Henry viii

Lance encounters: a plate from The Book of Tournaments, Maximilian’s remarkable encyclopedia of jousting

The joy of jousting

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Emperor Maximilian I liked to say he invented the joust of the exploding shields. When a knight charged and his…

Thomas Cromwell, c. 1530, Holbein School

Diarmaid MacCulloch delves deep into the soul of Thomas Cromwell – administrator, henchman and evangelical

29 September 2018 9:00 am

The final moments of Hilary Mantel’s magnificent Wolf Hall see its central protagonist, Thomas Cromwell, trying to banish ghosts. Assailed…

Lettice had the same thin face as Queen Elizabeth I, and the same shock of thickly curled, fiery red hair

The great Tudor catfight

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Apart from glorying in a memorable name, Lettice Knollys has chiefly been known for her connections — with her second…

Cross-dressing in the Met. Policemen don women’s clothes to catch the Whitechapel murderer. Charles West (far right) leads the search in Jack the Ripper, 1974

Broken dreams

21 October 2017 9:00 am

In the expensive realm of musical comedy, it’s impossible to predict what will take off and what will crash and…

Florence's black Medici prince: a drama worthy of Shakespeare

7 May 2016 9:00 am

In a recent interview, the African American actor Wendell Pierce revealed he had once been told by the head of…

The torturer named for a beautiful shrine

27 February 2016 9:00 am

As you came from the Holy land Of Walsingham Met you not with my true love By the way as…

Map of the Island of Utopia, book frontispiece, 1563

Even Corbyn would find Thomas More’s Utopia too leftwing

2 January 2016 9:00 am

As anniversaries go, the timing could hardly be more apt. As Europe braces itself for the next Islamist attack, the…

Henry VIII, Edward VI, Charles I, George VI and George V

Game of thrones: five kings spanning five centuries launch a new series on royalty

3 January 2015 9:00 am

It is a strange paradox of our egalitarian age that a progressive publisher like Penguin should commission — at considerable…

Catherine Parr, whose dangerously reformist ‘Lamentation’ Shardlake must recover, comes over as a sympathetic and attractive figure

The Tudor sleuth who's cracked the secret of suspense

1 November 2014 9:00 am

Some reviewers are slick and quick. Rapid readers, they remember everything, take no notes, quote at will. I’m the plodding…

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell wearing ‘the George’, by Hans Holbein

Thomas Cromwell: more Tony Soprano than Richard Dawkins

23 August 2014 9:00 am

The travel writer Colin Thubron once told me that to understand a country and its people he first asks, ‘What…

The Thomas Cromwell plays would be stronger if they made him weaker 

18 January 2014 9:00 am

Three things you might not expect of the RSC’s adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Tudor novels. First, Mike Poulton’s plays have…

Anne Boleyn’s last secret

17 August 2013 9:00 am

With his wife, Anne Boleyn, in the Tower, Henry VIII considered every detail of her coming death, poring over plans…

Tudor, by Leanda de Lisle - review

10 August 2013 9:00 am

As parvenus, the Tudors were unsurpassed. In the early 15th century no one would have predicted that within a couple…

Empire of the Deep, by Ben Wilson - review

3 August 2013 9:00 am

‘I never before came across a man whom I could fancy being a Napoleon or a Nelson…His ascendancy over everybody…