The Historians Magazine X All Things Tudor

I’m thrilled to announce that The Historians Magazine has invited All Things Tudor to do a Special Edition Tudor history theme for their Edition 7, which will be published in Spring of 2022.

Submissions are now open!

According to the Founder, Rosie Maggs “As you can guess we’re looking for all Tudor history for this edition, and we can’t wait to see your ideas for this one.”

Submissions are open so submit an idea- although submissions will be open for a while the earlier you get your ideas in the better!

Submit your idea here.

About the magazine

​​​​​​​According to their website: The Historians magazine was founded by Rosie as a magazine for historians, by historians.​ We take article submissions from anyone who has a passion for history and love the diverse stories we feature in our magazine. ​ The Historians magazine is published online 6 times a year.  ​If you are interested in getting involved with the magazine then keep an eye out for opportunities and article submissions on our ‘Get Involved’ page.

Find out more here.

I look forward to working with Rosie and the team. This is a great idea and the All Things Tudor group is thrilled to be a part of this.

Join the All Things Tudor FB group here.

Images courtesy of The Historians magazine and All Things Tudor

All Things Tudor: The Book Club

All Things Tudor is pleased to announce our new Book Club!

The first book for our book club is Medical Downfall Of The Tudors: Sex, Reproduction & Succession by Sylvia Barbara Soberton. It is available in multiple formats from multiple sellers.

Discussion will open on the fourth Friday of January which is January 28th, 2022 with the chats organized by Eileen Kontrovitz who will be assisted by Marie Blackburn. Eileen will be postings questions for readers in the All Things Tudor Facebook group, including book suggestions, frequency, dates of discussion openings and closings. The plan is to alternate between nonfiction and fiction.

Please take time to think about books that you have read or books that you want to read. Before you suggest a book check to see if it is still in print and available. Eileen is excited to be leading this book club and we all look forward meeting you all.


Tell Them Of Battles, Kings, and Elephants

GUEST REVIEW by Terence Hawkins



Despite its slender elegance, this book is more than equal to the enormous themes it takes up: east and west; labor and talent; male and female.  Its point of departure is an invitation in 1506 from Sultan Bayezid II to Michelangelo to design a bridge to span the Golden Horn in Constantinople.  Michaelangelo never accepted the commission or visited the city.  This novel imagines that he did.

The city had fallen to the Turks only fifty years before.  It’s divided by the Golden Horn, an inlet of the Bosphorus, whose banks constituted the end of Europe and the beginning of Asia. Bayezid  was eager to have his bridge designed by the best Italy had to offer.  First he offered the commission to Leonardo—whom Michelangelo describes as “that oaf who scorns sculpture.”  Da Vinci went so far as to build a model of his proposal.  The Sultan rejected it as impractical.  (It was ultimately built on a smaller scale in Norway in 2001.)  His offer to Michelangelo is sweetened by the observation that it will provide an opportunity to succeed where his older rival failed.

Powerful as his jealously may be, what drives Michelangelo to accept the job is that bane of all creatives, Renaissance and modern: money.  Pope Julius II, his patron and chief client, refused to pay him. Furious, he takes ship without papal permission and arrives in a Constantinople that overwhelms him with its beauty and sensuality.  And Michelangelo has neither.  His skin is leathery, his hands scarred; his muscles are those of a laborer.  He smells bad, “as bad as a barbarian or a slave from the north.”  But despite all this, Mesihi, a poet and secretary in the entourage of the Grand Vizier who has been assigned to Michelangelo as a guide to the city, develops a full-blown crush on him.

In his early days among the Ottomans Michelangelo demonstrates a formidable work ethic.  He draws constantly in a notebook.  Talent is nothing without labor.  Elard envisions that images from Constaninople will find their way into Michalangelo’s subsequent work, that Mesihi will appear as Adam on the Sistine Chapel dome.  There is destruction as well.  Newly installed in a studio on the palace grounds, Michelangelo is shown Leonardo’s model bridge.  He smashes it to pieces.

