Books

A Tudor Christmas

Alison Weir (and others)

Christmas in Tudor times was a period of feasting, revelry and merrymaking ‘to drive the cold winter away’. A carnival atmosphere presided at court, with a twelve-day-long festival of entertainments, pageants, theatre productions and ‘disguisings’, when even the king and queen dressed up in costume to fool their courtiers. Throughout the festive season, all ranks of subjects were freed for a short time from everyday cares to indulge in eating, drinking, dancing and game-playing.

We might assume that our modern Christmas owes much to the Victorians. In fact, as Alison Weir and Siobhan Clarke reveal in this fascinating book, many of our favourite Christmas traditions date back much further. Carol-singing, present-giving, mulled wine and mince pies were all just as popular in Tudor times, and even Father Christmas and roast turkey dinners have their origins in this period. The festival was so beloved by English people that Christmas traditions survived remarkably unchanged in this age of tumultuous religious upheaval.

Beautifully illustrated with original line drawings throughout, this enchanting compendium will fascinate anyone with an interest in Tudor life – and anyone who loves Christmas.

Queens of the Conquest

Alison Weir

A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year

The story of England’s medieval queens is vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, high drama and even comedy. It 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. In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England’s queens 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.

Much more than a series of individual biographies, Queens of the Conquest is a seamless tale of interconnected lives and a rich portrait of English history in a time of flux. In Alison Weir’s hands these five extraordinary women reclaim their rightful roles at the centre of English history.

The Lost Tudor Princess

Alison Weir

‘Alison Weir's sound scholarship and storyteller's gift for rich, telling detail constantly engages and enthrals the reader’ The Times

The captivating life of Margaret Douglas - a life of scandal, political intrigue and royal romance that spanned five Tudor reigns.

Royal Tudor blood ran in her veins. Some thought Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, should be queen of England.

She ranked high at the court of her uncle, Henry VIII, and was lady of honour to five of his wives. Beautiful and tempestuous, she created scandal - twice - by falling in love with unsuitable men.

Throughout her life her dynastic ties to two crowns proved hazardous. A born political intriguer, she was imprisoned in the Tower of London three times, once under sentence of death. Her husband and son were brutally murdered, she warred with two queens, and proved instrumental in securing the Stuart succession to the throne of England for her grandson.

Alison Weir brings Margaret Douglas's captivating character out of the shadows for the first time.

The Marriage Game

Alison Weir

Bestselling historian Alison Weir brings Elizabeth I to vivid life in a novel of intrigue, sex, plots, mysteries and tragedies, amid all the colour and pageantry of the Tudor court.

'[Weir] gets right inside the head of the Virgin Queen. The reader has a blissful sense of seeing history as it happens.' - Kate Saunders, The Times

It was an affair that shocked the world.

Elizabeth I is the most sought-after bride in Europe. But though she is formidably intelligent, brave and tempestuous, she is desperately insecure. The tragic events in her past mean she cannot give herself to any man, and yet she relishes the thrill of the chase, the lure of forbidden fruit.

And so, using sex and high-powered diplomacy, she plays what becomes known as the 'Marriage Game', dangling suitors to keep them friendly to her kingdom, while holding them off indefinitely.
But playing this tantalising game with the married Robert Dudley, the son and grandson of traitors, could cost her the throne…

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower

Alison Weir

Includes a new foreword by the author

The story of the death, in sinister circumstances, of the boy-king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, is one of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. It is a tale with profound moral and social consequences, rich in drama, intrigue, treason, scandal and violence.

In this gripping book Alison Weir re-examines all the evidence - including that against the Princes' uncle, Richard III, whose body was recently discovered beneath a Leicester car park. She brilliantly reconstructs the whole chain of events leading to their murder and reveals how, why and by whose order they died.

Previously published as The Princes in the Tower

Elizabeth of York

Alison Weir

Weir perfectly combines the dramatic colour and timing of an historical novelist with the truth to fact of a scrupulous historian’ The Times

Britain’s foremost female historian reveals the true story of this key figure in the Wars of the Roses and the Tudor dynasty who began life a princess, spent her youth as a bastard fugitive, but who finally married the first Tudor king and was the mother of Henry VIII.

