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Talks and Lectures

Historic Royal Palaces

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Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. Our aim is to help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shape...Show More

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Sacred music and the Reformation

1:02:38 | May 17th, 2017

As part of our Power and Performance series, Jeremy Summerly and historian Lauren Johnson discuss how Henry VIII shaped his own image and reinforced his new religion using sacred music. Jeremy Summerly is a BBC broadcaster and the director of Music a...Show More

Lucy Worsley's Favourite Queen

1:04:21 | Nov 16th, 2017

Join Historic Royal Palaces' Chief Curator, Lucy Worsley, for an evening talk on the tragic and neglected Queen Caroline, wife of King George II. Discover the secrets of Georgian royal life and how Queen Caroline shaped society as we know it today. ...Show More

New perspectives on the Tower and the Medieval Jewish community

56:38 | Apr 30th

Join Dr Lucy Worsley as she chairs a debate on the fascinating and relatively unknown relationship between the Jewish community and the Tower of London.   Inspired by brand new curatorial research, discover the history of the medieval Jewish communit...Show More

How we used to talk about… Women

58:50 | Mar 8th

Marking 100 years since the first female emancipation laws, this podcast explores the changing use of language regarding women in British society. We ask whether the way women are talked about has really changed in the last 1000 years? Join @Histor...Show More

Brunchtime Lecture: Queen Victoria on TV

36:06 | Dec 21st, 2017

Discover the secrets behind the popular ITV series 'Victoria' with series Production Designer Michael Howells as he discusses bringing these royal stories to our screens with Historic Royal Palaces' Collections Curator, Matthew Storey. Recorded at...Show More

Gossip and Rumour in Elizabeth I’s Court

55:18 | Dec 14th, 2017

Anna Whitelock, historian, broadcaster and reader in early modern history at Royal Holloway, University of London, explores how Elizabeth I confidently and cleverly used her gender to manipulate a court filled with men. What of the female members ...Show More

The Eltham Rules

47:35 | Dec 7th, 2017

Join Chris Gidlow, writer and Live Interpretation Manager for Historic Royal Palaces, as he explores The Eltham ordinances. Written in 1526 by Cardinal Wolsey, The Eltham ordinances were detailed rules for ‘the establishment of good order and reforma...Show More

Tudor Dress and Courtly Power

43:15 | Nov 23rd, 2017

Eleri Lynn, fashion historian, author and curator at Historic Royal Palaces, explores how fashion conveyed messages of status, power and authority in the Tudor court. When courtiers were subject to inevitable plots and rebellions, it was no surpr...Show More

Thomas Cromwell and the English Reformation

52:14 | Oct 25th, 2017

Join Tracy Borman, writer, historian and joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, as she explores the life of Thomas Cromwell, a man of many talents who quickly rose to favour at Henry’s court and dismantled the English Catholic church. Yet des...Show More

Brunchtime Lecture: Victoria & Abdul

49:26 | Oct 5th, 2017

Hear about the inspiration behind author Shrabani Basu's book Victoria & Abdul which is now a film starring Judi Dench (released 8th September). What truths informed her story and what can it tell us about Queen Victoria's relationships and influence...Show More

In Conversation with Yinka Shonibare

51:07 | Sep 22nd, 2017

Hear from Turner Prize nominee and artist Yinka Shonibare MBE in the King's State Apartments at Kensington Palace as he discusses his new work, Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina. Find out more about his work as an exploration o...Show More

How we used to talk about LGBTQ - “The Eternal Bachelor” and “The Game of Flats”

43:45 | Jul 27th, 2017

On the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, we explore historical views on homosexuality and same-sex relationships. We consider how we present same-sex relationships in a historical context and ask how far does the language and rhetoric...Show More

Encounters with the Tudors: behind-the-scenes

56:32 | Jun 13th, 2017

Go behind the scenes of Encounters with the Tudors, the daily costumed performances at Hampton Court Palace. Hear from the creators as they unlock the mysteries of how they transform historical moments into compelling immersive theatre. Talk recorded...Show More

