The Men Behind the Throne – Tudor Statesmen

The Men Behind the Throne - Tudor Statesmen

Join me, historian and best-selling author Claire Ridgway, and five other Tudor experts for an exhilarating eleven-day online event that delves into the captivating lives of the Tudor statesmen who shaped England's history alongside iconic rulers like Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.

Explore the untold stories of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Sir Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Edward Seymour, John Dudley, William Cecil, Robert Cecil, and Sir Francis Walsingham through detailed talks from Tudor experts. Uncover the power, intrigue, and pivotal roles of these men behind the scenes of Tudor governance.

Experience history like never before by direct engagement with historians through live Q&A sessions via Zoom. Get exclusive lifetime access to talks, session recordings, and valuable resources from the comfort of your home. All presentations feature closed captions and downloadable transcripts for an immersive and accessible experience.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to unravel the mysteries of Tudor England and discover the remarkable figures who shaped an era. Secure your spot now for an unforgettable journey through Tudor history!

Place: Online, here on a private part of this website, and via Zoom. Join in from the comfort of your own home.
Dates: 30 June - 10 July 2024.
Price: $149 if you register before 31 May (full price $179).

Uncover the hidden histories of
8 influential statesmen

Step into the world of Tudor intrigue and power with my immersive eleven-day online event, "The Men Behind the Throne." Join us as we uncover the hidden histories of the influential Tudor statesmen who shaped the course of England's monarchy, from Henry VII to Elizabeth I.

Throughout this interactive event, our expert historians will guide you through the lives and legacies of key figures such as Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Sir Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Edward Seymour, John Dudley, William Cecil, Robert Cecil, and Sir Francis Walsingham. Discover the untold stories of ambition, loyalty, and betrayal that defined Tudor politics and governance.

Delve deep into the pivotal moments of Tudor history, from Henry VII's consolidation of power, through Henry VIII, Edward I, Mary I and on to Elizabeth I's golden age. Gain exclusive insights into the roles these men played in shaping royal policy, navigating court intrigues, and influencing the destiny of England.

Our comprehensive program includes engaging talks, interactive Zoom Q&A sessions, and exclusive access to recorded content and downloadable resources. Experience history firsthand from the comfort of your home, with closed captions and transcripts provided for every session.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Tudor England and uncover the captivating stories of the men who stood behind the throne. Secure your place today for an unforgettable journey through one of history's most intriguing eras!

Hosted by me, historian and author Claire Ridgway, this completely online event will feature talks and zoom calls with me, Phil Roberts, Dr Joanne Paul, Caroline Angus, Melita Thomas and further experts (to be confirmed) over eleven days.

Event Schedule


  • Friday 17 May - 10 PM London / 5 PM New York
  • Sunday 26 May - 10 PM London / 5 PM New York
  • Sunday 9 June - 10 PM London / 5 PM New York
  • Saturday 22 June - 10 PM London / 5 PM New York