Elizabeth of York would have ruled England, but for the fact that she was a woman. Heiress to the royal House of York, she schemed to marry Richard III, the man who had deposed and probably killed her brothers, and it is possible that she then conspired to put Henry Tudor on the throne.

Yet after marriage to Henry VII, which united the royal houses of Lancaster and York, a picture emerges of a model consort - mild, pious, generous and fruitful. It has been said that Elizabeth was distrusted by Henry VII and her formidable mother-in-law, Margaret Beaufort, but contemporary evidence shows that Elizabeth was, in fact, influential.

Alison Weir builds an intriguing portrait of this beloved queen, placing her in the context of the magnificent, ceremonious, often brutal, world she inhabited, and revealing the woman behind the myth.

A Dangerous Inheritance

Alison Weir

Two women separated by time are linked by the most famous murder mystery in history, the Princes in the Tower.

Lady Katherine Grey has already suffered more than her fair share of tragedy. Newly pregnant, she has incurred the wrath of her formidable cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, who sees her as a rival to her insecure throne.

Alone in her chamber in the Tower, she finds old papers belonging to a kinswoman of hers, Kate Plantagenet, who forty years previously had embarked on a dangerous quest to find what really happened to her cousins, the two young Princes who had last been seen as captives in the Tower.

But time is not on Kate's side - nor on Katherine's either ...

Mary Boleyn

Alison Weir

Sister to Anne Boleyn and seduced by two kings, Mary Boleyn has long been the subject of scandal and myth. Her affair with Henry VIII fuelled the shocking annulment of his marriage to Anne, and Mary is rumoured to have borne his child in secret.

In this, the first full-length biography of Mary Boleyn, Alison Weir explodes much of the mythology that surrounds her subject's notoriety. Her extensive research gives us a new and detailed portrayal, revealing Mary as one of hte most misunderstood figures of the Tudor age.

From the internationally bestselling author of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Isabella

Alison Weir

Described by Christopher Marlowe as the 'She-Wolf of France', Isabella was one of the most notorious femme fatales in history. According to popular legend, her angry ghost can be glimpsed among church ruins, clutching the beating heart of her murdered husband. But how did Isabella aquire this reputation?

Born in 1292 she married Edward II of England but was constantly humiliated by his relationships with male favourites and she lived adulterously with Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. Had it not been for her unfaithfulness, history might have immortalised her as a liberator- the saviour who unshackled England from a weak and vicious monarch.

Dramatic and startling this first full-length biography of Isabella will change the way we think of her and her world forever.

The Captive Queen and Eleanor of Aquitaine

Alison Weir

A special bundle of one fiction and one non-fiction title from bestselling historian Alison Weir, both exploring the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

The Captive Queen:

It is the year 1152 and a beautiful woman of thirty, attended by only a small armed escort, is riding southwards through what is now France, leaving behind her crown, her two young daughters and a shattered marriage to Louis of France, who had been more like a monk than a king, and certainly not much of a lover. This woman is Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, and her sole purpose now is to return to her vast duchy and marry the man she loves, Henry Plantagenet, a man destined for greatness as King of England. Theirs is a union founded on lust which will create a great empire stretching from the wilds of Scotland to the Pyrenees. It will also create the devil's brood of Plantagenets - including Richard Cœur de Lion and King John - and the most notoriously vicious marriage in history.

Eleanor of Aquitaine:

Wife of Louis VII of France and subsequently of Henry II of England and mother of Richard the Lionheart, Eleanor played a prominent part in the politics of the 12th century. In her biography, Alison Weir brings all the colour and ever-present dangers of Eleanor's world to life, filling the text with absorbing background detail and revelatory contemporary anecdotes. The result is a fresh and thoughtful perspective on the energetic 82 years of life of a determined and ambitious woman living with the sexism, excesses and violence of a society in which the word of a single man could condemn thousands to be put to death.

The Captive Queen

Alison Weir

It is the year 1152, and a beautiful woman rides through France, fleeing her crown, her two young daughters and a shattered marriage.

Her husband, Louis of France has been more monk than monarch, and certainly not a lover. Now Eleanor of Aquitaine has one sole purpose: to return to her duchy and marry the man she loves, Henry Plantagenet, destined for greatness as King of England. It will be a union founded on lust, renowned as one of the most vicious marriages in history, and it will go on to forge a great empire and a devilish brood.

