Arts and Entertainment

I hadn't realised – until I read this book – how much work Henry VIII's marital problems caused the stonemasons of Hampton Court. After years of carving the letters H&C all over the place, Henry got rid of Catherine of Aragon, so the Cs had to be reworked as As. But, no sooner was the last A in place than Anne Boleyn was executed on Tower Hill and the As had to become Js to suit Jane Seymour, who promptly died in childbirth. And there were still three more queens to go, so, lots more chiseling, presumably.

A people apart

t Gypsies used to be thought of as originating in Egypt, hence the name; but they are now believed to be of North-Indian origin, arriving in England at about the turn of the 16th century.

Corsets and codpieces hold court

Serving wenches, Yeomen of the Guard and 17th-century grandes dames wander the royal apartments of Hampton Court with groups of captivated guests in tow. But this is no kitschy Historyland theme tour. The art of 'historical reinterpretation' is serious business. Photograph by Glynn Griffiths

how to have a better divorce

If you can't make a success of marriage (even with the aid of our special report last week), then you'll be relieved to know that breaking up can be a 'growth opportunity' - at least, that's what the experts think. Angela Neustatter reports

Elizabeth, Edward and the Protection racket

Sexual, verbal and mental abuse, poisoning, beatings, jealousy and paranoia. It was no fun being Henry VIII's children. By Amanda Foreman; Children of England: The Heirs of King Henry VIII 1547-1558 by Alison Weir, Cape pounds 18.99

BOOKS SHAKESPEARE: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by John Michell

Who Wrote Shakespeare? by John Michell, Thames & Hudson pounds 16.95. The Man from Stratford left not a single manuscript, literary relic, or even a book in his will; his tomb effigy originally clutched a sack (the quill-pen was added during 18th-century renovations); his death, unlike those of Jonson, Spenser, Fletcher and Chapman, inspired no public lamentation or dedicatory verses. Afterwards, no one thought to interview his surviving relatives. Records left by his friends and collaborators are frustratingly opaque, but then we are dealing with the greatest riddlers, wits and punsters of the age, or of any age. Ben Jonson wrote a fulsome elegy for the First Folio, unhesitatingly attributing the plays to the Man from Stratford (here called Shakspere), but even this is full of ambiguities. "Thou Starre of poets", Jonson called him, but Poet + aster (Greek for star) = Poetaster. Other oddities outlined, if not resoved, in this hugely entertaining and non-committal survey include: the status of the "birthplace" (the Trust was once sued under the Trades Description Act); the Stratford cult ("a pious fraud"); the clues in the plays (was Shaggers a lawyer, a seaman or a soldier?); the other candiates - Oxford, Marlowe, Bacon, Queen Elizabeth I, ad infinitum; and whether the Droeshout portrait in the First Folio shows two left arms and a mask. So do the Stratfordians have a case to answer? Undoubtedly. There's something here to amuse, infuriate and perplex even the most devout Bardolater.

Television: Film of the day

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII 2.15pm C4

BOOK REVIEW / Too much cloak, not enough dagger

Andrew Lownie find fault with an espionage anthology; The Oxford Book of Spy Stories, edited by Michael Cox, OUP pounds 17.99

Anniversaries: 16th & 17th December

Anniversaries

DYNASTIES QUIZ : ANSWERS & WINNERS

ANSWERS

BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS CHAPTER & VERSE

BOOKS FOR CHRISTMASCHAPTER & VERSE2 Pamela Norris's beautifully produced Through the Glass Window Shines the Sun (Little, Brown pounds 13.99) brings together verse and painting from the Middle Ages. Illustrations from illuminated manuscripts accompany texts culled from Boccaccio, Chaucer, Malory and Anon: "Green groweth the Holly" is Henry VIII's charming contribution - a paean to fidelity, the hypocritical old so-and-so.

Changing times, changing values

HISTORY

The case of the man in the cap

RESTORATION; The Tate Gallery recently put this little-known portrait by John Bettes under the microscope. What they discovered will change our view of the Tudor world forever. Iain Gale investigates

MONSIEUR AMILCAR

THE PLAY

Anniversaries: 7th SEPTEMBER

Anniversaries

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