Final thoughts on Wolf Hall

Well. Wolf Hall came to an end last night and I am still REELING from the final, brutal, awe inspiringly bleak episode, which charted Cromwell’s part in the swift and shocking demise of Anne Boleyn. What an absolutely wonderful series and almost certainly one of the best that I have ever seen. As you know, I had really high expectations for the adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s brilliant novels and I have to say that they have been completely surpassed by Wolf Hall. Yes, it started off slowly (which I think lost some viewers right at the very outset), but it […]

Thomas Cromwell – Tracy Borman

As if my terrible Thomas Cromwell crush after reading Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (which I finished rereading last night and can confirm is still very much one of the greatest books that I have ever read) wasn’t already bad enough, it seems to have increased ten fold lately thanks to the BBC version of the novels, which ends this week (woe and lamenting), in which Cromwell is played with superlative skill and panache by Mark Rylance. I really wasn’t sure about Rylance at first as he seemed to me to be lacking Cromwell’s trade mark bulk and […]

Tudor fun at Hampton Court Palace

As you will all no doubt know by now, I have been a fan of the Historic Royal Palace team’s work for a really long time. It’s hard to think of many other organisations so wholeheartedly committed to bringing the past to life and who consistently work so hard to make learning about history so fun and fresh and relevant to modern day audiences. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they take care of such a fascinating array of properties but while other organisations might perhaps take a more conservative approach, they prefer instead to take a much more modern, […]

Princess Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk

Mary Tudor, Queen of France, unknown artist. Photo: Musée Carnavalet, Paris. The thing about princesses is that they are rarely even nearly so beautiful as Disney and popular imagination would lead one to believe. It’s funny isn’t it? You hear the word ‘princess’ and the image of a sweetly, winsomely smiling, probably blonde vision of loveliness pops into your mind. I’ve just about trained myself out of this assumption but it some traces of it linger on, despite the fact that I know full well that thanks to centuries of in-breeding, princesses are actually more likely than not to be […]

The 2013 Top Ten

At the Cheapside Hoard exhibition preview, Museum of London. Photo: Suzy Nightingale. Wow, what a busy and action packed year it has been – full of all manner of historical treats and excitements! As is traditional at this time of year, I’ve decided to put together a list of my top ten vaguely blog related moments but it’s been REALLY hard to narrow it down as so much has happened and I’ve had such a blast! However, here is my poor effort, such as it is… Detail from a portrait of Anne of Denmark. Photo: Melanie Clegg. 1. In Fine […]

Elizabeth I and her People

Elizabeth I ‘The Ermine Portrait’, attributed to Hilliard, 1585. Photo: Marquess of Salisbury, Hatfield House. I’m super busy right now but thought I’d just stop by to let you all know about the new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery – Elizabeth I and Her People, which opens tomorrow, 10th October (my birthday, woo) and ends on the 5th of January next year. Elizabeth I ‘The Darnley Portrait’, unknown, c1575. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London. ‘The reign of Elizabeth I from 1558-1603 was a time of extraordinary enterprise. New opportunities for creativity and wealth creation in this period saw the […]