Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey (Queen Jane) and Mary, Queen of Scots have all left an indelible mark on England's history and our imaginations. They still fascinate us well over 400 years after their awful fates.
Celebrate their lives and find out how these women came to their tragic ends from our five expert speakers.
Learn about these executed queens in this 10-day, interactive, online event through video talks, Zoom Q&A sessions and Zoom discussions. And don't worry if you can't make it live, everything will be recorded and you'll have lifetime access.
Hosted by me, historian and author Claire Ridgway, this completely online event will feature talks and zoom calls with me and four other historians over ten days.
If you don’t know me, I'm the author of fourteen history books, including On This Day in Tudor History, and the founder of the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society sites. I've always enjoyed connecting Tudor history lovers with experts and I became even more passionate about this during the recent worldwide pandemic. People couldn't travel to see historians and authors speak, they couldn't participate in physical events, and some people just don't have the opportunity to do so anyway. I had experience of bringing Tudor history to people online so I decided to create online Tudor history events where people could learn about their favourite era and characters without leaving home, talk Tudor to their heart's content with other like-minded people (not people whose eyes glaze over!), share their views and “grill” reputable historians in real time. It's important to me that I choose experts who are interesting to listen to, who really know their stuff, and who are truly passionate about their subjects and enjoy sharing this passion with others.
I've been overwhelmed by the response to my previous seven events, with many people signing up time after time! I invite you to join us for Executed Queens!
- Friday 9 February – Informal zoom chat - Claire kicks off our Executed Queens event with an informal "get to know you" zoom chat at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
- Saturday 10 February – Talk on Anne Boleyn, a Renaissance woman by Claire Ridgway - When Anne Boleyn made her debut at the English court in 1522, she was very different to her contemporaries, she had a certain "je ne sais quoi". Find out why she was different and what it was that attracted the likes of Henry Percy, Thomas Wyatt and King Henry VIII.
Q&A and discussion via Zoom on The Executed Queens in fiction and on TV with Claire at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
- Sunday 11 February – Talk on The "From The Lady in the Tower" letter - Amanda Glover shares her research and thoughts on the letter said to have been written by Queen Anne Boleyn from the Tower of London in May 1536.
Q&A and discussion via Zoom on Anne Boleyn with Claire at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
- Monday 12 February – Talk on Catherine Howard: An Obscured Queen by Gareth Russell - So much myth has developed around Catherine Howard, with her being labelled either a tragic victim or a woman who messed around and may just have deserved her fate, but who was the real Catherine?
Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Amanda Glover on the Tower letter at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
- Tuesday 13 February – Talk on The Falls of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard by Claire Ridgway - These cousin queens were both married to King Henry VIII and both fell dramatically from queen to traitor, but their falls were very different. Claire Ridgway examines the investigations into these two queens.
Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Gareth Russell on Catherine Howard at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
- Wednesday 14 February – Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey by Dr Nicola Tallis - Jane is remembered as one of history's most tragic victims, but this is only half the story. Dr Nicola Tallis reveals the human and emotional story of this young woman who saw herself as an advocate of Protestantism, and ultimately became a martyr for her faith.
Q&A and disucssion via Zoom with Claire Ridgway on the falls of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
- Thursday 15 February - Comparing Queens: Jane and Mary by Dr Johanna Strong - Johanna will look at Jane's time as Queen (and the following months) from Mary I's perspective and will examine some of the contemporary comparisons of Mary and Jane.
Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Dr Nicola Tallis on Lady Jane Grey at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
- Friday 16 February - The Childhood of Mary, Queen of Scots by Dr Linda Porter - Linda will examine both Mary's Scottish background and her French upbringing and consider how these influenced her life.
Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Dr Johanna Strong on Mary I and Lady Jane Grey at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
- Saturday 17 February - The man behind the fall of Mary, Queen of Scots by Claire Ridgway - Claire explores the role of Elizabeth I's chief advisor, William Cecil, Baron Burghley, in the fall of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Dr Linda Porter at 8pm UK time / 3pm New York time.
- Sunday 18 February - Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Claire Ridgway on William Cecil and Mary, Queen of Scots.
You also get Four bonus zoom chats
Between December and the event, there will be four informal Zoom chats for all registered attendees. This will give participants the chance to get to know each other and talk Tudor:
- Sunday 10 December - Discussion on Anne Boleyn at 10pm UK time / 5pm New York time.
- Sunday 17 December - Discussion on Catherine Howard at 10pm UK time / 5pm New York time.
- Saturday 13 January - Discussion on Lady Jane Grey at 10pm UK time / 5pm New York time.
- Sunday 28 January - Discussion on Mary, Queen of Scots at 10pm UK time / 5pm New York time.
Meet our Experts
Claire will be doing two talks. The first will look at how Anne's years on the Continent shaped her and made her a true Renaissance woman, a woman who stood out among her contemporaries at the English court. What was it about Anne that captured the hearts of two courtiers and even a King of England? Why was Henry VIII so obsessed with her that he broke with his beloved Church of Rome to have her? And did this have any bearing on her subsequent fall in 1536?
In her second talk, Claire will explore the role of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, in the imprisonment and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. Burghley, as Elizabeth I's chief advisor, had a huge influence over the English queen and the fate of Mary, but what exactly did he do and why?
Claire Ridgway is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the best-selling author of 14 history books, including "The Boleyns of Hever Castle" (co-written with Dr Owen Emmerson), "The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown", "George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat" (co-written with Clare Cherry, "The Anne Boleyn Collection" and its two sequels, "On This Day in Tudor History", and "On This Day in Tudor History II".