This is a story of the making of nations, and of passionate conflicts: between Henry II and Thomas Becket; between Eleanor and Henry's formidable mother Matilda; between father and sons, as Henry's children take up arms against him - and finally between Henry and Eleanor herself.

The Princes In The Tower

Alison Weir

The story of the death, in sinister circumstances, of the boy-king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, is one of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. It is a tale with profound moral and social consequences, rich in drama, intrigue, treason, scandal and violence.

In this gripping book Alison Weir re-examines all the evidence - including that against the Princes' uncle, Richard III, whose body was recently discovered beneath a Leicester car park. She brilliantly reconstructs the whole chain of events leading to their murder and reveals how, why and by whose order they died.

The Ring and the Crown

Alison Weir (and others)

As we look forward to the marriage of Harry to Meghan Markle, this book takes an informative and entertaining look back at royal weddings throughout English history.

Anticipation is mounting. The union of Prince Harry and US-born actress and human rights activist Meghan Markle draws closer. What will her dress look like? Who will be on the guest list? And what about the music, the food, the venue?

The Ring and the Crown is the definitive compilation of royal weddings through the ages by four of Britain’s preeminent historical biographers. Alison Weir takes us through medieval, Tudor and Stuart celebrations; Kate Williams illuminates us with Georgian and Victorian nuptials. Sarah Gristwood takes over the baton in 1919, when Westminster Abbey was reinstated as the traditional venue for royal brides and grooms; and Tracy Borman brings us right up to date with Kate and William’s unforgettable ceremony in 2011.

Vivid and dramatic, fascinating and funny, this book covers all types of weddings: from public celebrations surrounded by fanfare, to poignant and private unions, to secret engagements. Full of captivating anecdotal details and carefully selected illustrations, The Ring and the Crown is the ultimate compendium of royal romances.

Elizabeth, The Queen and The Lady Elizabeth

Alison Weir

A special bundle of one fiction and one non-fiction title from betselling historian Alison Weir, both centred around Elizabeth I:

The Lady Elizabeth:

England, 1536. Home to the greatest, most glittering court in English history. But beneath the dazzling façade lies treachery... Elizabeth Tudor is daughter to Henry VIII, the most powerful king England has ever known. She is destined to ascend the throne, and deferred to as the King`s heiress, but that all changes when her mother Anne Boleyn - Henry`s great passion and folly - is executed for treason. A pawn in the savage game of Tudor power politics, she is disinherited, declared a bastard, and left with only her quick wits to rely on for her very existence. But Elizabeth is determined to survive, to foil those who want to destroy her, or who are determined to use her as a puppet for their own lethal ambition, and to reclaim her birthright...

Elizabeth, the Queen:

This book begins as the young Elizabeth ascends the throne in the wake of her sister Mary's disastrous reign. Elizabeth is portrayed as both a woman and a queen, an extraordinary phenomenon in a patriarchal age. Alison Weir writes of Elizabeth's intriguing, long-standing affair with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, of her dealings - sometimes comical, sometimes poignant - with her many suitors, of her rivalry with Mary, Queen of Scots, and of her bizarre relationship with the Earl of Essex, thirty years her junior.

Rich in detail, vivid and colourful, this book comes as close as we shall ever get to knowing what Elizabeth I was like as a person.

The Lady In The Tower

Alison Weir

On 2 May, 1536, in an act unprecedented in English history, Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, was imprisoned in the Tower of London. On 15 May, she was tried and found guilty of high treason and executed just four days later. Mystery surrounds the circumstances leading up to her arrest - did Henry VIII instruct Thomas Cromwell to fabricate evidence to get rid of her so that he could marry Jane Seymour? Did Cromwell, for reasons of his own, construct a case against Anne and her faction, and then present compelling evidence before the King? Or was Anne, in fact, as guilty as charged?

Never before has there been a book devoted entirely to Anne Boleyn's fall; now in Alison Weir's richly researched and impressively detailed portrait, we have a compelling story of the last days of history's most charismatic, controversial and tragic heroines.

