Books 2021 – 2 books on sale today

Henry VII and the Tudor Pretenders: Simnel, Warbeck, and Warwick by Nathen Amin

(c) Amberley Publishing

‘On 22 August 1485, Henry Tudor emerged from the Battle of Bosworth victorious, his disparate army vanquishing the forces of Richard III and, according to Shakespeare over a century later, bringing smooth-faced peace, with smiling aplenty and fair prosperous days , back to England. Yet, all was not well early in the Tudor reign.

Despite later attempts to portray Henry VII as single-handedly uniting a war-torn England after three decades of conflict, the kingdom was anything but settled. Nor could it be after a tumultuous two-year period that had witnessed the untimely death of one king, the mysterious disappearance of another, and the brutal slaughter of a third on the battlefield.

For the first time in one compelling and comprehensive account, Nathen Amin looks at the myriad of shadowy conspiracies and murky plots which sought to depose the Tudor usurper early in his reign, with particular emphasis on the three pretenders whose causes were fervently advanced by Yorkist dissidents – Lambert Simnel, Perkin Warbeck, and Edward, Earl of Warwick. Just how close did the Tudors come to overthrow long before the myth of their greatness had taken hold on our public consciousness?’


Further details – Amberley Publishing

Further details – Nathen Amin

Further details –

Mistresses: Sex and Scandal at the Court of Charles II (paperback) by Linda Porter

(c) Picador

‘According to the great diarist, John Evelyn, Charles II was ‘addicted to women’, and throughout his long reign a great many succumbed to his charms. Clever, urbane and handsome, Charles presided over a hedonistic court, in which licence and licentiousness prevailed.

Mistresses is the story of the women who shared Charles’s bed, each of whom wielded influence on both the politics and cultural life of the country. From the young king-in-exile’s first mistress and mother to his first child, Lucy Walter, to the promiscuous and ill-tempered courtier, Barbara Villiers. From Frances Teresa Stuart, ‘the prettiest girl in the world’ to history’s most famous orange-seller, ‘pretty, witty’ Nell Gwynn and to her fellow-actress, Moll Davis, who bore the last of the king’s fifteen illegitimate children. From Louise de Kéroualle, the French aristocrat – and spy for Louis XIV – to the sexually ambiguous Hortense Mancini. Here, too, is the forlorn and humiliated Queen Catherine, the Portuguese princess who was Charles’s childless queen.

Drawing on a wide variety of original sources, including material in private archives, Linda Porter paints a vivid picture of these women and of Restoration England, an era that was both glamorous and sordid.’


Further details – Linda Porter

Further details –

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‘Great Ladies: The Forgotten Witnesses to the Lives of Tudor Queens’ by Sylvia Soberton added to the website…

(c) Sylvia Barbara Soberton

‘Great Ladies: The Forgotten Witnesses to the Lives of Tudor Queens’ by Sylvia Soberton added to the General Works section of the bibliography.

Entries added to the following:

Art – Paintings – Delaroche

Writings of Lady Jane Grey – Letters – Letter to Mary and Farewell Letters – Letters to Father

Legends – Poison

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Top Experiences – Part 2

Looking back on the last 20 years these are more of my top experiences!

Talk for the Tudor Society

In May 2019 I recorded a talk about Jane for the Tudor Society. Society members can listen to it here.

(c) Tudor Society

Flowers for Lady Jane

I try to visit the Tower on 12th February every 10 years and leave flowers in memory of Jane. My Dad accompanied me on my 2014 visit and although it was pouring with rain, we enjoyed the Yeoman Warder’s tour, which featured information about Jane and Guildford. As the weather was so bad, we ended up going in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula earlier in the tour than was usual and I got a seat near the front with a good view of the memorial stone that mentions Jane. At the end of the tour I waited for everyone to leave and then asked the Yeoman Warder if he would put my flowers for Jane somewhere. He very kindly removed the barrier to the altar and let me leave the flowers on the memorial stone.

Lady Jane Grey’s Prayerbook

Lady Jane’s prayer book is currently held at the British Library and is not on public display. It used to be on display in the manuscript room at the British Museum and I would go and have a look at it every time I visited London. Being able to see Jane’s writing up close was amazing!

(c) British Library

Special Birthday Presents

For my 40th birthday, my wonderful parents got me a Lady Jane Grey rose and Lady Jane featured on my birthday cake.

My amazing sister and brother-in-law bought my domain name in 2012 and my brother-in-law hosts my website.