Playing the Fool with Dr Suzannah Lipscomb

1:07:03 | Jun 6th, 2017

How does someone described as ‘foolish’ or ‘lacking judgement’ exert influence at the royal court? Court fools were prized entertainers and had favour and authority with the king. Henry’s court jester Will Somer had ‘admission to the King [at all tim...Show More

Plays of Persuasion

1:10:02 | May 8th, 2017

For the second talk in the Power and Performance series at Hampton Court, historians Thomas Betteridge and Lauren Johnson talk us through how drama was used as a tool for persuasion at the Tudor court. Plays were not only performed, but also used for...Show More

Anne Boleyn: musician and composer

40:07 | Apr 17th, 2017

As part of our latest series of talks on Power and Performance at Hampton Court Palace, join musician Tamsin Lewis to explore how Anne Boleyn’s keen ability as a musician and composer, influenced her role at court. Did it help her to silence her enem...Show More

Diana and David Sassoon

39:19 | Apr 10th, 2017

Designer David Sassoon explores his distinguished career with Collections Curator, Eleri Lynn. Through their conversation you’ll hear royal stories, design secrets and discover how he worked with Diana, Princess of Wales to create some of the Princes...Show More

Panto and Performance

42:23 | Jan 31st, 2017

Explore the world of Victorian pantomime, music hall, theatre and performance. Find out more about cross-dressing actors and backstage shenanigans in an era that brought entertainment to the masses. Hear from Kate Howard, historian and Creative Direc...Show More

Curious Connections...Jewish history of the Tower

1:15:04 | Jan 27th, 2017

Join our panel as they explore the part the Tower of London played in Jewish history from 1066 to the modern day.

Curious Connections... Migration and mobility

1:21:08 | Jan 17th, 2017

Join our panel as they explore the role London has played as a home for migrants throughout history, and what the recent EU referendum could mean for the diversity of the city now and in the future.

At Home with the Royal Tudors

1:07:54 | Dec 27th, 2016

Explore the private lives of the Tudors with a talk from Tracy Borman, Joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces.

The Making of a Monarch

1:01:32 | Dec 21st, 2016

Find out about the early years of Henry VIII and the creation of the famous king we know so well today. Join historian Lauren Johnson and explore the journey of modest prince to bold king.

The Rise of Christmas Shopping

47:09 | Dec 17th, 2016

Join historian Mark Connelly to explore the development of the festive shopping period as we know it.

Henry VIII's Six Wives

1:30:59 | Dec 8th, 2016

Go behind the scenes with Lucy Worsley in her latest BBC 3-part series Henry VIII’s Six Wives. In a world run by men, meet Henry’s queens and discover their own methods of exerting influence at court.  Explore a unique approach to drama and history, ...Show More

What's Under Your Feet?

1:09:57 | Nov 28th, 2016

Discover the results of Hillsborough Castle's Summer Archaeology Dig with experts from Northern Archaeological Consultancy Ltd. What can we tell from the items and burials uncovered? What can the findings suggest was here before the Hill family?

Summer Garden Nights: gardens and rest

1:20:03 | Oct 26th, 2016

We celebrate garden in this talks series at Hampton Court Palace.

Summer Garden Night: gardens and work

1:48:32 | Oct 21st, 2016

We celebrate gardens in this series of talks at Hampton Court Palace.

Famous Fool: who was William Somers?

37:25 | Jan 4th, 2016

William Somers instantly won Henry VIII over with his wicked sense of humour and was offered a place as the King’s court jester in 1525, but his comedic streak pushed boundaries nearly prematurely ending his life! Join writer Tracy Borman as we expl...Show More

Great Scout: who was Lady Baden-Powell?