Mesihi takes Michelangelo to a party at which an dancer from Andalusia is performing.  Just eighteen years before, the province had fallen to the King of Spain, marking the end of Muslim Spain.  The dancer is entirely androgynous, and the Florentine is entirely smitten, regardless of gender.   “If it’s a woman’s body, it’s perfect; if it’s a man’s body, Michelangelo would pay dearly to see the muscles of his thighs and calves stand out. . . .”   Elard manages to conceal the dancer’s sex even while undressing at a second meeting that Mesihi has contrived.  Finally we learn she is a woman, and that Michelangelo rejects her.  During a long night’s pillow talk reported at intervals through the book, she recounts the subjugation or dispersal of her people at Christian hands and whispers the phrase that gives the book its title: “You conquer people by telling them of battles, kings, elephants, and marvellous beings.”

Michelangelo soon learns that the Sultan is no more generous a master than the Pope and will not pay him until the work is far along.  Threats of excommunication or worse reach him from Italy.  Ultimately his departure from Constantinople is hastened by an incident in which Mesihi and the dancer are both involved.  To describe its nature and effect would be far too much of a spoiler.  

We know next to nothing of Michelangelo’s sexuality. It seems only to have been expressed in sonnets and madrigals addressed to a single, much younger man, late in the artist’s life.  Otherwise he appears to have been entirely chaste, disdaining love as much as food and drink, in which he indulged only out of necessity. Enard paints an artist entirely enslaved to his work, driven exclusively by the needs to get it done and get paid for doing it, drawn to the Andalusian not as an object of desire—he rejects her physically, after all– but an object of beauty.  Enard compares his reaction to the dancer with his first glimpse of Hagia Sophia, the great Byzantine cathedral recently converted into a mosque: “Every time he touches beauty, or approaches it, the artist shivers with happiness and suffering intermingled. . .”

The book is eloquently translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell.  At just over a hundred pages, it packs a wallop wholly disproportionate to its length.  Do yourself a favor and read it.

Purchase here

This is Terry’s fave pic of himself. You’ll have to ask him why – it’s a great story!

Terence Hawkins

Ideas drive all of Terence Hawkins’ work. His latest book, The Rage of Achilles, is an extensively revised and re-imagined edition of his first novel. In it, Homer’s epic heroes are no more glorious than the tired, scared grunts they command. Informed by Julian Jaynes’ theory of the bicameral mind, its gods are only the hallucinations of men and women desperate for direction in the collapsing society of the late Bronze Age. Hawkins’ realistic account of Homeric warfare has been described as “visceral,” and his prose “elegant and terse.”

In a Best Book of 2020 review, Kirkus called Hawkins’ short story collection Turing’s Graveyard “extraordinary stories that will make readers laugh, shiver, or perhaps both.” Booklist described it as “a beautiful reading experience” and compared it to the Twilight Zone.

In naming his second novel, American Neolithic, a Year’s Best, Kirkus described it as “a towering work of speculative fiction.” Its revised edition was compared to Orwell’s 1984 in Midwest Book Review.

Hawkins was the founding Director of the Yale Writers’ Conference, which he managed and developed from 2011 to 2015. In 2014, he started the Company of Writers, offering workshops and manuscript services to writers at all levels of experience. The Company has hosted seminars with Amy Bloom and Colum McCann, as well as a program on the intersection of literary and genre fiction with John Crowley and Louis Bayard.

Hawkins grew up in a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania. His home county was the site of the original “Night of the Living Dead.” His grandfathers and several uncles were coal miners. He graduated from Yale, where he was publisher of the Yale Daily News. He lives in Connecticut.

The Royal Tudor Project

A few months ago Dr Carol Matthews and I created a poll in the All Things Tudor group on Facebook asking members for ideas regarding an online course.

Four topics were clear winners so we’ve decided to create four short courses on:

Lady Jane Grey

Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary I

Elizabeth I

I’m very excited to announce that we are now ready to begin the courses in association with All Things Tudor. Each class has limited space and we’re looking for a small group of Tudor history lovers.

Dr Carol Matthews is an academic British historian now teaching online. She is accustomed to to teaching university students via online courses. Deb Hunter, an American, is a USA Today bestselling author and historian who is repped by Past Preservers Casting. She has a B.A. in British and American History with an emphasis on the English Renaissance and Reformation.

This project is only for those who love the Tudor period.

The Royal Tudor Project is a series of four workshops (one on each of the most popular topics), a weekly group Zoom call and an exclusive FB community created specifically for the The Royal Tudor Project. In return for your time and feedback you get the chance to work closely with two qualified historians, a gorgeous thank you gift, and all four courses.