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‘Arbella Stewart’ – Talk by Sarah Gristwood

(c) Bantam

Last Tuesday I watched Sarah Gristwood’s fascinating talk about Arbella Stewart. Arbella was the subject of Sarah’s first book, ‘Arbella: England’s Lost Queen.’

(c) Sarah Gristwood

Arbella was a great-great grandaughter of Henry VII and after the early deaths of her parents, was raised by her maternal grandmother, Bess of Hardwick.

Sarah described how she discovered Arbella’s story quite by chance when she visited Hardwick Hall and how she was very lucky to come across such a story with genuine political importance, an escape abroad and surviving letters.

Arbella’s letters are extraordinary documents, they are very revealing about James’s court and also Arbella’s character and distress. What Arbella wrote, is what made her story sing for Sarah. There is nothing like holdings a letter that Arbella had shed tears over 400 years ago.

‘I must shape my own coat according to my cloth, but it will not be after the fashion of this world, God willing, but fit for me.’

You could hardly get a clearer statement of identity. Arbella also wrote whilst a prisoner in the tower that

‘I dare die, so I be not guilty of my own death.’

Arbella made a bid for the throne, as Elizabeth I lay dying, by seeking to marry. She was 27 years old and secretly opened negotiations to marry a boy 12 years her junior and had never met. But crucially he was he eldest grandson of Lady Katherine Grey, Lady Jane Grey’s next sister. He was a boy with his own claim to the throne, Edward Seymour.

The plan was discovered and an investigator was sent to Hardwick Hall to question Arbella and her grandmother. When James I, her cousin, inherited the throne, Arbella was brought to court.

The summer of 1603 saw a plot to place her on the throne. It became clear that James was not likely to let Arbella marry, as any children would provide an alternative line of succession.

Early in the spring of 1610, Arbella contracted a secret betrothal to William Seymour, with his own claim to the throne, younger brother of Edward Seymour. This was a deeply political act. They married secretly that summer but it was soon known at court. They were sent to separate prisons, William to the Tower and Arbella was placed under house arrest. After a failed escape attempt, Arbella died in the Tower of London.

Arbella did not get to be Queen of England, nor was she allowed to live long with her husband but she was a woman who made her political mark, left a legacy of letters and inspired one of the great works of English Literature, the Duchess of Malfi.

At the end of the talk, Sarah answered our questions.

My question was ‘How much of a threat was Arbella’s marriage? Do you think people would have accepted a son of William and Arbella instead of the Stuart line of succession?’

Sarah answered, ‘When they escaped, James was hysterical and sent everyone after them. The Lord Admiral suggested letting them go, as did it really matter? The kicker was the religious question. No Protestants wanted to replace James with Arbella, except those who might control her. If Willian and Arbella had converted to Catholicism abroad, Catholics might have supported them and that is where the threat came in.’

Arbella Stuart

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Top Experiences – Part 1

Looking back on the last 20 years these are some of my top experiences!

Rose Petal Remembrance Service at Bradgate Park

Giving the Eulogy to Lady Jane at the first Remembrance & Rose Petal Service at Bradgate Park in July 2017. The Service was part of the ‘Queen of Bradgate Park’ Celebrations. A huge thank you to Leanda de Lisle who suggested that I give the eulogy and to Michelle from Bradgate Park for asking me and for arranging such a wonderful event.

The Service which included the prayer book that Jane would have listened to as Queen at the Tower of London was very moving, especially when we said, ‘God save the Queen.’

You can read the eulogy here.

Lunch with Leanda de Lisle and Eric Ives

My 34th birthday was one that I will never forget. We had lunch with Leanda de Lisle and her family and Eric Ives. It was a master class in Lady Jane Grey! Thank you Leanda for the kind invitation.

England’s Forgotten Queen: The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey

In May 2017 I was contacted by a researcher from Darlow Smithson Productions who had been commissioned by BBC4 to produce a TV series about Lady Jane. I met with the researcher to answer her questions and also answered questions by email. The series was shown in January 2018 and I was thrilled to get my name in the credits.

‘The Real Tudors: Kings & Queens Rediscovered’ with Stephan Edwards

This exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London ran from 12th September 2014 and until 1st March 2015. Luckily it coincided with a visit to the UK by Stephan Edwards, who is an authority on Lady Jane portraits and Tudor art, so my husband and I were treated to our own personal guide to the exhibition.

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