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Upcoming Events
 




To request an event with Alison Weir, please go to the Contact page. Requests for events should be sent directly to Alison or to her publicists at Penguin Random House.


FORTHCOMING EVENTS


7th March
7.30pm
The Guildhall, Bath
Event for the Independent Bath Literature Festival:
The Marriage Game



Their affair was the scandal of Europe. From the time of her accession in 1558, the young Elizabeth I – already reinventing herself as the Virgin Queen – and her dashing but married Master of Horse, Lord Robert Dudley, cast caution to the winds in pursuing their passion for each other. Many believed them to be lovers in the fullest sense, and there were scurrilous rumours that Elizabeth is no virgin at all.

The formidable young Queen was regarded by most of Christendom as a bastard, a heretic and a usurper, yet many princes sought her hand in marriage. Knowing her hold on her throne to be desperately insecure, Elizabeth encouraged them, to keep them friendly towards England. And thus she played what became known as ‘the marriage game’, appearing seriously to entertain these suitors while holding them off indefinitely. The truth was that she had no inclination to marry, bear children or render herself subservient to any man. The prospect of marriage was anathema to her, and she had deep and compelling psychological reasons for wishing to avoid it. It was the game of love that was the breath of life to her - the thrill of the chase, the lure of forbidden fruit. She played this dangerous, tantalising game with Lord Robert Dudley – but it was a game, she realised - almost too late, that could ultimately cost her the throne.

Alison Weir will give a richly illustrated presentation and discuss her novel about Elizabeth’s marriage game, a dramatic, complex, often funny, and deeply poignant tale of intrigue, love and loss, tracing the highs and lows of one of history’s most extraordinary and controversial royal love affairs.

For tickets, please visit http://bathfestivals.org.uk/literature/event/alison-weir/



11th March
6.30pm
Beccles Library
Joint event with Kate Williams for Beccles Library Community Trust:
Scarlet Women: Famous Mistresses


 
Alison Weir and Kate Williams, as The History Girls, will be discussing two famous – or rather, notorious – women who created scandal because they fell in love with famous men. For twenty-five years Katherine Swynford was the mistress of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the fourth son of Edward III. She bore him four children, from whom were descended the Royal Houses of York, Tudor, Stuart and every British sovereign since 1461. Was she a whore and a witch, as medieval chroniclers claimed? Did she deserve to be the object of such calumny? Or was she an intelligent, literate and discreet woman who had a gift for dealing with people and who cared about her public image? Alison Weir, Katherine’s biographer, presents a colourful mediaeval pageant that builds to a poignant yet triumphant conclusion.
   Emma Hamilton fought her way out of dire poverty to become a fashion icon, an ambassador's wife, a confidante of both Queen Marie Antoinette and the Queen of Naples, and the mistress of Lord Nelson, England's greatest military hero. Nothing could stand in the way of her dreams - except her self-destructive desires. Drawing on hundreds of previously undiscovered letters, and displaying a novelist's flair, Kate Williams tells the story of a true heroine. In a world of tabloid fame and three-minute wonders, Emma's life is truly a tale for our time.

For tickets, please contact Beccles Library on 01502 714073 or email beccles.library@suffolklibraries.co.uk.



25th March
2.30pm
Leicester College of Adult Education
Panel event for the Historical Novel Society:
Writing about Richard III and His Times



13:30    Registration; coffee/tea biscuits
14.15    Introduction
14.30    Panel session with Q&A: Alison Weir, Joanna Hickson and Toby Clements
 'Richard III in historical fiction - the challenges and the fascination'
15.15    Break and bookselling/signing; coffee/tea biscuits
15:30   
Tutorial: 'The Plantagenets and blood – writing combat scenes in historical fiction' 
Toby Clements
Presentation and discussion: 'Richard's Nemesis: Henry Tudor the final reckoning'
Joanna Hickson
Tutorial: 'Portraying characters like Richard III: a guide to writing historical fiction' 
Jenny Barden
16:15     Closing address
16.30     End: bookselling/signing 17:00; coffee/tea biscuits

