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A Weekend with Elizabeth I

Date and Time
17 - 18 February

A Weekend with Elizabeth I

A 2-day online event exploring the life of Elizabeth I. Enjoy talks by 7 leading Tudor history experts all from the comfort of your home!


17-18 February, 2024

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 two months 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.

Downloading Lectures

Participants will be able to download each of the lectures for private study and use only. The videos cannot be shared or used commercially.


All participants will be automatically entered into a draw to win one of the following four books:

- A copy of ‘The Final Year of Anne Boleyn’ by Natalie Grueninger

- A signed copy of ‘Becoming Anne: Connections, Culture, Court’ by Dr Owen Emmerson and Kate McCaffrey

- A copy of ‘Young Elizabeth’ by Dr Nicola Tallis

- A copy of ‘Courting Scandal’ by Dr James Taffe

The winners will be notified via email at the completion of the event.

Outline of Talks – Day 1

Lecture 1 – Young Elizabeth: Princess. Prisoner. Queen.

Presented by Dr Nicola Tallis

Elizabeth I is one of England's most famous monarchs, whose story as the ‘Virgin Queen’ is well known. But queenship was by no means a certain path for Henry VIII’s younger daughter, who spent the majority of her early years as a girl with an uncertain future.

Before she was three years old Elizabeth had been both a princess and then a bastard following the brutal execution of her mother, Anne Boleyn. After losing several stepmothers and then her father, the teenage Elizabeth was confronted with the predatory attentions of Sir Thomas Seymour. The result was devastating, causing a heartbreaking rift with her beloved stepmother Katherine Parr.

Elizabeth was placed in further jeopardy when she was implicated in the Wyatt Rebellion of 1554 – a plot to topple her half-sister, Mary, from her throne. Imprisoned in the Tower of London where her mother had lost her life, under intense pressure and interrogation Elizabeth adamantly protested her innocence. Though she was eventually liberated, she spent the remainder of Mary’s reign under a dark cloud. On 17 November 1558, however, the uncertainty of Elizabeth’s future came to an end when she succeeded to the throne at the age of twenty-five. Join Dr Tallis as she guides us through the heart racing story of Elizabeth’s youth.

Lecture 2 – Elizabeth’s Religion

Presented by Professor Susan Doran

My illustrated talk begins with the influences on Elizabeth's religion and the expressions of her religious piety before she became queen in November 1558. Moving onto her reign, I discuss her governorship of the Church of England, the prayerbook and bibles she authorised, and her public displays of religious piety. I argue that Elizabeth was a committed Protestant from an early age, but ask what kind?

Lecture 3 – Serving Elizabeth I: Friendship, Intimacy and Trust in the Queen's Privy Chamber

Presented by Dr James Taffe

In this lecture, Dr James Taffe explores the relationship between Elizabeth I and the Ladies and Gentlewomen of her Privy Chamber. The queen's Privy Chamber was a set of two or three smaller rooms where Elizabeth retreated and relaxed in private, attended only by her most intimate and trusted servants. This lecture begins by tracing the innovation and development of this institution, inherited by the queen from her father, Henry VIII, and her mother, Anne Boleyn. It will establish the day-to-day domestic duties they performed for Elizabeth, from dressing and undressing her, washing her, bringing her food and drink and making the queen's bed. This lecture will concentrate foremost on their relationship with Elizabeth, investigating in what ways they interacted, and were bound to each other as mistress and servant. It will explore how the Privy Chamber encouraged familiarity, the forming of friendships and genuine emotional bonds, and yet, fostered an atmosphere of paranoia, suspicion and mistrust. This lecture will also consider if the queen's Privy Chamber was merely a 'glorified boudoir', or if her women were truly political players. It will examine a rich archive of manuscript sources to illustrate how these women not only maintained Elizabeth in regal state, ensuring that she always ate, slept, dressed, and was in every place treated and honoured like a queen, but also became her family, her closest companions, her trusted confidantes, and her eyes and ears at the Tudor court.

Lecture 4 – On Progress with Elizabeth I: A Journey into East Anglia

Presented by Natalie Grueninger

In this illustrated lecture, we’ll travel back to the summer of 1578 and follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth I as she journeys from Havering Palace to East Anglia. The lecture will begin with an introduction to Elizabethan progresses, before turning to look more closely at the route taken by the queen in 1578 and the people who hosted the royal entourage. We’ll travel with the queen and court through Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, briefly exploring the events that took place along the way, including the queen’s visit to Norwich Cathedral – the final resting place of her Boleyn ancestors. We’ll also consider why this journey was made and discuss the political and religious context of the time.

Outline of Talks – Day 2

Lecture 5 – Secrets of Power and Influence: Queen Elizabeth I's Favourites

Presented by Dr Owen Emmerson

For centuries, historians have debated if the famed 'Virgin Queen' took lovers. This talk will look beyond this question and ask how Elizabeth's many favourites at court attained power and influence through their relationship with Elizabeth I. The politics of 'Courtly Love' were reshaped and challenged as England's first unmarried Queen Regnant negotiated the shifting social and political landscape, and several of Elizabeth's favourites fell foul of the changing rules. Though Elizabeth never married, she came close on several occasions with many of the Crown rulers of Europe and their heirs. We will explore what it meant to be a Queen without a King, and ask why it was that none of Elizabeth's favourites ever made it to the throne.

Lecture 6 – Dressing like a Queen: Elizabeth I's Wardrobe and her Fashion Preferences

Presented by Professor Maria Hayward

As the daughter of Henry VIII and the sister of Mary I, Elizabeth I would have seen how they both used clothing to assert their position as sovereign. This talk explores how she built on their examples to fashion her own distinct style which combined elements of tradition with the new fashions that emerged during the second half of the sixteenth century.

Lecture 7 – All the Queen's Pleasures: What Elizabeth I did to relax from the stress of ruling

Presented by Professor Carole Levin

Queen Elizabeth cared deeply about being a good queen from the time she became queen in 1558 until her death in 1603, and she worked very hard at it. There were not only long hours but so much stress dealing with religious divisions, questions of the successions, and problems with foreign rivals. But there were also ways that she enjoyed herself, though some of them had political ramifications. In this lecture, Professor Levin will delve into the many pastimes enjoyed by the queen. There were aspects of her courtships that gave her pleasure. She loved such physical activities as walking, hunting, and especially dancing, which she did until almost the end of her life. Elizabeth loved playing musical instruments and listening to her court musicians. She greatly appreciated the entertainments performed at her court. The queen read for pleasure and enjoyed doing translations. She also loved receiving gifts, enjoying the range of New Year's gifts and also all that she received from her hosts when she went on progress. The queen worked very hard, but she had chances where she could play hard as well.

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.

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.