quick wits and strong wills, their characters were defined partly by the educations they received, and partly by events over which they had no control. Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, although recognized as the king's son, could never forget his illegitimacy. Edward died while still in his teens, desperately plotting to exclude his half-sisters from the throne. Mary's world was shattered by her mother's divorce and her own unhappy marriage. Elizabeth was the most successful, but also the luckiest. Even so, she lived with the knowledge that her father had ordered her mother's execution, was often in fear of her own life, and could never marry the one man she truly loved. Henry's children idolized their father, even if they differed radically over how to perpetuate his legacy. To tell their stories, John Guy returns to the archives, drawing on a vast array of contemporary records, personal letters, and first-hand accounts.
A significant retelling of the often-misunderstood tale of Lady Jane Grey's journey through her trial and execution—recalling the dangerous plots and web of deadly intrigue in which she became involuntarily tangled, and which ultimately led to a catastrophic conclusion. "Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same.” These were the heartbreaking words of a seventeen-year-old girl, Lady Jane Grey, as she stood on the scaffold awaiting death on a cold February morning in 1554. Minutes later her head was struck from her body with a single stroke of a heavy axe. Her death for high treason sent shockwaves through the Tudor world, and served as a gruesome reminder to all who aspired to a crown that the axe could fall at any time. Jane is known to history as "the Nine Days Queen," but her reign lasted, in fact, for thirteen days. The human and emotional aspects of her story have often been ignored, although she is remembered as one of the Tudor Era’s most tragic victims. While this is doubtlessly true, it is only part of the complex jigsaw of Jane’s story. She was a remarkable individual with a charismatic personality who earned the admiration and affection of many of those who knew her. All were impressed by her wit, passion, intelligence, and determined spirit. Furthermore, the recent trend of trying to highlight her achievements and her religious faith has, in fact, further obscured the real Jane, a young religious radical who saw herself as an advocate of the reformed faith—Protestantism—and ultimately became a martyr for it. Crown of Blood is an important and significant retelling of an often-misunderstood tale: set at the time of Jane’s downfall and following her journey through to her trial and execution, each chapter moves between the past and the “present,” using a rich abundance of primary source material (some of which has never been published) in order to paint a vivid picture of Jane’s short and turbulent life. This dramatic narrative traces the dangerous plots and web of deadly intrigue in which Jane became involuntarily tangled—and which ultimately led to a shocking and catastrophic conclusion.
Author: Nashe Thomas
Publisher: Read Books Ltd
Release Date: 2015-12-22
This early work by Thomas Nashe was originally published in 1600 and we are now republishing it with a brand new introductory biography. 'Summer's Last Will and Testament' is an Elizabethan era stage play that broke new ground in the development of English Renaissance drama. Thomas Nashe was born in November 1567. He was an English Elizabethan Pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist, but little is known with certainty about his life. Much of the information we have has been inferred from his writings. Nashe's first appearance in print was his preface to Robert Greene's Menaphon (1589), in which he offers a brief definition of art and an overview of contemporary literature. His early exercise in euphuism The Anatomy of Absurdity was published in the same year. From then on Nashe became involved in numerous political and religious causes, including the Martin Marprelate controversy where he sided with the bishops. Nashe offers an important insight into the workings of 16th century English life and his writings will continue to be studied for both their literary content and historical relevance.
Author: Hilary Mantel
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: 2012-05-08
Winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize Winner of the 2012 Costa Book of the Year Award The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne's head? Bring Up the Bodies is one of The New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2012, one of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Best Books of 2012 and one of The Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2012
The national bestselling hit hailed by the New York Times as a "vibrant medieval mystery...[it] outdoes the competition." In medieval Cambridge, England, Adelia, a female forensics expert, is summoned by King Henry II to investigate a series of gruesome murders that has wrongly implicated the Jewish population, yielding even more tragic results. As Adelia's investigation takes her behind the closed doors of the country's churches, the killer prepares to strike again.