English Heritage reports: Record numbers of families visited English Heritage sites in 2023.

"The appeal of the Tudors – perhaps heightened by the 2023 film Firebrand or Alison Weir's bestselling 2023 novel Henry VIII: The Heart & The Crown – was very much in evidence with five of the nine properties that posted their highest-ever visitor numbers connected to Henry VIII. Deal, Portland and Yarmouth Castles were all built by Henry as coastal fortresses, while Eltham Palace in London (up 9%) was his childhood home. Gainsborough Old Hall in Lincolnshire (up 19%) not only hosted Henry VIII on several occasions but it was also where his final wife Katherine Parr lived as a girl."



Back in 2016, I discussed on this website the possibility that Anne Boleyn was the sitter in this engraving in the Royal Collection. Other versions (dating from the eighteenth century) are labelled 'Joanna, Lady Bergavenny'. I could find no record of the portrait on which the engravings were based after 1855, when it was sold. The owner has now contacted me and I have seen the original portrait, which is in his private collection. I am unable to disclose its whereabouts or reproduce the scan he sent me, but I can say that the engraving above is a very good likeness. The initials B A R (which may stand for Anne Boleyn Regina, since no Lady Bergavenny had these initials) on the collar are very clear. What strikes me is that the face and hands seem not to have been painted by the same hand, whiich suggests to me that the face may have been overpainted at some stage. Given the rich dress, the initials on the collar and the As on the hood, I think that a good case can be made for identifying the sitter as Anne Boleyn. 




Headline Publishing Group is delighted to reveal the brand-new trio of novels by the bestselling female historian and novelist, Alison Weir, whose era-defining Six Tudor Queens series has hit the Sunday Times bestseller hardback chart six times in six years.

The Tudor Rose series will span three generations of history’s most iconic family, the Tudors. The first book is a groundbreaking novelisation of the woman who began it, Elizabeth of York. The second novel is a unique take on Henry VIII as you’ve never seen him before. And the final book centres on one of the most maligned queens in history, Mary I.

Alison says: ‘I am thrilled to be revisiting in fiction the ever-compelling stories of the Tudors, to be looking at three generations – mother, son, daughter – and the threads that link them. After the Six Tudor Queens novels, I was eager to write from Henry VIII’s point of view. I’m delighted to tell not only his story, but also those of his mother, Elizabeth of York, and his daughter, Mary I, often known as ‘Bloody Mary’. Elizabeth played a huge part in shaping Henry, who inherited not only his crown from her, but also her dynastic links. But for her sex, Elizabeth would have reigned over England; it was left to Mary, her granddaughter, to rule as the first English queen regnant. My warmest thanks go to the wonderful team at Headline for making it possible for me to continue recounting the amazing tales of the Tudors.’


Susie Conklin Will Serve as Executive Producer and Adapt
Best-Selling Author Alison Weir’s Acclaimed “Eleanor of Aquitaine” Biography and Novel for Television

Santa Monica, Calif. – November 17, 2020 – Starz, a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), announced today it is developing a slate of series inspired by “extraordinary women of history” from Lionsgate TV and Colin Callender’s Golden Globe®-winning Playground (“Wolf Hall,” “Howards End”). Starz has acquired the rights to best-selling author and historian Alison Weir’s acclaimed biography Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life and its companion novel Captive Queen.
The story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the great heroines of the Middle Ages, will be the focus of the first series with additional properties to be added to the slate. Susie Conklin (A Discovery of Witches, Cranford) will pen the adaptation and serve as executive producer. Scott Huff and David Stern will oversee development for Playground and serve as executive producers on the series.
“This slate of series will focus on lesser known but undeniably exceptional female historical figures while continuing the exploration of fierce characters in history,” said Christina Davis, President of Programming for Starz. “Alison Weir’s novels are the perfect jumping off point for this collection of series from Playground, who are known for their sophisticated storytelling.”
“We’re excited to partner with Starz and Lionsgate to bring Alison Weir’s acclaimed biography and novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine to television,” said Huff and Stern. “Eleanor presided over a magnificent, progressive court filled with scandal and intrigue, and we’re thrilled with Susie's bold and provocative take on this fascinating story.”
Added Conklin, “I’m thrilled at the opportunity to bring Eleanor’s story to life - the drama and adventures she experienced are truly epic. I’m also captivated at how a woman who lived over 800 years ago can be so strikingly modern. She’s determined to live her life on her own terms, and the way she goes about that are extraordinary.”