For more information and tickets, please visit http://historicalnovelsociety.org/conferences/uk-richard-iii-miniconference



25th March - SOLD OUT
8pm
Leicester Central Library
Alison Weir will be the keynote speaker at an event hosted by Leicester Library in conjunction with the Historical Novel Society, which is presenting a Richard III Evening on the eve of Richard III's reburial in Leicester Cathedral.
Alison will be speaking about Richard III: The Man and the Myth


 
Shakespeare’s Richard III demonstrates how the historical record can be distorted and misinterpreted. It depicts Richard III’s Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign which lasted from 1483 to 1485, portraying him as a sinister, bloody tyrant, a monstrous being incredible in any historical context. Yet the play has been hugely influential. Richard III has always been an enigmatic, charismatic and controversial character, and furious debate still rages in regard to whether or not he ordered the murder of the Princes in the Tower. The recent discovery of bones that may be his has prompted huge public interest. Shakespeare’s powerful dramatic portrayal of him has had enormous impact on perceptions of the historical Richard. But Shakespeare drew on historical sources, and it is on these that Richard’s reputation largely rests. Alison Weir has studied those sources for many years, and her research shows that the truth is stranger – and far more complex – than the fiction. Be prepared for some challenging insights!

For tickets, please visit http://historicalnovelsociety.org/conferences/uk-richard-iii-miniconference/. SOLD OUT.



15th April
7.15pm
St Albans Central Library
Event for Hertfordshire Litfest:
Six Tudor Queens: The Wives of Henry VIII



The lives of Henry VIII’s wives make for dramatic stories. In her forthcoming series of novels Alison Weir will offer new insights into the real lives of these six queens, based on extensive research and new theories. It has become fashionable to talk up the roles of women in the past, but women’s histories were overlooked for so long, and in the wake of the feminist movement there has been increasing interest in retrieving them. That has led, inevitably, to the case being overstated; but when we consider the gritty reality of life for women in the Tudor age, and the dangers of living in a court riddled with intrigue, then the ascendancy of women such as Anne Boleyn can rightly be portrayed as a triumph, and remarkable. Alison Weir will evoke the world of a court dominated by the will of an egomaniacal, suggestible king, and the power politics and ruthlessness that were the reality behind its magnificent façade, and relate how Henry’s six queens lived a hair’s breadth away from disaster – and how it frequently overtook them. Theirs are grim and tragic stories, set in a lost world of splendour and brutality: a world in which love, or the game of it, dominated, but dynastic pressures overrode any romantic considerations. In this world, one dominated by religious change, there are few saints.


For tickets please visit www.hertsdirect.org/libraryeventtickets or telephone 01707 281533.
 


12th May
7pm
The Holburne Museum, Bath
Richard III: The Man and the Myth



Shakespeare’s Richard III demonstrates how the historical record can be distorted and misinterpreted. It depicts Richard III’s Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign which lasted from 1483 to 1485, portraying him as a sinister, bloody tyrant, a monstrous being incredible in any historical context. Yet the play has been hugely influential. Richard III has always been an enigmatic, charismatic and controversial character, and furious debate still rages in regard to whether or not he ordered the murder of the Princes in the Tower. The recent discovery of bones that may be his has prompted huge public interest. Shakespeare’s powerful dramatic portrayal of him has had enormous impact on perceptions of the historical Richard. But Shakespeare drew on historical sources, and it is on these that Richard’s reputation largely rests. Alison Weir has studied those sources for many years, and her presentation shows that the truth is stranger – and far more complex – than the fiction. Be prepared for some challenging insights!
 
For tickets, please call 01225 388569, or visit www.holburne.org.



13th May
2pm
The National Archives, Kew
Alison Weir will speak as the National Archives' Writer of the Month on:
The Marriage Game

 

Their affair was the scandal of Europe. From the time of her accession in 1558, the young Elizabeth I – already reinventing herself as the Virgin Queen – and her dashing but married Master of Horse, Lord Robert Dudley, cast caution to the winds in pursuing their passion for each other. Many believed them to be lovers in the fullest sense, and there were scurrilous rumours that Elizabeth is no virgin at all.