The Project begins on Monday 29th November but we want to offer it exclusively to All Things Tudor members and followers first. The price below is only available until the 19th November. After that we will be offering it to the public at $197. The value of each course is $30 so all four will cost $120. Order courses only here. The special offer for Royal Tudor Project costs you $147 – that’s a difference of less than a single course! There is limited availability. We are deliberately keeping this to a very small, exclusive group because we genuinely want to work closely with the participants.

Purchase a gift certificate as the perfect gift for yourself or someone you know who loves Tudor history.

You can sign up with this link – once the spots are filled there will be no further access to the project .

Sign up here for The Royal Tudor Project:

Order the four Queen only courses here

Join the All Things Tudor Facebook group here!

Anna of Cleves with Heather Dairsie on Clubhouse

Heather Darsie works as an attorney in the US. Along with her Juris Doctorate she has a BA in German. She is currently studying for her Master’s in Early Modern History through Northern Illinois University. She runs the website Heather has been researching the Von der Mark (Cleves) Dynasty for roughly ten years.

Using German sources for her first book, Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s Beloved Sister (Amberley 2019) looked into the political reasons for Anna’s marriage and swift annulment with Henry VIII of England.

Her second book, Children of the House of Cleves: Anna and Her Siblings (Amberley 2022) looks at the lives of Anna’s sisters and brother, and the impact the Von der Mark Dynasty had during the 16th century.

You can find Heather on Twitter under @HRDarsieHistory, Instagram under @HDarsieHistory, and on Facebook under, “Heather R Darsie, Historian”. She is most active on Twitter and Instagram. You can also visit Heather’s website and connect with her there:

About Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s Beloved Sister:

Anna was the ‘last woman standing’ of Henry VIII’s wives ‒ and the only one buried in Westminster Abbey. How did she manage it?

Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’ looks at Anna from a new perspective, as a woman from the Holy Roman Empire and not as a woman living almost by accident in England. Starting with what Anna’s life as a child and young woman was like, the author describes the climate of the Cleves court, and the achievements of Anna’s siblings. It looks at the political issues on the Continent that transformed Anna’s native land of Cleves ‒ notably the court of Anna’s brother-in-law, and its influence on Lutheranism ‒ and Anna’s blighted marriage. Finally, Heather Darsie explores ways in which Anna influenced her step-daughters Elizabeth and Mary, and the evidence of their good relationships with her.

Was the Duchess Anna in fact a political refugee, supported by Henry VIII? Was she a role model for Elizabeth I? Why was the marriage doomed from the outset? By returning to the primary sources and visiting archives and museums all over Europe (the author is fluent in German, and proficient in French and Spanish) a very different figure emerges to the ‘Flanders Mare’.



Author Charles Spencer and The White Ship

Charles Spencer

9th Earl Spencer 

Charles Spencer was born in 1964, and is an author, public speaker, broadcaster and journalist. He is also the 9th Earl Spencer. 

Charles Spencer is the author of seven non-fiction books, including three Sunday Times bestsellers: Blenheim, Battle for Europe, which was shortlisted for Historical Book of the Year at the 2005 National Book Awards; Killers of the King – which was the second highest selling History book in the UK in 2014; and The White Ship, published in 2020, which was also the No. 1 bestselling book on Amazon. 

He has been the keynote speaker at hundreds of events in the UK, India, USA, South Africa, France, Australia, Canada, Spain, Portugal and New Zealand. 

As a broadcaster, Charles Spencer worked for NBC News as an on-air correspondent from  1986 to 1995, primarily for the TODAY Show, but also for Sunday TODAY, NBC Nightly  News and NBC Super Channel – where he wrote and presented the 12-part documentary  series, Great Houses of the World

He has been a reporter for Granada Television, has presented for the History Channel,  and has appeared on many occasions as an expert on the BBC

As a print journalist he has written in the UK for The Guardian, The Independent on  Sunday, The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, and others. In the United States he  has written for Vanity Fair, Veranda, and Nest magazines. 

In business, he helped establish Althorp Living History, a handmade, fine furniture line  faithfully reproducing pieces from the collection at Althorp. 