Eleanor of Aquitaine defied the conventions of her time as a Queen of both England and France who wielded immense political influence over the kingdoms of men. She was a wife, mother and a fierce leader in an era when women were regarded as little more than chattel. Eleanor’s unwavering spirit saw her through many years of victories and defeats – a marriage bound by duty, a passionate love affair, family alliances and betrayals, the grandeur of power and the desolation of imprisonment.
Originally published in 1999, Weir’s Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life received widespread acclaim and ranks among the best-selling historical biographies of all time. The Boston Globe lauded the book as “an alluringly candid portrait” while the London Sunday Times called it a “triumphantly done, lively biography.” Captive Queen followed in 2010 and was met with similar acclaim, with Publishers Weekly calling it “vivid and surprisingly modern.”
Alison Weir is the biggest-selling female historian and the fifth best-selling historian in the United Kingdom. She has published 23 titles and sold more than 3 million books – more than a million in the UK and 2.2 million in the US. She is now working on two concurrent series of books: Six Tudor Queens, comprising six novels on the wives of Henry VIII (with associated e-books, above), and England's Medieval Queens, a quartet of historical works of non-fiction.
Producer and writer Susie Conklin is known for her work on “A Discovery of Witches,” “The Musketeers” and “Cranford” television series.
Senior Vice President of Original Programming Karen Bailey is the Starz executive overseeing “Eleanor of Aquitaine.” Senior Vice President of Lionsgate Television Jocelyn Sabo is overseeing the series on behalf of Lionsgate.

About Starz
Starz (, a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), is the global media company taking the lead in streaming premium content that spotlights a spectrum of women both in front and behind the camera for audiences worldwide. Starz is home to the flagship domestic STARZ® service, including STARZ ENCORE, 17 premium pay TV channels and the associated on-demand and online services, as well as the proprietary and highly-rated STARZ app. In 2018, Starz launched its Starzplay international premium streaming platform and, coupled with its Starz Play Arabia venture, has since expanded its global footprint into 50 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Canada, Japan and India. The essential complement to any subscription platform, STARZ and Starzplay are available across digital OTT platforms and multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies around the world. Starz offers subscribers more than 7,500 distinct premium television episodes and feature films, including STARZ Original series, first-run movies and other popular programming.

About Playground
Playground is a New York and London-based television, film and theatre production company. Playground has produced over 90 hours of primetime television drama garnering 16 Emmy nominations, 26 BAFTA nominations, and 12 Golden Globe nominations, including winning a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries.
Recent television productions include BAFTA and Golden Globe winning Wolf Hall, The Dresser, The White Princess, Howards End, Little Women, King Lear and The Spanish Princess. Upcoming series include All Creatures Great and Small for Masterpiece on PBS and Dangerous Liaisons for Starz.
Recent theatre productions include record breaking Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Dear Evan Hansen, Lucky Guy starring Tom Hanks, Casa Valentina, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The River starring Hugh Jackman, Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory, John Tiffany's The Glass Menagerie, Casey Nicholaw’s Dreamgirls, and Ian Rickson’s Rosmersholm.

About Lionsgate
Combining the STARZ premium global subscription platform with world-class motion picture and television studio operations, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) brings a unique and varied portfolio of entertainment to consumers around the world.  Its film, television, subscription and location-based entertainment businesses are backed by a 17,000-title library and the largest collection of film and television franchises in the independent media space.  A digital age company driven by its entrepreneurial culture and commitment to innovation, the Lionsgate brand is synonymous with bold, original, relatable entertainment for the audiences it serves worldwide.

# # #
Press Contact:
Michelle Portillo
(720) 852-4063

Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society are opening a Battle of Barnet Visitors Centre. To donate, click the below and more info can be found on their website

They are also in the process of setting up a academic fund in memory of the late Mario Caruana, their research secretary, to carry on his amazing academic medieval work. It will be called the Caruana Fund. They aim to give £10,000 towards research each year


I am delighted that the sitter in ths portrait has been identified at last. You can read about the research done by Dr Justin Davies and his team here: Dr Davies kindly sent me a scan (below left) of the portrait in the National Portrait Gallery's Heinz Archive, on which the identifying inscription can be seen. I know of seven versions of the portrait; one (below right), in a private collection, also bears an inscription. I had previously argued against the sitter being Mary Boleyn, but am pleased to be proved wrong.