37:43 | Jan 4th, 2016

Actively involved in the scouting movement during the First World War, Lady Baden-Powell began recruiting and organising Girl Guides. She was known at Hampton Court for her entertaining and, with the aid of her ‘Home Office’ staff, hosted regular lun...Show More

Political Squabbler: who was Lord Hervey?

34:19 | Jan 4th, 2016

Lord Hervey was a courtier to Queen Caroline in the Hanoverian court. With an insight into family squabbles, he is well-known for his detailed and brutally frank memoirs of court. Join us for this talk as we explore the life and gossip of Hervey’s l...Show More

The Queen’s Dwarf: who was Jeffrey Hudson?

40:12 | Jan 4th, 2016

Famous as Henrietta Maria’s "Queen's dwarf", 18 inch tall Jeffrey Hudson was considered one of the wonders of the age. Join historian Chris Gidlow at Hampton Court Palace to discover more about one of the lesser known characters in the palace's hist...Show More

Curious Connections: death and the graveyard

1:11:40 | Oct 15th, 2015

Why do over 70% of us choose to be cremated? Is death the ultimate leveller or are there different rules for the rich and famous? And is there really much difference in how we treat bodies in the 21st century from the 11th century? The Tower of Lond...Show More

Hampton Court Palace: Tudor vs Baroque

1:34:53 | Sep 9th, 2015

Hampton Court is a palace of two halves - Cardinal Wolsey's red Tudors bricks and Sir Christopher Wren's stylish Baroque design. Join us in this discussion where we explore both sides of the palace. Which do you prefer?

Curious connections: image and leadership

1:11:03 | Jul 20th, 2015

What can we learn from the great leaders of history? This talk was recorded live at the Tower of London as part of our Curious Connections series, where experts are invited to look at modern issues through stories from the Tower's past.

Curious Connections: design and punishment

1:05:09 | Apr 20th, 2015

Designed as an imposing fortress, the Tower of London became a notorious prison. But what should modern prisons look like? And how does prison architecture affect the behaviour, psychology, and relationships of prisoners, staff, and communities? Join...Show More

The long-awaited son is born!

1:10:54 | Mar 2nd, 2015

Journalist Samira Ahmed chairs a discussion centred around Henry VIII’s quest for a male heir and his success with the birth of Edward VI. Chief Curator Lucy Worsley, Chaplain Denis Mulliner and BBC TV Producer Rachel Jardine unravel the ravel the pr...Show More

Charles I - the 'must have' monarch

18:14 | Dec 9th, 2014

Charles I is remembered as much for his art collection as he is for anything else. In this podcast, Historic Royal Palaces' Collections Curator Brett Dolman looks at Charles's collection more closely, while psychotherapist Philippa Perry analyses our...Show More

Meet the masters

1:14:13 | Dec 4th, 2014

Join Andrew Graham-Dixon in a panel discussion analysing the lives of iconic artists Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Caravaggio. This talk was recorded ahead of the launch of the Cumberland Art Gallery, which is now open to the public.

Curious Connections: war and friendship

1:12:01 | Nov 11th, 2014

From the men who enlisted in the Tower’s moat in 1914, to today’s troops who communicate with loved ones via Facebook, this talk analyses war relationships through the ages. Tower Yeoman Warder Andy Merry gives a first-hand account of life in the Ro...Show More

Curious Connections: spies and us

59:13 | Oct 30th, 2014

From the 11 spies executed at the Tower of London in 1914, to spying in today's digital age, espionage has long been an intriguing practice. Hear Tower Collections Curator Sally Dixon-Smith and professor of international security Richard J Aldrich d...Show More

Glorious Georges: who was the most glorious Georgian?

1:18:46 | Sep 18th, 2014

Curators from the recent Georgian exhibitions at the British Library, the Royal Collection, the V&A and Historic Royal Palaces, including Lucy Worsley, put their case forward for who was the most glorious Georgian. Chief Executive of Historic Royal ...Show More

Glorious Georges: Flattery and scandal

44:25 | Sep 18th, 2014

From flattery to scandals, and a string of mistresses, this eye-opening talk by curator Tracy Borman reveals the habits George I brought with him from Hanover, and what went into serving his court.