The formidable young Queen was regarded by most of Christendom as a bastard, a heretic and a usurper, yet many princes sought her hand in marriage. Knowing her hold on her throne to be desperately insecure, Elizabeth encouraged them, to keep them friendly towards England. And thus she played what became known as ‘the marriage game’, appearing seriously to entertain these suitors while holding them off indefinitely. The truth was that she had no inclination to marry, bear children or render herself subservient to any man. The prospect of marriage was anathema to her, and she had deep and compelling psychological reasons for wishing to avoid it. It was the game of love that was the breath of life to her - the thrill of the chase, the lure of forbidden fruit. She played this dangerous, tantalising game with Lord Robert Dudley – but it was a game, she realised - almost too late, that could ultimately cost her the throne.

Alison Weir will give a richly illustrated presentation and discuss her novel about Elizabeth’s marriage game, a dramatic, complex, often funny, and deeply poignant tale of intrigue, love and loss, tracing the highs and lows of one of history’s most extraordinary and controversial royal love affairs.

(Booking details to come)



7th July
The Upper Hall from Crawley, Weald and Downland Open-Air Museum, Sussex
6pm: Tea and cake
6.30pm: Presentation
Richard III: The Man and the Myth



Shakespeare’s Richard III demonstrates how the historical record can be distorted and misinterpreted. It depicts Richard III’s Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign which lasted from 1483 to 1485, portraying him as a sinister, bloody tyrant, a monstrous being incredible in any historical context. Yet the play has been hugely influential. Richard III has always been an enigmatic, charismatic and controversial character, and furious debate still rages in regard to whether or not he ordered the murder of the Princes in the Tower. The recent discovery of bones that may be his has prompted huge public interest. Shakespeare’s powerful dramatic portrayal of him has had enormous impact on perceptions of the historical Richard. But Shakespeare drew on historical sources, and it is on these that Richard’s reputation largely rests. Alison Weir has studied those sources for many years, and her presentation shows that the truth is stranger – and far more complex – than the fiction. Be prepared for some challenging insights!

For tickets please call the Adult Education Team on 01243 811021, or email courses@wealddown.co.uk, or visit www.wealddown.co.uk.



29th September
7.30pm
Old Town Hall, Richmond
Presentation for the Richmond Heritage Festival:
Six Tudor Queens: The Wives of Henry VIII



The lives of Henry VIII’s wives make for dramatic stories. In her forthcoming series of novels Alison Weir will offer fresh insights into the lives of these six queens, based on extensive research and new theories. It has become fashionable to talk up the roles of women in the past, and inevitably that has led to their being overstated; but when we consider the gritty reality of life for women in the Tudor age, and the dangers of living in a court riddled with intrigue, then the ascendancy of women such as Anne Boleyn can rightly be portrayed as a triumph, and remarkable. Alison Weir will evoke the world of a court dominated by the will of an egomaniacal, suggestible king, and the power politics and ruthlessness that were the reality behind its magnificent façade, and relate how Henry’s six queens lived a hair’s breadth away from disaster – and how it frequently overtook them. Theirs are grim and tragic stories, set in a lost world of splendour and brutality: a world in which love, or the game of it, dominated, but dynastic pressures overrode any romantic considerations. In this world, one dominated by religious change, there are few saints.

Tickets will be on sale from mid-July at www.richmond.gov.uk/localstudies



3rd October
Time tbc
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire
Event for the Garden Museum Festival:
Elizabeth I: The Virgin Queen



She was one of the most famous flirts in history - men were attracted to her like moths to a flame, not only because of who she was, but also because of her undoubted personal charisma. Yet Elizabeth I, who was Queen of England from 1558 to 1603, was celebrated in her own time, and is remembered today, as the Virgin Queen, an image she consciously promoted. She was one of the greatest rulers that England has ever had, and certainly one of the best loved. She deliberately set out to court the goodwill and affection of her subjects, asserting that she was the careful mother of her people. Despite all the vicissitudes of fortune, she retained their good opinions, and at the end of her reign was able to say to Parliament, ‘Though God hath raised me high, this I account the glory of my crown, that I have reigned with your loves.’



