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A Weekend at the Tudor Court

Date and Time
21 - 22 October 2023

About This Event

Delivery Mode

Solely online via seven pre-recorded lectures and one live Zoom discussion. Participants will receive links to each lecture over the course of the weekend and will be able to access the recordings for one month following the completion of the event. Each lecture will also be accompanied by a recommended reading list and discussion/reflection questions. Closed captions will also be available.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact natalie@onthetudortrail.com.

Outline of Talks – Day 1

Lecture 1 – The Perfect Courtier

Presented by Gareth Russell

Courtiers lived in a world of snakes and ladders, climbing and falling throughout their careers. Gareth Russell discusses how courtiers were educated, how they were expected to behave, and what challenges they could face by looking at the everyday lives of six of them - Lord James Butler, Lady Rochford, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Bridgewater, Charles Howard, and Katharine Bassett.

Lecture 2 – Dressing for the Tudor court: Power, Beauty, and Influence

Presented by Eleri Lynn

Far from being mere decoration, fashion was pivotal in the communication of status and power for the Tudor monarchs and their courtiers. It was used as a tool in securing and holding the tenuous Tudor throne and as a competitive weapon in the factions, intrigues and love affairs of the court. In this talk, Eleri Lynn, will explore the changing fashions of the Tudor wardrobe, the elaborate process of dressing, and show how magnificent fashion was central to the Tudors' mindset and their very understanding of royalty and power.

Lecture 3 - Music Manuscripts and Musical Life at Court: Henry VII-Elizabeth I

Presented by Brooke Little

Brooke’s talk will highlight music manuscripts associated with Tudor kings and queens both at chapel and court from 1485-1603. In addition to touring late fifteenth and sixteenth century English music manuscripts, she will also spotlight Tudor performance practice both public and private spheres connected with each consort and monarch.

Lecture 4 - Power Palaces: Pleasure, Politics & Patronage

Presented by Natalie Grueninger

Tudor palaces were much more than just bricks and mortar. They were designed to reflect and celebrate the magnificence of the Tudor dynasty and to facilitate the exercise of power. In this illustrated lecture, Natalie Grueninger will explore some of the palaces that provided a sumptuous backdrop to the drama and politicking of the Tudor era. Hampton Court will be used as case study to highlight the key features of a Tudor palace and discuss how the monarch and court used these spaces, which were often both functional and impressive, for practical reasons, business and pleasure.

Outline of Talks – Day 2

Lecture 5 – Behind Closed Doors at the Tudor Court

Presented by Dr Tracy Borman

This illustrated talk will take the audience behind closed doors to explore the private lives, loves and scandals of the most celebrated royal dynasty in history. Tracy Borman will interweave familiar tales, such as Henry VIII’s turbulent affair with Anne Boleyn and the question of whether their daughter Elizabeth really was the Virgin Queen, with lesser-known episodes such as Henry VII’s courtship of his own daughter-in-law and the tragic fate of ‘Bloody Mary’. She will reveal every aspect of this famous dynasty’s private life: what they ate, how they dressed, their hobbies and friends, health, hygiene and love affairs.

The talk will be based on Tracy’s bestselling book, The Private Lives of the Tudors.

Lecture 6 – Dine with the Tudors

Presented by Brigitte Webster

In Dine with the Tudors we will take a closer look at where various courtiers dined, what meals they were entitled to and when their meals were served. We will learn what table etiquette meant to a Tudor courtier and analyse their food as a social marker. We will talk about seasonal, religious and economical food restrictions affecting people’s diet at court and what made some food a highly desirable gift fit for the king or queen. We’ll also investigate what a healthy balanced diet meant at Henry’s and Elizabeth’s courts. Last but not least we will escape into the lavish world of magical feasting and banqueting at the Tudor court before we leave court altogether and accompany Henry and Elizabeth on their culinary progress to visit the courtiers at their country estates.

Lecture 7 – Pastime at the Tudor Court

Presented by Dr Owen Emmerson

How did the Tudor elite have fun? In this lecture, Dr Owen Emmerson will chart the social and cultural history of the Tudor court through the lens of Tudor pastimes. From tennis, archery, jousting and hunting to board games and gambling, the Tudor court was a hive of bustling activity. ‘Pastime with good company’ was lauded as a virtuous alternative to the ‘vices’ that emerged from ‘idleness’. However, these festive merriments could easily lead to division and danger in a court ruled by ideals of chivalry, and governed by intrigue and suspicion.

Lecture 8 – Live Zoom Discussion

A round-up of the two-day event with Natalie Grueninger and Dr Owen Emmerson. Participants will be able to ask questions and share their reflections.