Here are the other versions of the portrait, at (L-R) the Royal Collection, Hever Castle, a private collection, Rockingham Castle and Warwick Castle (there are also versions at Longford Castle and Southside House, Wimbledon, but I am not sure if these are the private collections I've listed, as I don't have scans of them):

I was on BBC RADIO BERKSHIRE on 26th June 2019 talking about Katherine of Aragon (for the 510th anniversary of her and Henry's coronation). Listen again 1hour and 10mins here:

And I was also on BBC RADIO LONDON on Monday on a boat going down the  Thames to Hampton Court Palace for the Flower Show on the Jo Good Show #TalkingTudors. Listen here 49min and 57secs in


I'm delighted to announce that graphic artists Anna and Elena Balbusso have won the Communication Arts Award of Excellence for the jacket artwork they have designed for my Six Tudor Queens series of novels. 


Now you can buy Anne Boleyn's 'Moost Happi' Portrait Pendant, by Lucy Churchill


I'm delighted to announce that my book, The Life of Elizabeth I, has been listed in Ezvid Wiki's recently published wiki History Books About Events Worth Remembering.

You can read my 11-page feature on The Royal Weddings of Henry VIII in the May edition of History Revealed, out in May, in time for another royal wedding...



I’m delighted officially to launch an exciting digital competition that my publishers, Headline, are running in partnership with The Pigeonhole, a digital book club, for UK and Commonwealth book fans.
   350 lucky winners can read my new historical novel, Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen, before it is released in bookshops.
   You can enter by clicking on this link If chosen, you will receive the book in 12 digital instalments, called staves. The Pigeonhole app allows you to post comments, to which I and other readers can respond.
   In the book. I explore the life of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third Queen. Against a backdrop of religious revolution, plague and insurrection, Jane, newly married to Henry, must bear the son he desperately needs - or face the consequences. Will she be able to give the King what he wants?
   I would love to share Jane’s story, and the Pigeonhole experience, with you, so please do enter and share this link with anyone you know who loves getting lost in a historical novel.
   Thank you again. Hopefully, I’ll see you inside the book!


This engraving by Wenceslaus Hollar, dated 1649 (above, right), is not - as has long been claimed - of the unlabelled British Museum drawing by Holbein above left, which is popularly identified as Anne Boleyn, and has been the subject of much academic debate. But, as I was stating on Facebook that the drawing was probably not Anne, I noticed that the engraving is clearly of a different portrait, and Hollar states beneath that Holbein drew it. No such Holbein is known. The discrepancies are obvious. The sitter is facing different ways, for a start. The jewellery, hood, neckline, bodice and sleeves are different. It was not Hollar who inscribed the drawing 'Anna Bullen' sometime after 1650, but probably someone who had seen Hollar's engraving (or one of its numerous copies) and assumed it was the same portrait; but Hollar did label his engraving 'Anne Boleyn, Queen of England'. It's often said that Holbein must have drawn or painted Anne, so it is possible, even likely, that Hollar did copy a lost drawing of her by Holbein. If so, the lady on the right is Anne Boleyn. And, that being so, given the close similarities in the features, the Brirish Museum sketch, also by Holbein, is almost certainly her. There are four known portraits after the Hollar engraving, all called Anne Boleyn. Three, painted in the nineteenth century, are in private collections; the other is a late-17th-century version in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

HISTORY REVEALED Special 50th issue edition

You can read my contribution to the article '50 Decisions that Changed the World' on pp.24-5.. 

The amazing TUDOR TIMES website has a beautiful new Book of Days on sale, just in time for Christmas! And lots of other historical goodies too...





You can read my article, THE LAST DAYS OF ANNE BOLEYN, in issue 46, September 2017.






You can read my contribution to the cover feature, The Mystery of the Princes, in issue 18, August 2017.