In charitable and humanitarian affairs, he served as a Trustee of Nelson Mandela’s  Children’s Fund from 1998-2005. He is Patron of the Friends of Cynthia Spencer Hospice,  the Brain Tumour Trust, and Thomas’s Fund, in England. He is on the board of Whole  Child International in the USA. 

Charles Spencer was educated at Eton, and at Oxford University, where he earned his MA in Modern History. 

He served as a Page of Honour to HM the Queen in the 1970s and has been one of her  Deputy Lieutenants for Northamptonshire since 2005. 

He has seven children and two stepchildren, and is the brother of the late Diana, Princess  of Wales.

Join us on October 19th at 12noon Eastern time on Clubhouse where he’ll discuss his latest history book, The White Ship with Deb Hunter.

The King At The Edge Of The World


Arthur Phillips, Random House, 2020

Guest post by writer extraordinaire, Terence Hawkins

Arthur Phillips is an exceptionally sly writer.  His celebrated debut novel, Prague, is set in Budapest.  The joke is that all its characters, late-eighties expats, long to get out of Hungary and to the Czech capital, where the post-Soviet good times roll.

Though the same whimsy colors aspects of his latest book, The King at the Edge of the World, its tone and subject are darker.  It opens in 1591.  A Turkish doctor, the sweet-tempered and essentially innocent Mahmoud Ezzedine, has been tricked into joining an Ottoman embassy to London by a court functionary with designs on his wife.  After he saves an English courtier from a seizure in Elizabeth’s presence, he is given to the Queen as a present when the embassy departs, leaving him the only Muslim in Britain.    Miserable years at court are followed by even deeper agony in the wilds of Cumberland, where he has been assigned as physician-in-residence to the epileptic noble.  ButEa things get shockingly worse.  In 1601 he is recalled from exile by Sir Robert Cecil’s espionage service.   It tasks him  with resolving the question critical to the inheritance of the childless and dying Elizabeth’s throne: Is James VI of Scotland a true Protestant or a closet Catholic?  If the latter, he cannot be permitted to succeed her.

Thus poor Mahmoud finds himself in Edinburgh, the only place on Earth more dismal for him than Northern England.  Eager to finish his mission and cash in the return to Constantinople Cecil has dangled, he hits on a stratagem: only on his deathbed will a man tell the truth about his soul.  How he gets James to his, and plucks him back, would be telling too much.  Let’s just say that the Scots King’s regrettable hygiene is involved. But the resolution is far more clever than Prague’s switcheroo.

On the way to it, Phillips convincingly portrays England’s true place in the world of 1600: pretty much nowhere.  Mahmoud longs for the warmth and vibrancy of Constantinople, its colors brighter and smells sweeter than the “diseased air and gruesome streets” of Elizabethan London.  He finds the courtiers effeminate and asks whether they are eunuchs.  Most powerfully conveyed is a sense of the island’s insignificance; the Ottomans are the powerhouse of the Mediterranean, who would less than a hundred years later reach Vienna, while England was the last stop before a boundless freezing ocean.  There are, of course, bright spots—Mahmoud’s friendship with Tudor magus John Dee, for example—but by and large the image is of Britain as a backward place.

The plot is tight and the prose lush without excesses.  Read this for a view of Elizabeth’s England through very different eyes.

Purchase here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Dan Snow and History

Dan Snow, the U.K.’s History Guy will make his debut Clubhouse appearance in an interview with US historian Deb Hunter (me) on September 7th at 3pm Eastern time/20:00 UK time.

Dan Snow is history’s rockstar. He is a BAFTA award-winning broadcaster, chart-topping podcast presenter, and Sunday Times bestselling author. He is the founder of the History Hit podcast, and co-founder of History Hit TV-a new type of history channel-with an extensive library of programs-like Netflix for real history fans. You can find Dan on Twitter: @thehistoryguy

Deb Hunter is a USA Today bestselling author and historian who is repped by Past Preservers Casting based in London, Cairo & NYC. Her Tudor history group, All Things Tudor, is a social media phenomenon with over 18,000 Facebook members. Join here:

Clubhouse is a new type of audio-only social network based on voice—where people around the world come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time. 

This will be an interactive Best of Clubhouse event, so get your questions ready for Dan. Mark your calendar! September 7th at 3:00pm/20:00 UK time when you can join in the chat for free from anywhere in the world from your phone or Mac. 