Glorious Georges: Georgian London

26:59 | Sep 18th, 2014

18th-century London was a tribal city of different districts, each with their own unique style and secrets. Historian Matthew Green leads us into the intriguing world of royal St James’s during this enlightening talk held at Kensington Palace.

Glorious Georges: The First Georges

46:40 | Jun 9th, 2014

In the first podcast in the Glorious Georges series, Chief Curator Lucy Worsley takes a sneak peek behind the scenes of the BBC Four series, The First Georgians. Learn about the German kings who made Britain and the legacy of the Hanoverian dynasty ...Show More

Expulsion: England’s Jewish Solution - Richard Huscroft, Megan Gooch

1:03:36 | Sep 19th, 2013

In 1290 England became the first nation to expel a Jewish community, which had then been established for over 200 years. Edward I forcibly removed the community from the borders, in particular accusing Jewish moneylenders of illicitly ‘clipping’ coin...Show More

Recreating Anne Boleyn's Gateway

40:10 | Jun 20th, 2013

Judges described it as 'an intelligent, sympathetic solution' which was 'beautifully resolved'. Wood carved patterns to panels, spandrels and mouldings, complex traditional wrought ironwork with a modern twist were all used to create the Anne Boleyn ...Show More

Henrietta Howard and Marble Hill House - Tracy Borman

37:18 | May 26th, 2013

Historic Royal Palaces Chief Curator, Tracy Borman, uncovers the extraordinary life of Henrietta Howard, mistress of George II and servant to Queen Caroline.

Births, marriages and deaths: Rituals of the royal bedchamber - Dr Olivia Fryman

39:32 | May 25th, 2013

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the royal bed was a site of utmost political significance. It was the place where newly-weds were bedded, babies were born and ageing monarchs died – events that had important consequences for the nation. Dr Olivia...Show More

Coronations 1509-1559 - Dr Alice Hunt

53:35 | May 25th, 2013

The coronation was, and still is, one of the most important ceremonies of a monarch’s reign. Dr Alice Hunt examines the 16th-century coronations of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, showing how they responded to monarchical...Show More

Understanding Richard III - Michael Hicks

31:32 | May 22nd, 2013

Last September, archaeologists from the University of Leicester unearthed a momentous discovery, now confirmed as the skeleton of Richard III. In light of this, Shakespeare's slanderous and enduring portrayal of a murderous and physically deformed Ki...Show More

Newton and the counterfeiter - Thomas Levenson

58:53 | May 22nd, 2013

In 1696, after a glittering scientific career, Isaac Newton became Warden of the Mint, based at the Tower. England’s currency was then in disarray, not least owing to the growing crime of counterfeiting. So began a personal and bitter struggle betwee...Show More

Discovering Richard III - Dr Richard Buckley

39:06 | May 22nd, 2013

Last September,archaeologists from the University of Leicester unearthed a momentous discovery, now confirmed as the skeleton of Richard III. In light of this, Shakespeare’s slanderous and enduring portrayal of a murderous and physically deformed Kin...Show More

Michael Day: 100 years of conserving the past

5:42 | Feb 28th, 2013

Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry launches Historic Royal Palaces' year long celebration of 100 years of conservation, in the historic setting of Banqueting House Whitehall. In his speech 'Time: craftsman or vandal?' he admits to being 'hum...Show More

"Time: craftsman or vandal?" by Grayson Perry

16:10 | Feb 28th, 2013

Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry launches Historic Royal Palaces' year long celebration of 100 years of conservation, in the historic setting of Banqueting House Whitehall. In his speech 'Time: craftsman or vandal?' he admits to being 'hum...Show More

A Renaissance Education, Thomas More's daughter - John Guy

1:05:46 | Dec 10th, 2012

The Tudor era welcomed a new dawn in education, spearheaded not least by Thomas More. Henry VIII’s one time favoured councillor insisted his daughters be properly schooled, and his eldest Margaret proved an especially able pupil. John Guy will tell o...Show More