Bestselling historian Alison Weir is to launch an ambitious new series this autumn. ENGLAND'S MEDIEVAL QUEENS will explore the lives of England's queens over four centuries, from the Norman Conquest to the end of the Wars of the Roses.
   The first in her new quartet of books, QUEENS OF THE CONQUEST, will be published in hardback, trade paperback and ebook on 28 September 2017.
   The QUEENS OF THE CONQUEST cover image has been revealed on Alison Weir's website today. Stephen Parker, Deputy Art Director and Lily Richards, Picture Researcher at Vintage created the series style.
   Stephen Parker says:  "We wanted to create a strong and graphic series style for England's Medieval Queens and thought using pattern from the period would work well. We visited Opus Anglicanum, an exhibition of English Medieval embroidery at the V&A for inspiration. Whilst there was plenty to look at and to keep in mind for the later books in the series, so few textile fragments remain from the 11th and 12th centuries that we had to turn elsewhere for QUEENS OF CONQUEST. The starry background from a manuscript page from the Apocalypse of St Severus provided a colourful and bold basis for this first jacket design and the series to come."
   Jonathan Cape acquired World English language rights to the series (excluding USA and Canada) from Julian Alexander at Lucas Alexander Whitley Literary Agency.
   In QUEENS OF THE CONQUEST, Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the extraordinarily dramatic lives of the five queens of England in the century after the Norman Conquest. Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conqueror in his invasion of England in 1066, and culminating in the turbulent life of the Empress Maud, who claimed to be queen of England in her own right and fought a bitter war to that end, the five Norman queens emerge as hugely influential figures and fascinating characters. QUEENS OF THE CONQUEST is a chronicle of love, murder, war and betrayal, filled with passion, intrigue and sorrow, peopled by a cast of heroines, villains, stateswomen and lovers.
   The next three books in the series will cover the interconnected lives of England's queens in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Alison Weir's earlier bestselling biographies, ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE and ISABELLA: SHE-WOLF OF FRANCE, QUEEN OF ENGLAND (both published by Vintage) will fit into the new series of books.
   Alison Weir says: I'm very excited about this new series. The story of England`s medieval queens has all the elements of a historical soap opera. After Agnes Strickland published her ground-breaking, but now hopelessly outdated and highly romanticised Lives of the Queens of England in twelve volumes in the 1840s, the story of England's medieval queens was long neglected by historians. In recent years, interest in medieval queenship has revived, and there have been some notable academic studies, and at least two excellent composite biographies. Yet it is impossible to tell this story fully in a single volume, and I should like to do that in these four books. In writing it, I will be fulfilling the ambition of decades, for the extensive research for the series is my only remaining major unpublished work.
   Bea Hemming of Jonathan Cape, says: Alison Weir's books have sold well over 1 million copies in the UK, making her without doubt one of Britain's most popular historians. We are delighted to continue to publish Alison, and to launch what promises to be her most ambitious project to date. It is hard to imagine anyone better qualified to chronicle the extraordinary lives of England's medieval queens, who for too long have been lost to the footnotes of history. For more information please contact: Ceri Maxwell Hughes, Senior Press Officer, Jonathan Cape.
Email: / Tel: 020 7840 8459
For more info about the book:

I am delighted to announce a new series of four non-fiction books on England's Medieval Queens. It will tell the story of England's queens from the Norman Conquest of 1066 to the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The five Norman queens feature in Queens of the Conquest, the first book in the series, which will be published on 26 September in the USA and on 28 September in the UK. More details to come!

One of my favourite Tudor websites is Tudor Times,, and you may be interested to know that they have a brand new online shop. These tapestry kits caught my eye: and

You can browse theshop at

I'm delighted to announce that The Six Wives of Henry VIII has been selected for a ebook promotion on Amazon UK in November. The ebook will be available at £1.99 throughout November.

I am delighted and proud to have been involved in the successful campaign to restore the historic St James's Church at Wigmore, with its ancient associations with the Mortimers.

You can now read more about my Six Tudor Queens series and a lot of other fascinating historical topics at

Sending very happy birthday wishes to the History Girls' Blog on your fifth birthday. Five years of bringing history alive and making it rock! All the best for the next five years and more.

I will be guesting on WOMAN'S HOUR on 10th May, talking about Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen.



On 10th April 2016 the Sunday Times ran a news article, based on an interview with me, about the emergence of what could well be a lost portrait of Anne Boleyn.
A longer version of the article appeared in the Mail Online:
I would like to make it clear that I did not 'find' this portrait. I saw a photo of the print advertised on eBay, and it was the seller who suggested in the listing that the sitter was Anne Boleyn. I did further research that endorsed that view, based on the print from the 1850s. If the original portrait came to light, we would know more. You can read my article about the portrait here:

My article 'Writing historical fiction' will again feature in the new edition of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, which will be published in July.

Alison Weir's new series: The six things I'm most looking forward to discovering

I'm most grateful to Anna James for championing Katherine of Aragon on Open Book. Listen in here:

Alison Weir on Tudor Feminism


On 29th September I was a guest on BBC's Woman's Hour, talking about The Lost Tudor Princess. You can hear the interview at

I'm delighted to have done my bit to help save Otford Palace!