You can access the event here: 

The Queen’s Spy

March 1584

As they stood up Tom could see a terrible incident being played out before the court. The key player, a man who unlike the courtiers was wearing plain garb in dark fustian and worsted fabrics, had been thrown face down on the floor. Whatever was being said to him was lost on Tom but he could tell by the Queen’s wild gestures, her hands balled into fists and her eyes flashing whilst she spoke through gritted teeth, that she was terrifyingly angry. The man had his head in his hands, congealed blood where his fingernails used to be and Tom could see his swollen face was bloodied and bruised. One of the guards hauled him to his feet and held him there as the man wobbled about as if his legs would give way. Tom felt his gut quiver in fright and for once he was relieved he couldn’t hear the screaming he imagined was happening, if the wincing from the other people around the room was anything to go by.

Finally, the Queen pointed to a door hidden in one corner of the room where the panelling had opened up to reveal a stone staircase beyond and the man was hauled off by his feet, his head dragging across the floor as if he were already a corpse. Tom caught a glimpse of the man being pulled away and down the stairs, the back of his head bouncing off every step as he disappeared from view. Hot acid bile clawed at the back of Tom’s throat. What on earth was he doing here? As he and Hugh were ushered forward it took everything he had not to vomit. As he knelt again, he could see specks of blood in front of him on the floor.

He turned his attention to the Queen. She was talking to Hugh but he caught the gist of what she was saying from the occasional word. Her mood seemed to have switched in an instant – all thoughts of the poor wretch dragged away just seconds earlier gone – as she exclaimed her delight for the vanilla flavouring which she’d never tasted before and insisted the two apothecaries sought out more. She got to her feet and turned towards Tom, her small dark eyes burning into his as if she could read everything tumbling through his mind; his thoughts and his fears laid bare before this diminutive woman who was the most powerful female in the world. His legs began to shake, her supremacy and confidence rolling from her in waves. Now they were closer he could see the pale face paint she wore was disguising a harsh pockmarked complexion and together with her hooked nose she was less attractive than the portrait he’d admired as he followed Hugh along the corridor a few minutes previously. 

‘I am told by my apothecary that you are responsible for bringing this new spice, vanilla, to my court.’ Tom had to watch her thin-lipped mouth carefully as she spoke. Thankfully she seemed to consider each word for a moment before she said it and he had little trouble understanding her. He bowed again from his waist, before standing up so he could watch her face once again. ‘And you can neither hear nor speak and yet understand what those around you say?’ Tom nodded, wondering what she was thinking and if his time at the palace was about to come to an end. He watched as she made her way back to her throne behind her, the weight of her gown almost swamping her tiny frame and preventing her from moving. 

Once she was perched on her throne and her skirts carefully arranged around her by a young girl with blond hair, dressed in a lovat green dress with simple ribbon decoration who’d spent the entire time stood silently to one side, the Queen addressed him once more. 
‘You intrigue me, Tom Lutton. You cannot hear and yet you are able to understand everything that I say. I have never come across someone like you before and I wonder if you may be of use to others at my court. And not just because you make a delicious bedtime drink.’ She looked over to Hugh. ‘You are both dismissed,’ she told him, before turning her attention to Tom and adding, ‘for the present.’

The Queen’s Spy 

By Clare Marchant


1584: Elizabeth I rules England. But a dangerous plot is brewing in court, and Mary Queen of Scots will stop at nothing to take her cousin’s throne.

There’s only one thing standing in her way: Tom, the queen’s trusted apothecary, who makes the perfect silent spy…

2021: Travelling the globe in her campervan, Mathilde has never belonged anywhere. So when she receives news of an inheritance, she is shocked to discover she has a family in England.

Just like Mathilde, the medieval hall she inherits conceals secrets, and she quickly makes a haunting discovery. Can she unravel the truth about what happened there all those years ago? And will she finally find a place to call home?

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Barnes and Noble





Author Bio:

Clare Marchant

Growing up in Surrey, Clare always dreamed of being a writer. Instead, she followed a career in IT, before moving to Norfolk for a quieter life and re-training as a jeweller.

Now writing full time, she lives with her husband and the youngest two of her six children. Weekends are spent exploring local castles and monastic ruins, or visiting the nearby coast.

Social Media Links:




Amazon Author Page