Bring up the bodies - Hilary Mantel

1:06:24 | Oct 25th, 2012

1535. Anne Boleyn has failed to produce an heir for Henry, and the King has fallen for another. Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith’s son turned Chief Minister, must find a way to make Jane Seymour the queen consort — but in doing so will engineer the b...Show More

The secrets of success: Women in power - Jane Garvey

1:30:37 | Oct 25th, 2012

Historically women and power have had an uneasy relationship, to which the Tower bares vivid testament. Even today, women are a minority in the boardroom. Chaired by Jane Garvey, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’, a panel including social sci...Show More

Queens consort: England's medieval queens - Lisa Hilton

53:59 | Oct 25th, 2012

Occupying a unique position in the turbulent world of medieval state-craft, English queens had to negotiate a role that combined tremendous influence with terrifying vulnerability. Acclaimed author Lisa Hilton will explore the lives of the twenty wom...Show More

Great Food - Pen Vogler

1:04:10 | Oct 25th, 2012

Editor of Penguin’s ‘Great Food’ series, Pen Vogler has brought together the most delicious food writing from history, from Mrs Beeton to Samuel Pepys’s The Joys of Excess. Join her to find out about food through the ages and the challenges of recrea...Show More

Behind the masque - Dr Anne Daye

1:01:06 | Oct 15th, 2012

This week the Adult Learning programme came to Banqueting House, Whitehall, for a look at the masques of the early Stuart court. An elaborate form of court entertainment, combining dance, theatre and a fancy dress ball, they were staged regularly at ...Show More

Queen Anne: The politics of passion

41:01 | Oct 3rd, 2012

Eminent biographer Anne Somerset regaled us with the life and times of her historical namesake, Queen Anne. One of our less well known monarchs, Queen Anne actually had a very colourful reign: despite illness, several miscarriages and the death of he...Show More

Harlots, housewives and heroines: A 17th-century history for girls

55:31 | Oct 3rd, 2012

Eleanor Scoones and our own Lucy Worsley took to the Clore Learning Centre stage to tell us all about Lucy’s latest venture onto our TV screens Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls. Eleanor, a producer and director on th...Show More

Hampton Court Palace - Terracotta Roundels

26:57 | Sep 9th, 2012

Hampton Court Palace is home to eleven terracotta roundels containing busts of the Roman Emperors. They were made by the Florentine sculptor Giovanni da Maiano in 1521, on a commission by Cardinal Wolsey. Although they have been moved several times, ...Show More

The body of Queen Anne - Dr Anna Whitelock

54:19 | Jun 29th, 2012

The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned explores the sensual women of the late Stuart Court, telling their stories of glamour, celebrity, love and beauty secrets. These are very modern preoccupations from which some queens, not least Queen Anne, herse...Show More

Unhealthy Histories - Julia Hyland

38:13 | Jun 29th, 2012

SYPHILIS AT THE COURT OF CHARLES II There were two sides to life at the court of Charles II, the glamorous elegance of fashionable court life, alongside the debauched reality of 17th-century behaviour. Throughout these hedonistic times, syphilis was ...Show More

Crown and Camera - Dr Sophie Gordon

54:24 | Jun 6th, 2012

‘What a blessed invention photography is!’— Queen Victoria, 20 March 1859 Dr Sophie Gordon on the history of early photography in this country through the images of Victoria and Albert as both collectors and sitters.There are over 400,000 photogra...Show More

The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and Her People - Andrew Marr

1:06:18 | May 28th, 2012

The English Monarchy is an ancient institution, dating back around 1,200 years. Today, England is the only European country where the monarch is still crowned according to an ancient coronation rite. In this insightful talk, distinguished journalist ...Show More

Beauty in the reign of Charles II - Stefania Crowther (Taster)