From THE BOOKSELLER, 18th November 2014

Headline has acquired six novels by bestselling historian Alison Weir. Publishing director Mari Evans bought UK and Commonwealth rights to the books from Julian Alexander at Lucas Alexander Whitley. Weir's non-fiction publishing will continue with Penguin Random House's Jonathan Cape.
   The series of fiction novels for Headline will feature, in turn, each of the wives of Henry VIII. Weir will "write six novels that provide insight into the real lives of these women, based on extensive research and new theories, novels that will put the six wives into the context of their own age".
   Evans said: "I literally danced around the office in glee when I read Alison's proposal for these novels and when I met Alison and realised what a powerhouse she is, I was even more determined to become the publisher of her fiction. This series will be a must-read for any fan of the Tudors... and beyond."
   Weir said: "I am thrilled to be joining the team at Headline. Their enthusiasm is dynamic, and their approach warm and professional. I am as excited as Mari about publishing these novels on Henry VIII's wives, and seeing the fruits of my new research in print."
   The first book in the series [Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, A Novel] will be published in 2016. Weir's next non-fiction book with Jonathan Cape will be published in 2015. (By Sarah Shaffi)


I'm delighted to announce that I have just signed a ten-book deal with my US publisher, Ballantine, to include the Six Tudor Queens series acquired by Headline, above, and four non-fiction history books, which have also been commissioned in the UK by Jonathan Cape. Details of these will be announced later.


Read more on the Anna of Kleve page.

Read my interview - THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII: A Number One Hit with Nook Teens - at

There is an article about me, 'History in the Making', in the May 2015 edition of Surrey Life.
(see the Chat page)

To read my article 'How to Host a Tudor-Themed Dinner Party', please visit Expats Post at

On 28th January Historic Royal Palaces and the Directors of Headline Publishing Group hosted 'An evening with Alison Weir' at The Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, the Tower of London, where my forthcoming series of novels on the six wives of Henry VIII was launched. You can read more about the event here:


I was delighted to take part, in January, in the HCP 500 event at Hampton Court, where I was filmed talking about the Palace and what it means to me. This image was sent to me by Historic Royal Palaces' marketing department. I will be doing an event at the Palace in May.


I was pleased to be on BBC2's Newsnight on 21 January 2015 with Anthony Beevor, discussing the first episode of the BBC drama, 'Wolf Hall'.  I was quoted on the programme's website and Twitter feed: 'Historian Alison Weir on Wolf Hall "For me it's not the Cromwell I know from the historical sources" #newsnight'. It was great drama, though, and Mark Rylance was exceptional.  According to the Daily Telegraph, Damian Lewis read some of my books when preparing to play Henry VIII.


In February 2015 Red Rose Chain, who enthralled me in 2013 with their wonderful play, Fallen In Love: The Secret Heart of Anne Boleyn, put on a stunning new production, Progress, about Elizabeth I, which I had highly recommended!

It's the summer of 1561. Among the bustling Tudor streets the countdown is on to transform the town just days before the visit of a lifetime... when Queen Elizabeth I will arrive in Ipswich on a "Progress", heralding a new dawn of hope and tolerance. Peter Moone, a tailor, is rehearsing a group of locals into a play to be performed for the Queen. Court intrigue, scandal and passion, set against the harsh backdrop of the story of the Ipswich martyrs and all based on factual accounts of real events, create a gripping story as tragic and comic as true life itself. Progress is a play about Ipswich, for anyone who would like to know why our town really is an extraordinary place. Specially written for the opening of The Avenue Theatre, Progress is the eagerly awaited follow up to Joanna Carrick's critically acclaimed play "Fallen In Love" which followed the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, performed to audiences in Ipswich and at The Tower of London in 2013, which the Telegraph hailed as "a real coup", adding "fail to answer this summons to the Tower at your peril".

Here I am with playwright Joanna Carrick, the entire cast and historian Siobhan Clarke after a stunning performance!

I should like to pay a warm tribute to the late Paul Sidey (seen here above right at Kensington Palace with the 'History Girls' - Tracy Borman, me, Kate Williams and Sarah Gristwood). He was our editor for The Ring and the Crown. Paul had a distinguished career in publishing , working first at Penguin and then at Hutchinson. He was a wonderful man who wore his learning lightly, a convivial companion and a valued and loyal friend. I am only one among many who will sorely miss him. My thoughts are with his lovely wife Marianne and his family.

I was interviewed on BBC Radio Leicester in August 2014 about the forthcoming reburial of Richard III, and the form that reburial should take. For discussions on that, please visit my Facebook page.


Royal Tudor blood ran in her veins. Her mother was a queen, and she herself was the granddaughter, niece, cousin and grandmother of monarchs, and some thought that 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, however, and served four of Henry's wives. She was fortunate too in that 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, notably for helping to bring about one of the most notorious royal marriages of the sixteenth century. Yet it brought her only tragedy. Her son and her husband were brutally murdered, and there would be rumours that in the end she herself was poisoned. She warred with two queens, Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth of England, and plotted with the renowned Bess of Hardwick. A brave survivor, she was instrumental in securing the Stuart succession to the throne of England for her grandson. Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was a prominent and important figure in Tudor England, and yet for a long time she was largely forgotten and overlooked. Her story deserves to be better known.