About the Speakers

Gareth Russell is a historian and broadcaster. He studied at Oxford and Queen's University, Belfast, where he specialised in the medieval and Tudor royal households. He is the author of several books, including the Catherine Howard biography, Young and Damned and Fair, and the bestselling Do Let's Have Another Drink, about the late Queen Mother. His latest book is The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of History at Hampton Court.

Eleri Lynn is a curator and award-winning author, specialising in the textiles and fashions of the Tudor royal court. She is the author of several publications, including 'Tudor Fashion' (Yale University Press, 2017), and 'Tudor Textiles' (Yale University Press, 2020), and is a contributor to 'Floral Culture in the Tudor and Stuart Courts' (Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming 2023). Eleri has curated and overseen major exhibitions for the Victoria and Albert Museum, Historic Royal Palaces, and National Museum Wales, including 'The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I' at Hampton Court Palace in 2019. She is a Trustee of the Royal School of Needlework.

Brooke Little is a PhD Candidate in Musicology at Northwestern University who specializes in Tudor queens, music education and music performance at the sixteenth century English court. She holds a BM in Voice Performance (2005), MME in Vocal Music Education (2008) both from the University of Missouri-Columbia, as well as a She also holds a MM in Musicology from the University of Missouri- Kansas City (2017). Her thesis "The Musical Education and Involvement of the Six Wives of Henry VIII", focuses on questions of gender, sexuality, female education and performance in the first half of the English sixteenth century. She has presented selections from her work at the Sixteenth Century Society in Milwaukee, the American Musicology Society Midwest, the Newberry Library in Chicago, and the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In addition to her work in academia, Brooke spent a number of years teaching vocal music throughout the Kansas City area and currently operates a private voice and piano studio which she has done since 2006. You can find her on Instagram @LadyTudorMusic to follow her current fascinations and research. Her favourite things are the smell of old manuscripts at the National Archives at Kew or the British Library, listening to selections of her favourite early music performances, viewing sixteenth century music portraiture, and touring Tudor manor homes and palaces throughout England, obviously.

Natalie Grueninger is an independent researcher who specialises in the life, reign and times of Queen Anne Boleyn. She’s authored and co-authored six books, including the ‘In the Footsteps’ series. Her latest book, ‘The Final Year of Anne Boleyn’, was published in November 2022. Natalie has written for a number of history magazines, including Inside History and Tudor Places, and runs the website www.onthetudortrail.com. She’s the creator and host of the popular ‘Talking Tudors’ podcast and the founder of Women’s History Circle, dedicated to amplifying women’s voices and promoting the work of women creatives with a passion for history. Natalie is deeply interested in the lives of medieval and Tudor women and in the networks which they built and used, especially those with other women. She’s an avid bibliophile and a lifelong learner. When not at her desk, she can often be found indulging in her insatiable passion for travel. Natalie lives in Sydney with her husband, two teenaged children and a cheeky cavoodle.

Tracy Borman is a best-selling author, historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Tudor period. She’s joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces and Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Fund. Her books include Elizabeth’s Women, Thomas Cromwell, The Private Lives of the Tudors and Crown & Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy from William the Conqueror to Charles III. She has also written a fiction trilogy, The King’s Witch, based in the court of James I. Her latest non-fiction book is Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I: The Mother and Daughter Who Changed History (Hodder & Stoughton, 19 May 2023).

Brigitte Webster is a qualified teacher of home economics and history, making her the perfect ‘accomplished’ Tudor housewife in modern day Britain.

As a competent and experienced cook with a deep passion for Tudor history she fully immersed herself in archaeological, experimental cookery which also motivated her to grow period vegetables, herbs and fruits to achieve the most authentic end results.

In 2019 she and her husband bought a small Tudor manor that had escaped ruthless modernisation. This will form the hub of their Tudor & 17th century Experience where guests can enjoy hospitality in a place for like-minded people who can come together and embrace a stepping back into culinary Tudor England.

Brigitte has appeared on Professor Suzannah Lipscomb’s TV series Walking Tudor England and is a regular contributor to the magazine Tudor Places. She also appears in popular history podcasts. In 2019 Brigitte was a guest speaker at the first TudorCon exposition in Pennsylvania.

The launch of this book is complimented by regular Tudor cookery videos with recipes from Eating with the Tudors.

Dr Owen Emmerson is a social and cultural historian. He is the author of four books, the most recent of which focused on the discovery of Thomas Cromwell’s Book of Hours. He co-curated three exhibitions at Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. He has contributed to documentaries with the BBC, Netflix, Amazon, ITV, HistoryHit, Smithsonian, & C5. He is currently authoring a complete history of Hever Castle and a study of the cultural histories of the ten Tudor Queens.

Event organiser is Talking Tudors.

Disclaimer: All information was correct when the listing was prepared. Any questions about the event should be directed to the event organiser.