  • Sunday 30 June – Talk on Henry VII's Government - Claire kicks off our event by examining the government of the very first Tudor monarch, Henry VII. Who were the men trusted by the man who founded the Tudor Dynasty?
    "Get to know you" zoom call hosted by Claire at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Monday 1 July – Talk on Cardinal Wolsey - England's Prominent Councillor - Thomas Wolsey was England's leading Statesman, Churchman and Patron of the Arts in his service to King Henry VIII for over fourteen years. In that time, thanks to Wolsey being Henry’s Lord Chancellor and friend, his Master played a greater role in European politics than had been seen for a century or more. There were courageous initiatives in domestic government. Although the Cardinal still had to consult the king’s council, Wolsey had extraordinary diplomatic and administration skills helping him to fulfil governmental roles equivalent to a modern day Prime Minister, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and all the other positions in office. The church was also in a desperate need for reform which Wolsey initiated, and he was responsible for the influence of the Renaissance culture in England.
    Phil Roberts, author of "Cardinal Wolsey: For King and Country", explores the life and career of Thomas Wolsey.
    Q&A and discussion on "Henry VII's Government" via Zoom with Claire at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Tuesday 2 July – Talk on Thomas More: Scholar Statesman - There are few figures in English history as divisive as Thomas More; he is worshipped as a saint and reviled as a persecutor. This talk by Dr Joanne Paul – author of a forthcoming biography of More – will present new evidence about More’s upbringing, court connections and political beliefs, with the aim of re-evaluating his divided legacy. Participants will also be given a new perspective on More’s fall - his trial and execution at the hands of the king he served, Henry VIII. Was More a heroic defender of individual conscience, or a stubborn religious zealot? Or someone else entirely?
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Phil Roberts on Cardinal Thomas Wolsey at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Wednesday 3 July – Talk on Thomas Cromwell: The Creator of Modern Governance - Immersed in the intrigue-laden court of Tudor England, Thomas Cromwell, the consummate statesman, navigated the treacherous waters of power with cunning and diplomacy. Born a poor commoner, Cromwell relied on a keen intellect and an unyielding dedication to the crown. As a trusted advisor to the monarch, Cromwell skillfully reformed England’s government into the system we know worldwide today. His mastery of rhetoric, perseverance, and opportunism made him indispensable in courtly negotiations and government affairs. Yet, behind the façade of a dour administrator was a complex individual grappling with moral dilemmas and personal ambitions. But Cromwell's loyalty to the crown remained unwavering, but with no noble allies and the machinations of his rivals, he also knew his time as statesman would end in blood. Caroline Angus, author of "The Private Life of Thomas Cromwell", delves into the life and career of a man who was Henry VIII's right-hand man for several years, helping him to get his annulment, marry Anne Boleyn and then get rid of her.
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Dr Joanne Paul on Sir Thomas More at 9pm UK / 4pm New York time.
  • Thursday 4 July – Talk on Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset: A King in All but Name - Event host Claire Ridgway looks into the life and career of Edward Seymour, a man who was king in all but name when his nephew became King of England. What impact did Somerset's time as Lord Protector have on England and how did he end his life on the scaffold as a traitor?
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Caroline Angus on Thomas Cromwell at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Friday 5 July –Talk on John Dudley: Traitor Duke - Traitor’s son, warrior duke, father to a short-lived king; John Dudley’s life was almost as tumultuous as his contested legacy. In this talk, Dr Joanne Paul – author of The House of Dudley – will introduce participants to the life, career and legacy of John Dudley, from his birth under the reign of Henry VII to his traitor’s death at the command of Queen Mary I. Though remembered as the evil Duke of Northumberland, Dudley introduced administrative reforms essential to the success of the Tudor regime (and beyond) and was a dedicated servant of the state. Participants will be asked to assess evidence regarding his role in the accession of his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey (Dudley), and the viability of her short reign. How close did John Dudley come to being the father of a dynasty? And why did he fail?
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Claire on Edward Seymour at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Saturday 6 July –Talk on All the Queen's Men - Most people with any knowledge of the Tudor period will be aware of the famous statesmen of the era – Thomas Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell who were Henry VIII’s chief ministers, the dukes of Somerset and Northumberland who controlled the government of Edward VI, and William Cecil and Francis Walsingham whom Elizabeth I trusted completely. But what of Mary I’s government? Who were her ministers and advisers? Mary did not have a single minister on whom she relied for advice – even the man whom she probably trusted most, Cardinal Pole, was not a privy councillor. Instead, she used different men for different aspects of her policy. In this talk Melita will discuss some of Mary’s chief councillors and how she interacted with them to achieve her key goals of a Habsburg alliance and reconciliation with Rome. Melita Thomas, author of "The King's Pearl: Henry VIII and His Daughter Mary I", explores the men who helped England's first official queen regnant reign.
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom - General "Tudor Statesmen" chat at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Sunday 7 July - Talk on The Cecils - Claire Ridgway delves into the life of the two Cecil men who acted as key advisors to Elizabeth I: William Cecil, Baron Burghley, who acted as the driving force of Elizabeth's government for forty years, and his son, Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, who advised the queen in her twilight years.
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Dr Joanne Paul on John Dudley at 9pm UK / 4pm New York time.
  • Monday 8 July - Talk on Sir Francis Walsingham: ‘Ascribe it to love’? Why did Elizabeth put up with Sir Francis Walsingham? - Sir Francis Walsingham has gone down in history as Elizabeth I's spymaster, a man who was in charge of protecting the queen from those who sought to remove her from power. But who was this man?
    One of Elizabeth I’s most influential advisors, Sir Francis Walsingham (1532-90) is known for being outspoken, tactless, fanatically Puritanical and inclined to nag. Given this reputation, historians have often been baffled by Elizabeth’s apparent tolerance of this difficult and aggravating man, whose personality was so different from her own. This talk delves into the true nature of the relationship between Walsingham and his queen, using their letters to uncover a more nuanced picture of a solid foundation of competence, capability, and trust – and even glimpses of affection. Dr Hannah Coates delves into this fascinating man.
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Melita on Mary's I's government at TBC.
  • Tuesday 9 July - Q&A and discussion via Zoom on The Cecils at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Wednesday 10 July - Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Dr Hannah Coates on Sir Francis Walsingham at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.