Alison Weir has studied Elizabeth I for many decades, and her talk offers intriguing insights into her life, throwing light on her views about her parents, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and her attitudes towards marriage and men.  



Hatfield House is one of the great treasure houses of England. The fine Jacobean House and thousand-acre estate is home to the 7th Marquess of Salisbury. Built by Robert Cecil in 1611, the house has been in the Cecil family for 400 years. Elizabeth I spent most of her childhood in the old palace of Hatfield and it was here that she learnt of her accession to the throne. The house contains many objects associated with the Queen including the 'Ermine Portrait' by Nicholas Hilliard. The magnificent State Rooms are furnished with important paintings, furniture, tapestries and armour. There are also many original Jacobean features such as an ornately carved wooden staircase and a rare stained glass window in the private chapel. The gardens date from the early 17th century and include a scented garden, herb garden and knot garden.

For tickets please visit http://www.gardenmuseum.org.uk/page/a-friend-a-book-and-a-garden-a-festival-of-garden-literature-october-2015-at-hatfield-house, or call 0207 401 8865. Tickets to go on sale late March



4th October
3pm
The Town Hall, Marlborough
Event for the Marlborough Literature Festival:
The Lost Tudor Princess: Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox


 
Royal Tudor blood ran in her veins. Her mother was a queen, and she herself was the granddaughter, niece, cousin and grandmother of monarchs. Some thought she should be queen of England. Beautiful and tempestuous, she defied her uncle, Henry VIII, and created scandal by indulging in two illicit affairs. She was forgiven and served four of Henry’s wives. The marriage arranged for her turned into a love match. A born political intriguer, she was imprisoned in the Tower of London three times. She helped to bring about one of the most notorious royal marriages of the sixteenth century, but it brought her only tragedy. Her son and her husband were brutally murdered, and there were rumours that she herself was poisoned. She warred with two queens, Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth of England. A brave survivor, Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was a prominent and important figure in Tudor England, and yet today she is largely forgotten and overlooked. Her story deserves to be better known, and Alison Weir brings it to life in this new biography.

For tickets, please visit www.marlboroughlitfest.org.



7th October
2.45pm
The Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London
Alison will be the guest speaker at the annual Ceremony of the Rendering of the Quit Rents by the Corporation of London to the Queen’s Remembrancer on behalf of the Crown.



The annual Ceremony of the Rendering of the Quit Rents by the Corporation of London to the Queen’s Remembrancer on behalf of the Crown is an ancient and time-honoured ceremony, which may be the oldest surviving ceremony next to that of the Coronation itself. The ceremony takes place in October each year at the Royal Courts of Justice and is combined with the presentation of the new Sheriffs to the Queen’s Remembrancer.

It has become the tradition to invite a speaker to address the guests for about a quarter of an hour on a subject of historical interest of some relevance to the City. Details of Alison Weir's talk will appear here in the summer.



8th October
7pm
Loughborough Library
The Lost Tudor Princess: Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox


 
Royal Tudor blood ran in her veins. Her mother was a queen, and she herself was the granddaughter, niece, cousin and grandmother of monarchs. Some thought she should be queen of England. Beautiful and tempestuous, she defied her uncle, Henry VIII, and created scandal by indulging in two illicit affairs. She was forgiven and served four of Henry’s wives. The marriage arranged for her turned into a love match. A born political intriguer, she was imprisoned in the Tower of London on several occasions. She helped to bring about one of the most notorious royal marriages of the sixteenth century, but it brought her only tragedy. Her son and her husband were brutally murdered, and there were rumours that she herself was poisoned. She warred with two queens, Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth of England. A brave survivor, Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was a prominent and important figure in Tudor England, and yet today she is largely forgotten and overlooked. Her story deserves to be better known, and Alison Weir brings it to life in this new biography.