Back in 1974 I did a lot of research on Margaret Douglas, and over the years it often occurred to me that I should do something with it, but other projects intervened. In 2013 I was debating what to choose as a subject for the last book on my current non-fiction contract. I wanted to write about one of the Tudor women, but most of them have been 'done to death', as it were, by biographers (including me). I would have written about the Brandon sisters, Frances and Eleanor, but Nicola Tallis, a brilliant young historian who works with me on my tours, has now written a biography of Frances Brandon. So I decided to revisit my research on Margaret Douglas and write a biography, which I 'sold' to my commissioning editor after a five-minute spiel over lunch. I'm excited to be working on such a wonderful project and have already come up with some new insights. Is the portrait above Margaret? Wait and see!


I am now working on a completely revised, re-researched and expanded version of The Six Wives of Henry VIII, for publication in the U.K in at a future date. 

When the original version of this book first appeared in 1991, there had been no serious collective biography since 1905 when M. A. S. Hume's The Wives of Henry VIII was published. Since then, Antonia Fraser, David Starkey and David Loades have all written books on the six wives, and there have been numerous individual biographies, notably by Giles Tremlett, Eric Ives, Susan James and Linda Porter. Each has contributed greatly to our understanding of the subject. I myself have done much further research in the twenty-three years since my own book was completed, and this long-overdue revised and rewritten version incorporates the newer findings. The 1991 edition was adapted from my original manuscript of 1974, which ran to 1024 single-spaced pages. Much of necessity was cut, a lot of it original source material, but a considerable amount of that has been restored to this new edition. Back in 1990, it was felt by my publishers that notes and references were not appropriate in a "popular" history book - instead I was to indicate the sources in the text. Fortunately the original notes and references survive, and they have been restored here. It was also felt that the bibliography should be in narrative form, but for ease of reference I have now converted it into the more conventional list. It is a huge pleasure revisiting this book and my original manuscript. Already new perspectives are emerging.


My interview with Susan Cahill for Talking Books at Newstalk, Ireland, will be broadcast on 2nd February. Susan kindly observed, "I have to say she was super. What a wonderful lady. Thanks so much. Really good and well written read... makes most of the academic historians look jaded and stuffy!!!"


I am one of several historical novelists who have contributed articles for this very entertaining, informative and useful guide for writers written and compiled by Celia Brayfield and Duncan Sprott.

Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers is a website developed for historical, biographical and fiction writers, poets and bloggers to showcase their work. I was recently interviewed for the site, and you can read the transcript here:

HAY FESTIVAL 2013: Blame Henry VIII for public fascination with royal family

Henry VIII is responsible for the public and the media's fascination with the private lives of the royal family, especially the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, according to a leading historical novelist. Alison Weir, one of the bestselling female historians in Britain, said that the marriage failures of Henry VIII taught us to be legitimately fascinated by the sex lives of royalty. Alison said that the marriage failures of Henry VIII taught us to be legitimately fascinated by the sex lives of royalty.  
(By Harry Wallop, and Gaby Wood)
02 Jun 2013
Alison Weir, one of the bestselling female historians in Britain, said that the marriage failures of Henry VIII taught us to be legitimately fascinated by the sex lives of royalty.
  "It is part of a tradition. It is in the national consciousness that we are concerned. As soon as they [the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge] got married, we started speculating about a baby. We are jumping back on a traditional bandwagon of being fascinated about royal marriage and reproduction. It is very invasive, but it is proper. The interest in royalty's sex lives and marriages was legitimate because they produced heirs to the throne".
  Her comments came after the historical novelist Hilary Mantel attracted criticism for saying the duchess was perceived in the media as a "shop-window mannequin", whose only purpose was to breed.
  Ms Weir, who has written a series of history books as well as novels set in the Tudor period, was speaking at the Telegraph Hay Festival.
(Please note that I also deplored the intrusion of the foreign media in taking photographs of a scantily-clad Duchess of Cambridge. I do not wish to be seen as endorsing this intrusion.)

9th May 2013: Henry VIII: The King and His Court  (published 2001) is currently number 6 in the New York Times e-book bestseller lists!