Meet our Experts

Claire Ridgway

Claire RidgwayHistorian 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", "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.

Claire will be doing four talks for us and will act as host for our zoom call discussions.

Phil Roberts

Phil RobertsPhilip Roberts is a Tudor historian and has worked for the Mary Rose Trust for twenty years. He is a lecturer and has appeared frequently on BBC Radio talking about the Tudor Age and the British Royal Family. He is the Sacristan at St. Mary at the Elms Church in Ipswich and has gained a first class degree. He lives in Suffolk.
He is the author of "Cardinal Wolsey: For King and Country".

Dr Joanne Paul

Dr Joanne PaulJoanne Paul is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Sussex. A BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker, her research focuses on the intellectual and cultural history of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods. She has written for the Cambridge University Press 'Ideas in Context' series, and has been widely praised for her work on Thomas More, William Shakespeare, Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes. She is the author of "The House of Dudley" and a forthcoming book on Sir Thomas More.

Caroline Angus

Caroline AngusCaroline Angus is a New Zealand-based author. She studied history at the Universitat de Valencia, Spain, spending ten years dedicated to the Spanish Civil War and the resulting dictatorship. Caroline went on to study with King's College London, specialising in Shakespeare and British royal history. After a decade of writing fiction, including the Secrets of Spain series, focusing on the lives of Valencian interviewees between 1939 and 1975, and the more recent Queenmaker Trilogy, eleven years of Thomas Cromwell and his fictional attendant Nic la Frescobaldi, Caroline is now creating non-fiction works on the surviving papers of Thomas Cromwell. She is the author of "The Private Life of Thomas Cromwell" and "Planning the Murder of Anne Boleyn".

Melita Thomas

Melita ThomasMelita Thomas has a Master's in Historical Research from the Institute of Historical Research and is currently a doctoral candidate at University College London, working on the social and political networks of Mary I. She is the author of history books "1000 Tudor People", "The King's Pearl" and "The House of Grey", and a co-founder of and principal content writer for the popular Tudor Times website.

Dr Hannah Coates

Hannah CoatesDr Hannah Coates obtained her PhD in History from the University of Leeds. Her research focused on Sir Francis Walsingham and his central place in mid-Elizabethan politics, including his mysterious formative years, his enormous influence in Elizabethan Ireland, and the contemporary political theories and ideas that might have underpinned his conduct as a counsellor. She has published journal articles on Walsingham’s advice to Elizabeth I and on his role in Anglo-Scottish relations.

What's included

  • Four Zoom discussions leading up to the event.
  • ELEVEN DAYS of talks and zoom video Q&A sessions.
  • Membership of our private Facebook group where you can interact with Claire and others who are part of the event.
  • Transcripts - of all the chats and talks for you to enjoy.
  • Recommended reading and resources list.
  • Lifetime access to recordings and transcripts.

By the end of this event, you'll have gained a comprehensive understanding of the roles and contributions of prominent Tudor statesmen, and insights into the political landscape of Tudor England, including court intrigues, power struggles, and the dynamics between monarchs and their advisors.

Register now for The Men Behind the Throne

Full price $179.00 (approximately £140.90, AUD 267.40, €164.70)
Checkout Options
The Men Behind the Thone
Discount: $30.00 off. (Now: $149.00)
Create Profile
password strength indicator
Billing Method
Billing Address
Checkout Now
We use the secure payment portal "Stripe" which will take your payment from a standard debit or credit card. Your payments are taken through a secure (SSL) portal and are completely safe. We do not store any of your card details.

I'm so delighted to be part of this event! What a superb series Claire has created!