Claire is also the founder of The Anne Boleyn Files and Elizabeth Files blogs, The Tudor Society, and the popular Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube Channel. She contributed to the BBC docudrama "The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family", has written for BBC History Extra and All About History Magazine, and been featured on a number of podcasts and radio stations internationally.
Amanda will be speaking on her discovery about the letter that Anne Boleyn is said to have written to Henry VIII while she was imprisoned in the Tower of London, just days before her execution. Historians being divided as to its authenticity, she will provide the rationale behind her completely new approach to the question, and she will explain her research and her findings, which establish beyond reasonable doubt whether the famous letter kept at the British Library was indeed written by Anne.
Amanda Glover graduated from Durham University with a BSc. in the 1970s. She went on to qualify as a solicitor and spent the next 37 years in private practice.
She has always had a great love of history, and since her retirement she has been able to immerse herself in the lives of the Tudors, turning her legal skills to good use in researching and writing. The Tudor Society recently published her article entitled “Catherine of Aragon -
the case for non-consummation”, and she is now writing her first book, on Queen Elizabeth I and has another two Tudor books planned.
Gareth will be talking to us on Catherine Howard. Her time as queen was tragically short and, in the years since, she has been buried beneath layers of judgement on one hand and understandable sympathy. Both have helped obscure Catherine’s personality, her strengths, and her potential by focusing on how her story ended. It is, however, possible to let the real Catherine stand back beneath the spotlight that was taken from her in 1542.
Gareth Russell is the best-selling author of the new history The Palace, about Hampton Court, as well as several books, including biographies Young and Damned and Fair, about Queen Catherine Howard, and Do Let’s Have Another Drink, about Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Educated at Oxford, he splits his time between Belfast and London, where he is a broadcaster and royal commentator. He is the host of the podcast, Single Malt History.
Dr Nicola Tallis
Nicola will be talking to us about Lady Jane Grey. Most people recognize her name, and many think that they know her story: Lady Jane Grey, a young girl who was cruelly abused by her parents, manipulated in the complex world of sixteenth-century politics, and executed at the age of seventeen. Thus, Jane is remembered as one of history’s most tragic victims. Parts of this are irrefutably true, and there is no doubt that she was indeed a victim. But this is, in fact,
only half the story. Jane was a young woman of remarkable intellect, passion, determination, and courage. Dr Nicola Tallis reveals the human and emotional story that has thus far been ignored, revealing a young woman who saw herself as an advocate of Protestantism, and ultimately became a martyr for her faith.
Dr Nicola Tallis has a first class BA (Hons) in History from Bath Spa University, and an MA in Public History from Royal Holloway College, University of London. She received her doctorate in 2019 from the University of Winchester, and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Nicola has been passionate about English history all of her life, and has worked as a curator, lecturer, and historical researcher. She is the author of five books: Crown of Blood (2016), Elizabeth’s Rival (2017), Uncrowned Queen (2019), All the Queen’s Jewels (2022), and the forthcoming Young Elizabeth (2023).
Dr Johanna Strong
Johanna will be talking to us about Lady Jane Grey and Mary I.
Mary I (r. 1553-1558) is often referred to as the first queen regnant of England, but it can be convincingly argued that she is the second, if not the third, following in Matilda (r.February-November 1141) and Jane's (r. July 1553) paths. At her accession to the throne, throughout her reign, and even after her death authors compared Mary to Jane, often at Mary’s expense. Most praised Jane’s youth, innocence, marital status, and Protestantism, consequently making Mary a villain in the dominant English historical narrative. This talk will look at Jane’s time as Queen (and the following months) from Mary’s perspective and will examine some of the contemporary comparisons of Mary and Jane.
Dr Johanna Strong completed her PhD at the University of Winchester researching the creation of Mary I’s legacy and how this legacy was perpetuated through to the period of the English Republic. Her research has been featured on a variety of platforms including podcast episodes, the Team Queens blog, Tudors Dynasty, a video series for Winchester Cathedral, and she has previously spoken for the Tudor Society. Her first chapter was published in early 2022 in Valerie Schutte and Jessica S. Hower’s Writing Mary I: History, Historiography, and Fiction. She is currently co-editing a Royal Studies Journal cluster with Amy Saunders. If you’d like to follow Johanna’s research, she can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and her website.
Dr Linda Porter
Linda will be talking to us about Mary, Queen of Scots.
Mary Queen of Scots is one of the most famous figures of the 16th century but her early time in Scotland, during a period of constant warfare with England, is not well-known and her formative years, at the opulent but jealousy-ridden French court, are often passed over as a
mere introduction to the drama which follows. Linda's talk will examine both Mary’s Scottish background and her French upbringing and consider how these influenced her life.
Dr Linda Porter is a historian, author and broadcaster who has written five books about the Tudors and Stuarts. Her forthcoming biography of Margaret Tudor, one of the most overlooked and misunderstood members of this notorious dynasty (and the grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots) will be published in June 2024 by HoZ Books.
- 10 days of talks and Q&A sessions.
- Membership of our private Facebook group where you can interact with Claire and other event participants.
- Transcripts of all the talks for you to enjoy.
- Recommended reading and resources list.
- Lifetime access to recordings and transcripts.
- Regular Zoom call discussions leading up to the event so that you can get to know other event participants and enjoy discussing history.
By the end of this event, you'll have a fresh understanding of these four women's lives and what brought them to their brutal ends.
(approximately £157.90, AUD 302.40, €181.70)
First and foremost, I wanted to send out a huge thank you to you and to Tim for putting this event together. It has been an absolute delight and I am so glad that I was able to be a part of it. I have learned so much about Anne that I didn't know before and, while I've been a "fan" of hers for over a decade, this conference has brought her into a new light for me.