Four of the country's foremost historians on the Tudor period present four different presentations. The day will conclude with a panel discussion with our speakers, who will debate the day's talks and take questions from the audience.
If you are interested in the Tudor period or women's history then join us to discover the six wives of Henry VIII, the scandal between Elizabeth I and Thomas Seymour which led to the creation of the Virgin Queen, the dramas of courtly love and the dress and portraits of Elizabeth I.
10.30am - The Six Wives of Henry VIII
One of the most powerful monarchs in British history, Henry VIII ruled England in unprecedented splendour. In this remarkable presentation, Alison Weir brings Henry's six wives vividly to life, revealing each as a distinct and compelling personality in her own right.
Drawing upon the rich fund of documentary material from the Tudor period, The Six Wives of Henry VIII shows us a court where personal needs frequently influenced public events and where a life of gorgeously ritualised pleasure was shot through with ambition, treason and violence.
Alison Weir is the biggest-selling female historian (and the fifth best-selling historian) in the United Kingdom since records began in 1997.
She has published twenty-three titles and sold more than 3 million books - over a million in the UK and more than 2.1 million in the USA. She is now working on two concurrent series of books: Six Tudor Queens, comprising six novels on the wives of Henry VIII, and England's Medieval Queens, a quartet of historical works of non-fiction.
11.30am – The Tudors in Love
Why did Henry VIII marry six times? Why did Anne Boleyn have to die? Why did Elizabeth I's courtiers hail her as a goddess come to earth? The dramas of courtly love have captivated centuries of readers and dreamers. Yet it's too often dismissed as something which only existed in books - just the usual legends of King Arthur, told and retold in thousands of ways. Not so. In this ground-breaking history, Sarah Gristwood reveals the way chivalric romance made and marred the Tudor dynasty. From Henry VIII declaring himself as the ‘loyal and most assured servant' of Anne Boleyn to Elizabeth I's poems to her suitors, the Tudors re-enacted the roles of the devoted lovers and capricious mistresses first laid out in the romances of medieval literature. Tudors in Love dissects the codes of love, desire and power, unveiling romantic obsessions that have shaped the history of this nation. In the #MeToo era, re-examining the history of the social codes behind modern romance has never been more vital.
Sarah Gristwood is the author of four previous books of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century history: the Sunday Times bestseller Arbella: England's Lost Queen; Elizabeth and Leicester; Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses; and the widely-translated Game of Queens. A former journalist, contributing to papers such as the Guardian and the Telegraph, she has also written a number of books on twentieth-century subjects. She features frequently at history festivals, and on radio and television discussing the past and present of Britain's monarchy
12.30pm - Lunch
Dr Elizabeth Norton
1.30pm – The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor
England, late 1547. Henry VIII is dead. His 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth is living with the old king's widow Catherine Parr and her new husband Thomas Seymour. Ambitious, charming and dangerous, Seymour begins an overt flirtation with Elizabeth that ends in her being sent away by Catherine.
When Catherine dies in autumn 1548 and Seymour is arrested for treason soon after, the scandal explodes into the open. Alone and in dreadful danger, Elizabeth is closely questioned by the king's regency council: Was she still a virgin? Was there a child? Had she promised to marry Seymour? In her replies, she shows the shrewdness and spirit she would later be famous for. She survives the scandal. Thomas Seymour is not so lucky.
The Seymour Scandal led to the creation of the Virgin Queen. On hearing of Seymour's beheading, Elizabeth observed 'This day died a man of much wit, and very little judgement'. His fate remained with her. She would never allow her heart to rule her head again.
Dr Elizabeth Norton is a historian of the queens of England and the Tudor period. She is the author of biographies of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr, and of England's Queens: The Biography.
2.30pm – 'Dress, Dazzle'
Henry VIII used his wardrobe as a way of expressing his wealth and magnificence. Royal courts were show cases and visitors from abroad judged nations by what they saw there. This presentation aims to show the use of clothing by the Tudors, culminating in the court dress of Elizabeth I, which she used to spectacular political effect. The successive portraits of Elizabeth show us the deliberate manufacture of an image like Henry’s - powerful enough to hold together a people divided by social hierarchy and religious belief. Over the years she is transformed from elegant princess to cosmic vision. Decked out in a dazzling array of jewels and fine clothes she projects the ultimate image of royal power and used clothing as the perfect vehicle for royal magnificence and display.
Siobhan Clarke B.A. (Hons) has worked for Historic Royal Palaces for 20 years delivering tours and lectures on Hampton Court, Kensington, the Tower of London and the Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace. She has lectured for the National Trust, U3A, Arts Society and Smithsonian and featured on BBC Radio Women's Hour and Television's Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace. Her published work includes: A Tudor Christmas, in collaboration with Alison Weir, (Jonathan Cape, 2018) and The Tudors: The Crown, The Dynasty, The Golden Age with Linda Collins (Andre Deutsch, 2019). Her latest book, King and Collector: Henry VIII and the Art of Kingship was published by the History Press in 2021 and she is currently working on Gloriana: The Art of Elizabeth I.
3.30pm - Break
4.00pm - Panel Discussion with all four speakers with audience Q&A (Dependent on Covid-19 restrictions)
5.00pm - End
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
We recommend that this event is for ages 16+
What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?
There is no parking at the Cathedral so we recommend you come by public transport. London Bridge overground and underground station is a five minute walk away.
How can I contact the organiser with any questions?
Please contact Ruth Miller by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?
No. You can show your ticket on your phone or tablet.
Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?
Yes that is fine, a ticket for somebody else would make a lovely gift.
Will there be publications by the speakers be available to purchase?
Yes, a range of publications by our fantastic line-up of speakers will be available to purchase on the day, they may even sign them for you!
Does the ticket include lunch?
It doesn't I'm afraid, you are very welcome to visit our Cathedral Cafe or we are located next to Borough Market.
What about Covid-19?
With restrictions in England planned to be lifted on the 21 June we hope that this event will take place in the Cathedral library. This space will be cleaned beforehand and throughout the day and we recommend that ticket holders use hand sanitiser and wear face coverings even if it isn't mandatory to do so. We also strongly recommend you use the same chair throughout the day. At the moment there will be minimal social-distancing due to the possible lifting of restrictions but that could change.
Initially we will be releasing a small amount of tickets in case seating has to be socially distanced and if it looks possible to do so nearer to the time we will release further tickets taking into account ticket-holders the speakers and the Cathedral staff safety.
If on the day you do feel unwell please do not attend the event and stay at home. Refunds will be issued.
Please note that should this event have to be cancelled we will contact ticket-holders and issue a full refund.