19th February 2013: I was approached to write an article for The Daily Telegraph on Hilary Mantel's comments on the Duchess of Cambridge. It is based on Mantel's lecture, not news coverage. You can read it online at:

Following the announcement that the bones discovered in Leicester are indeed Richard III's remains, I appeared on Radio 4's PM Programme with Steven Berkoff, to discuss the implications of the announcement. You can listen to the programme here: It's the last item.

My article on Richard III and the Princes in the Tower can be read on the Books pages, under The Princes in the Tower (Read More). My view on recent developments is as follows:

"While the finding of his remains is an incredible achievement, it's time to distance ourselves from the outpouring of ill-informed sentiment over Richard III, and look objectively at what the historical sources tell us. There is compelling circumstantial evidence that he ordered the murder of the Princes in the Tower, and incontrovertible hard evidence that he committed acts of tyranny. He was not popular. Any support he had was eroded by rumours that he had done away with the Princes, for which cause he lost the hearts of his subjects. He should be buried at York, where he wished to be buried, with dignity, and without fanfare. He intended to remarry, so it is doubtful that he would have been laid to rest beside his wife, Anne Neville, in Westminster Abbey. According him the honour of a state funeral would amount to official endorsement of the revisionist view of him, and that would deeply concern many serious historians. Let us press instead for a new examination of the bones thought to be those of the Princes in Westminster Abbey."   

I was delighted to have been asked to write the Foreward to The Tudor Child, a stunning new book by Jane Huggett and Ninya Mikhaila, edited by Jane Malcolm Davies. Those who have read The Tudor Tailor will know that they have a treat in store!  The Tudor Child is another feast of fascinating information and wonderful pictures, a stunning combination of original research and practical application.It stands as a major source book for historians and costume designers alike, and hopefully will be enormously influential.  I could not recommend it highly enough.

I spoke about Henry VIII on ABC Radio Australia's 'Overnights' programme at 5.20pm on 10 December 2012.



My findings on the above portrait were revealed in a presentation during the Katherine Parr Quincentenary Festival at Sudeley Castle in May.


I am trying to come down to earth after a wonderful four days. I've enjoyed having the benefit of so much brilliant scholarship - dinner with Professor Eric Ives was a particular treat - and meeting so many friendly and interesting people. There was a great buzz to this festival, and I'd like to express my thanks to the lovely staff at Blickling Hall and the organiser, Carole Richmond, for everything they did to make me so welcome. There were so many highlights: hosting the literary tea with Sarah Gristwood, Suzannah Dunn and Harriet Castor; listening to Neil Storey's engrossing ghost talk; admiring Molly Housego's unparalleled Tudor costume - what an amazing Anne Boleyn she makes; watching her disappear down the blackness of the drive at midnight on 19th May; meeting David Loades, one of our greatest historians, and receiving his new book, Mary Rose; hearing Nicola Shulman's ground-breaking revelations about Thomas Wyatt; meeting Natalie Grueninger and Sarah Morris and hearing about their forthcoming book on Anne Boleyn; meeting Lauren Mackay, an expert on the Boleyn men, who is working on a biography of Chapuys;  reading Anne Boleyn's scaffold speech during choral evensong in Norwich Cathedral, and attending prayers for Anne in Blickling Church. It's been an unforgettable experience, and I felt privileged to have been there.


My article about Mary Boleyn appeared in the 24th November edition of The Daily Telegraph. The correct text of this article will appear on this website soon. 

I was a guest on Sky Arts' "THE BOOK SHOW" with Mariella Frostrupp at 8pm on 24th November. Also appearing were Ken Livingstone and Benjamin Zephaniah.

I was among the guests on B.B.C. Radio 4's "START THE WEEK" with Andrew Marr on Monday, 14th November. Also appearing were Peter Englund, Boris Johnson and Norman Davies.

My ghost story, The Anniversary, was included in The Best Little Book Club in Town, a paperback anthology of short stories published by Orion Books in association with Woman and Home magazine. For every copy sold, £1 goes to Breast Cancer Care.


I discussed MARY BOLEYN on National Public Radio's "TALK OF THE NATION". Here is a link to the segment: 

I was interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio's programme, "TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE". Here is a link to the interview: 


Listening Books provide audiobooks for people who find it difficult to read due to illness or disability through an online and postal service. They are launching a brand new project this September and I wish to lend my support to it, as they  have many of my books in their library. Through this new project, they are expanding their service to offer audiobook mini libraries to hospices throughout the U.K.. The mini libraries are completely free of charge to the hospices, and comprise a fantastic range of fiction and non-fiction titles by bestselling authors and the biggest names in the publishing world. Listening Books are creating a web page about their hospice project, so anyone who is interested in supporting it can find out more at  


I visited the Isle of Man for an event in support of the Isle of Man Fund for the Blind. Listen to my interview with Geraldine Jamison (above right) at

The report below is from the Isle of Man Examiner, 21st December 2010.