For tickets please call 0116 305 2420



12th October
12.30pm
Hotel L'Horizon, St Brelade's Bay, Jersey, Channel Isles
Private event for the Jersey Ladies Literary Luncheon Club:
Eleanor of Aquitaine, by the Wrath of God, Queen of England



Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the leading personalities of the Middle Ages and also one of the most controversial. She was beautiful, intelligent and wilful, and in her lifetime there were scandalous rumours about her that were not without substance. She had been reared in a relaxed and licentious court where the arts of the troubadours flourished, and was even said to have presided over the fabled Courts of Love. Eleanor married in turn Louis VII of France and Henry II of England, and was the mother of Richard the Lionheart and King John. She lived to be 82, but it was only in old age that she triumphed over the adversities and tragedies of her earlier years and became the virtual ruler of England. Eleanor has exerted a fascination over writers and biographers for 800 years, but the prevailing myths and legends that attach to her name still tend to obscure the truth. Drawing on her extensive research, Alison Weir offers a vivid, fresh and provocative perspective on this extraordinary woman.



19th November
7pm
Oadby Library, Leicester
The Lost Tudor Princess: Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox


 
Royal Tudor blood ran in her veins. Her mother was a queen, and she herself was the granddaughter, niece, cousin and grandmother of monarchs. Some thought she should be queen of England. Beautiful and tempestuous, she defied her uncle, Henry VIII, and created scandal by indulging in two illicit affairs. She was forgiven and served four of Henry’s wives. The marriage arranged for her turned into a love match. A born political intriguer, she was imprisoned in the Tower of London three times. She helped to bring about one of the most notorious royal marriages of the sixteenth century, but it brought her only tragedy. Her son and her husband were brutally murdered, and there were rumours that she herself was poisoned. She warred with two queens, Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth of England. A brave survivor, Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was a prominent and important figure in Tudor England, and yet today she is largely forgotten and overlooked. Her story deserves to be better known, and Alison Weir brings it to life in this new biography.

For tickets, please call 0116 305 8763 during library opening hours or email mark.newman@leics.gov.uk.



26 November
7.30pm
Honeywood, Carshalton, Surrey
Joint event with Historic Royal Palaces' guide lecturer, Siobhan Clarke:
A Royal Christmas



Our Christmas rituals evolved from Christian liturgy, pagan rites and the influence of the monarchy. Holly, ivy and other greenery such as mistletoe were originally used in pre-Christian times to help celebrate the pagan Winter Solstice. Christmas at court in the medieval period culminated in Twelfth Night; a time of great celebration, involving feasts, games and the staging of plays. Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' was written for the close of Christmas season in the reign of Elizabeth I. From the time of George III and his German wife Queen Charlotte, who introduced the custom of the Christmas tree, the royal family has had great influence on our Christmas traditions. An engraving in the 1848 Christmas supplement of The Illustrated London News shows Queen Victoria’s family gathered around a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle. The German customs brought by Prince Albert into the royal family became the basis of the English Christmas we know today and in the last two hundred years feasts and entertainments have been shared by the majority, rather than the privileged few. The first Christmas Broadcast was delivered by George V in 1932 and since then has evolved into an important part of the Christmas Day celebrations for many in Britain and around the world.



Alison Weir will be talking about Christmas at court in the medieval and Tudor periods, and Siobhan Clarke will look at how royalty has celebrated Christmas from Stuart times to the present day, showing how the royal family have influenced our own festivities and traditions.



Honeywood Museum is a Grade II listed building next to the picturesque Carshalton Ponds.  The family-friendly museum re-opened in May 2012 after a complete refurbishment following a grant from the HLF. It has beautifully restored period details including the Edwardian Billiards Room, Drawing Room and Bathroom. There are exhibitions which tell the fascinating history of the house and the people who lived there, and an on-going diary of events which illuminate the history of Carshalton and the Borough of Sutton.

Tickets are £5.00  (£6.00 for non-members). Please call Sue Horne, of the Friends of Honeywood Museum, on 0208 773 0185.


Events are being planned for Hampton Court Palace (May), the Ripon International Festival (September), the BBC History Magazine event at York (September) and the BBC History Magazine Festival at Malmesbury (October).