Traitors of the Tower

Alison Weir

More than four hundred years ago, seven people were beheaded in the Tower of London. Three had been queens of England. The others were found guilty of treason. Why were such important people put to death?

Alison Weir's gripping book tells their stories: from the former friend betrayed by a man set on being king, to the young girl killed after just nine days on the throne. Traitors of the Tower is a short, sharp shot of royal revenge from the master of popular history and one of Britain's top-selling historians, Alison Weir.

'Weir provides immense satisfaction. She writes in a pacy, vivid style, engaging the heart as well as the mind' Independent

Lancaster And York

Alison Weir

The war between the houses of Lancaster and York for the throne of England was characterised by treachery, deceit and - at St Albans, Blore Hill and Towton, - some of the bloodiest and most dramatic battles on England's soil. Between 1455 and 1487 the royal coffers were bankrupted and the conflict resulted in the downfall of the houses of Lancaster and York and the emergence of the illustrious Tudor dynasty.

Alison Weir's lucid and gripping account focuses on the human side of history, on the people and personalities involved in the conflict. At the centre of the book stands Henry VI, the pious king whose mental instability led to political chaos, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York and Henry's rival, and most important of all, Margaret of Anjou, Henry's wife who took up her arms in her husband's cause and battled for many years in a violent man's world.

The Lady Elizabeth

Alison Weir

England, 1536. Home to the greatest, most glittering court in English history. But beneath the dazzling façade lies treachery . . .

Elizabeth Tudor is daughter to Henry VIII, the most powerful king England has ever known. She is destined to ascend the throne, and deferred to as the King's heiress, but that all changes when her mother Anne Boleyn - Henry`s great passion and folly - is executed for treason.

Elizabeth 's life alters in a heartbeat. A pawn in the savage game of Tudor power politics, she is disinherited, declared a bastard, and left with only her quick wits to rely on for her very existence. But Elizabeth is determined to survive, to foil those who want to destroy her, or who are determined to use her as a puppet for their own lethal ambition, and to reclaim her birthright . . .

Elizabeth, The Queen

Alison Weir

In her highly praised The Six Wives of Henry VIII and its sequel, Children of England, Alison Weir examined the private lives of the early Tudor kings and queens, and chronicled the childhood and youth of one of England's most successful monarchs, Elizabeth I.

This book begins as the young Elizabeth ascends the throne in the wake of her sister Mary's disastrous reign. Elizabeth is portrayed as both a woman and a queen, an extraordinary phenomenon in a patriarchal age. Alison Weir writes of Elizabeth's intriguing, long-standing affair with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, of her dealings - sometimes comical, sometimes poignant - with her many suitors, of her rivalry with Mary, Queen of Scots, and of her bizarre relationship with the Earl of Essex, thirty years her junior.

Rich in detail, vivid and colourful, this book comes as close as we shall ever get to knowing what Elizabeth I was like as a person.

Britain's Royal Families

Alison Weir

Fascinating and authoritative of Britain's royal families from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I to Queen Victoria, by leading popular historian Alison Weir

'George III is alleged to have married secretly, on 17th April, 1759, a Quakeress called Hannah Lightfoot. If George III did make such a marriage…then his subsequent marriage to Queen Charlotte was bigamous, and every monarch of Britain since has been a usurper, the rightful heirs of George III being his children by Hannah Lightfoot...'

Britain's Royal Families provides in one volume, complete genealogical details of all members of the royal houses of England, Scotland and Great Britain - from 800AD to the present. Drawing on countless authorities, both ancient and modern, Alison Weir explores the crown and royal family tree in unprecedented depth and provides a comprehensive guide to the heritage of today's royal family – with fascinating insight and often scandalous secrets.

'Staggeringly useful... combines solid information with tantalising appetisers.’ Mail on Sunday

Alison Weir

Biography

Alison Weir is one of Britain’s top-selling historians. She is the author of numerous works of history and historical fiction, specialising in the medieval and Tudor periods. Her bestselling history books include The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth of York and, most recently, The Lost Tudor Princess. Her novels include Innocent Traitor, Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen and Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession. She is an Honorary Life Patron of Historic Royal Palaces. She is married with two adult children and lives and works in Surrey.