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.
King Henry VIII
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Sunday 12 August 2012
All my novels are essentially about falling in love and getting a house Well, that's what my husband told me a few years ago. It sounds like a very material view of the world but the house symbolises so much of where our fortunes are sited. For me, growing up, I always wanted a safe home, which was hard for my mother to provide after she was widowed and left with two children to raise on her own.
Saturday 11 August 2012
Most people dread funerals – but next month you can attend a Queen Katherine Parr funeral re-enactment at Sudeley Castle for £45.
Sunday 20 May 2012
The sequel to 'Wolf Hall' is a striking account of one of English history's most shocking episodes. But it can be hard to navigate such austere prose
Friday 20 April 2012
We're more used to hearing folk ballads sung with a finger in the ear these days, but there's a possibility that their origins were more akin to the demure, precisely enunciated delivery adopted by Lesley Garrett on this collection.
Monday 16 April 2012
Behind the innuendo, Hampton Court Palace's new exhibition offers a fascinating insight into King Charles II's love of the female form, writes Adrian Hamilton
Saturday 14 April 2012
Latest play in series, written for Edinburgh, is tailored to win applause north of the border
Friday 10 February 2012
Joely Richardson is a scion of England's grandest theatrical family, with a glittering career to match. But recent years have brought the deaths of the actress's sister, uncle and aunt. Arifa Akbar finds her in a pensive mood on the eve of her return to the London stage.
Friday 03 February 2012
National Gallery, London
Saturday 14 January 2012
Unfairly maligned as one-dimensional by some, Saracens' South African-born No 12 may actually provide an answer to England's long-standing problem position
Sunday 08 January 2012
The historian Niall Ferguson once complained that schoolchildren are taught only about Henry VIII and the world wars. Yes, but let's face it, these are the blockbusters of British history.
Sunday 11 December 2011
Saturday 19 November 2011
The BBC is planning a television mini-series adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Booker-winning novel Wolf Hall.
Tuesday 19 July 2011
Tuesday 19 July 2011
"I will be a new Queen for a new England," cries Spooks star Miranda Raison as King Hal's spooky spouse Anne Boleyn, with her head tucked underneath her arm; you just wonder, on the evidence of this spirited and enchanting portrait, how great she might have been, outshining even her own daughter, Elizabeth I.
Friday 20 May 2011
When I first began to read poetry seriously at school, "practical criticism" still held sway. This approach promoted the idea of an unmediated dialogue between the reader and the text – a sort of naked encounter session, free from the deceiving clothes of context. And it so happened that one of the poems stripped from its history that I enjoyed most delivered the electrifying delight of déshabillé. A masterpiece of petulant erotic longing (hence, perhaps, its allure for teenage readers), this lyric by Sir Thomas Wyatt begins "They flee from me that sometime did me seek". It goes on to recall a rejected lover's tryst with a fickle lady who "When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall/ And she caught me in her arms long and small/ Therewithal sweetly did me kiss,/ And softly said, 'Dear heart, how like you this?'"
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