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Pierre Henri Révoil, Mary Queen of Scots Separated from Her Faithfuls, 1822
Mary Queen of Scots is an enigma. For the last four hundred and fifty years she has been presented as a romantic heroine, a Catholic martyr, a weak and feeble female used as a pawn by scheming men, and a murderer and adulteress. But despite the…
The sentencing of Strafford in parliament, 1641
That by the early 1640s parliament’s relationship with the king had become so oppositional it was unworkable is obvious, but what is less obvious is how it came to be so: had there been a ‘high road to civil war’, evident in the increasingly…
Copy of the Whitehall mural showing Henry VIII, his parents, and Jane Seymour
Henry VIII could be called England’s most memorable king. Everyone has seen his image: tall, imposing, and rotund. Likewise, everyone knows that he had six wives, and that he divorced two of them, and executed a further two. He brought the…
The trial of Charles I
30 January 1649 was bitterly cold. It was enough to make Charles I, King of England, don two shirts: he didn't want the crowd to see him shivering as he was led to his place of execution. Charles' downfall had come about through unsuitable…
The Great Storm of 1703 Goodwin Sands
On the night of 26 November 1703, what has been described as the worst storm in the history of the country hit Britain. Over the next eight hours, it reaped terrible damage across Wales and the south of England, and in its wake were thousands of…
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn was executed on 19 May 1536, just three years after becoming King Henry VIII's second wife. She has gone down in history as an adulteress and as someone who looked somewhat odd: legend says that she had six fingers and a wen, or…
Holbein's portrait of Anne of Cleves, 1539
On 9 July 1540, Henry VIII had his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, annulled after just six months of marriage. Following the death of his favourite wife Jane Seymour,and under the advice of Thomas Cromwell, Henry had set about finding a…
Paul Delaroche: 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey'
On 10 July 1553, four days after the death of her cousin Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey became queen of England. It would be short lived: within nine days, she would step down and be placed in the Tower under charges of treason. History, always written…
Thomas Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell was the infamous adviser to Henry VIII. Born around 1485, he was executed without trial on 28 July 1540 for heresy and treason. Down through history, he has been viewed as a cynical, Machiavellian upstart, who drove through reform…
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