I was filmed in her library at home, where I work, for 'The Write Place' feature for The Book Show on Sky Arts, which was broadcast on 18th November 2010.  You can read a transcript below.

Historian Alison Weir reveals secrets of her writing process and ornaments and pictures that provide inspiration...

'I'm sitting in my house in Carshalton in Surrey; it's a lovely peaceful place in which to work. It's wonderful to have a room like this, as for the first time I have all my books in one place. This is my history library, all the books are filed around the room in chronological order and most of them are history books about the British monarchy. Reference books are by my desk, behind there are art books, costume books, records - I'm a collector of rock music and memorabilia - and DVDs and videos. This is not just a library, it's a family room, and I have to say there is a lot of competition for using it.

Around the room are many pictures and ornaments, nearly all of them have some sentimental or historical significance for me. For example, statues of the six wives of Henry VIII: people might think they're rather twee, but I think they're lovely. Pictures of my children are all around; there's a portrait of my mother at 19, and the six wives of Henry VIII on Royal Doulton plates. The relief of Richard III up there reminds me of a lovely outing to Middleham Castle in Yorkshire, I'm passionately interested in that particular period; I wrote a book on the Princes in the Tower. Everywhere I look in this room there's probably a story behind every object.

I've been doing historical projects for many years now, this is the first (see photo above) and it is one I am often asked about. It is a biography of Anne Boleyn and it was written when I was 15; some of it is based on original sources. It was all written by hand; some pictures are now falling out - that's one of the old fourpenny postcards from the National Portrait Gallery. There's an appendix with a letter said to be from Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII, and from Anne to Wolsey. I even did an index. But it's certainly not suitable for publication!

I work rather differently now from the way I used to. My book Katherine Swynford came out in 2007 and these two lever arch files are the research for it. There are reams and reams all under date headings, so it's roughly researched into draft and that used to be normal for any book that I wrote. Sarah Gristwood, a very good historian friend of mine said to me, "Why do you do your books that way? I do my books in a different way. I write a skeleton outline of the story on a word processor and add in research, and build it that way." And since then that's the way I do my history books.

When I'm writing, I'm gone, I'm absolutely lost in it. The world disappears and I live it, I'm there and I'm involved in it; I'm on a journey with my subject and it's literally going into the unknown.'




Libraries are wonderful places. They are the gateway not only to learning but also to endless hours of pleasurable discovery and exciting ventures into other worlds. Whem I was a teenager at the City of London School for Girls, I spent every available minute in the school's excellent library, absorbed in historical research. (I should add - or perhaps I shouldn't - that I was often meant to be doing something else at the time!) In my leisure time, I would ferret away for hours in my local reference libraries and was forever borrowing huge piles of books. Nowadays, my children are amused to hear how their eccentric mother spent her youth. 'You spent the Sixties in a library??' my daughter asks, laughing. But it was wonderful, every minute of it. Because, for me, libraries opened the door to the past. And the last laugh is mine, because all those years of research and detective work led to my becoming a published author and historian. Queen Elizabeth's motto was carpe diem - seize the day. We all have the privilege of access to libraries, many with state-of-the-art facilities. My advice to you is to use them, and use them well, because not only will you assuredly reap the benefits in the future, but you will also be helping to preserve our libraries for future generations.   


My Quick Reads book, Traitors of the Tower, was published, and in the morning I did an event with adult learners at Foyles in the Westfield Centre, Shepherd's Bush, which was attended by H.R.H. The Duchess of Cornwall. In the afternoon, I attended a reception hosted by Sarah Brown at 10 Downing Street, for those involved in Quick Reads and other literacy initiatives.


I recorded several interviews at the National Gallery about Paul Delaroche's depiction of the execution of Lady Jane Grey. You may have seen me talking about the picture on BBC 4 and BBC Worldwide news, and you can catch up with my interview on Woman's Hour at



I formally opened the restored Elizabethan Smythe Barn at Westenhanger Castle in Kent, and would like to bring this little-known gem of a castle to the notice of anyone with an interest in Rosamund de Clifford, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, USA.



I published one of her ghost stories, Anniversary, in the August 2009 edition of Woman and Home.


In the June 2008 issue of BBC History Magazine, you can read how I and Tracy Borman discovered an unknown portrait of Elizabeth I as princess, a rare find indeed!



The full text of my original paper on this portrait can be read on the Read More... page linked to Children of England in the new Books pages.