11:23 | May 25th, 2012

Sir Peter Lely’s ‘Windsor Beauties’ show Stuart women with translucent skin, appearing as ‘natural beauties’, free of cosmetics. Was this a 17th-century equivalent of airbrushing or did these women have sophisticated cosmetics at their disposal?The 1...Show More

The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned - Brett Dolman

16:31 | May 25th, 2012

The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned explores the different meanings and uses of ‘beauty’ at the late Stuart Court. This is a sensual story of beautiful women, of beautiful art, of glamour, celebrity and love, and of beauty secrets, lust, infidelit...Show More

The Jewel in the Crown 2 - Harbinder Singh + Q&A

45:53 | Apr 27th, 2012

Harbinder Singh from the Anglo-Sikh Heritage Trail and HRP Curator Sally Dixon-Smith explore the significance of the Koh-i-Nûr diamond. Harbinder discusses the diamond’s place in Indian history, specifically focusing on the Sikh rulers, whilst Sally ...Show More

The Jewel in the Crown 1 - Sally Dixon Smith

21:46 | Apr 27th, 2012

HRP Curator Sally Dixon-Smith explore the significance of the Koh-i-Nûr diamond. Harbinder discusses the diamond’s place in Indian history, specifically focusing on the Sikh rulers, whilst Sally talks about the current position of the stone within th...Show More

Judgement, Respectability and Comfort at the Georgian Dinner Table - Dr Annie Gray

56:22 | Apr 25th, 2012

Food historian Dr Annie Gray presents an evening dedicated to the food and etiquette of the Georgian dinner party, from the agony of the housewife, to the delight of the honoured guest. Ranging from the King’s dinners, through those of his subjects, ...Show More

Fashion, Entertainment and Performance at the late Stuart Court - Dr.Olivia Fryman

33:36 | Apr 19th, 2012

Join Olivia Fryman, co-author of Beauty, Sex and Power: A Story of Debauchery and Decadent Art at the Late Stuart Court (1660 – 1714) as she talks about court rules of fashion and etiquette, and how they were understood during the late 17th century. ...Show More

Tijou Screens at Hampton Court Palace - Susanne Groom

6:53 | Jan 24th, 2012

Our curator Susanne Groom presents an introduction to the Tijou Screens at Hampton Court Palace. Jean Tijou's most notable work was the twelve panels of the screen, which bears his name, and can be seen, where it was installed in 1701, at the river e...Show More

Contemporary Fashion Inspired by the Richness of Royal History - Alexandra Kim

24:24 | Jan 24th, 2012

"By Royal Inspiration - Contemporary Fashion Inspired by the Richness of Royal History" by Alexandra Kim, Historic Royal Palaces Curator at Kensington Palace. The talk was given as introduction to "Fabric of Cultures", an exhibition of seven unique g...Show More

How we face death - Marc Vernon

39:03 | Jan 24th, 2012

In our rapidly changing world there are few certainties. Death is one of them, though talk around the subject is often dismissed as morbid. Historically, the situation was different: child mortality was high and life expectancy was short, making deat...Show More

How we face death - Sally Dixon-Smith

30:55 | Jan 24th, 2012

In our rapidly changing world there are few certainties. Death is one of them, though talk around the subject is often dismissed as morbid. Historically, the situation was different: child mortality was high and life expectancy was short, making deat...Show More

Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror - Tracy Borman and Chris Gidlow

22:14 | Jan 24th, 2012

Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror, was the first woman to be crowned Queen of England and formally recognised as such by her subjects. Tracy Borman’s new book, Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror, is the first major biography of this exc...Show More

Christmas Dinner: From Edward I to Edward VII - Dr.Annie Gray

1:05:25 | Jan 5th, 2012

Food historian Dr. Annie Gray will charts the traditions of dinner, along with the specific foods consumed, from the high medieval to the Edwardian period. From the celebration of the twelve days under Edward I, to the masques and merriment at the co...Show More