Handcrafted Tudor Roses

I wanted to share several photos of the stunning iron “Tudor Roses” that my husband had made for me. Each rose was handcrafted by Wil who is an ultra-talented blacksmith and each Tudor rose is different. I love the detail within each rose, the iron carefully folded around itself and then bent slightly to create the illusion of petals. I also have the intricate detail within each leaf, of which no two are quite alike. The roses are coated with a bees wax and linseed oil so that they will withstand the harshness of the weather.

The Tudor roses are currently on display in my back garden and I have to say they look stunning in the gorgeous Australian sunlight!



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Tudor Calendar 2017

I was super excited yesterday when I went to my letter box and found The Anne Boleyn Files Tudor Calendar for 2017! The calendar is full of the most stunning colour photos from such Tudor places including: Hampton Court Palace, Leeds Castle, the Tower of London, Edinburgh Castle, Hever Castle, Fountains Abbey and Hoghton Tower.

The calendar measures 11 inches by 17 inches when open and has large boxes for you to fill in daily information. Each image/month is printed on high quality gloss paper and is sturdy and hangs perfectly against the wall. Plus it’s a great price! (Can’t beat a great bargain!)

Every year I love to order a Tudor Calendar and put it up by my desk. The images of Tudor locations and castles are so inspiring and sometimes while I’m writing I just love to sit and stare at the image of the month allowing my imagination to run wild!

If you’d like to purchase your own Tudor Calendar for 2017 (they make the perfect Christmas present too!) then please follow the link to The Anne Boleyn Files.




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My Trip to England Part 1

My Trip to England Part 1

I recently got back from a two week whirlwind trip to England. I was honoured to be part of MadeGlobal’s “An Evening with the Authors” and I decided that if I was travelling all the way to England for this once in a lifetime opportunity, I might as well add in a few extra days to do some sightseeing and research!

It may sound a little strange but sitting here looking back over my trip I have to say that it was a life changing experience. There were two particular moments that will stand out to me for the rest of my life, but I’ll get to them in more detail shortly.

First and foremost the main reason I went to England was to participate in MadeGlobal’s “An Evening with the Authors”. This was a wonderful meet and greet where people could come and meet the authors of MadeGlobal, have books signed, photos taken and also participate in some fascinating Tudor panel discussions. I had an absolute blast and lost count of how many people asked me to sign my book – which I will admit was a rather odd and yet exciting feeling! It really was an amazing thing to have people come up to me and ask for my autograph and want to discuss my books. Everyone was so lovely and so kind.

I also participated in the first panel discussion of the night which was about Tudor Affairs – that was lots of fun and I got to discuss my thoughts around Mary Boleyn and her relationship with Henry VIII. Overall the evening was just incredible. I had an amazing time and got to talk all things Tudor with dear friends and wonderful new friends.


The next part of my trip was to visit several historical Tudor related places with my dear and deeply cherished friends and family from MadeGlobal. We visited the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Windsor Castle together. This was absolutely incredible and we were so lucky to have a tour of Hampton Court by the ultra-talented James Peacock who also happens to work at Hampton Court! It was amazing to get to see all the ins and outs of Hampton Court and to be part of an experience with people who I value and share my passion for Tudor history. We spent the day touring Hampton Court, chatting all things Tudor and getting excited over pretty much everything we saw!


The Tower of London was as always simply breathtaking. There is an atmosphere about the Tower that demands respect from all those who enter. Many tragic and life changing experiences happened within those great walls and it was really emotional to be able to walk through the Tower. Again it was wonderful to share such a rich and full history with other MadeGlobal authors who share my passion. As we explored the Tower of London we talked all things Tudor and had many laughs as well as several quite emotional moments together.


One of the most incredible experiences for me was visiting St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Within the chapel is most famously buried King Henry VIII, but not far from his tomb is buried Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, a man who I have spent years of my life researching. My second book is about Charles Brandon and I feel very connected to this man having spent such a large part of my life learning about his. Kneeling at his grave was a momentous experience. To be able to pay my respects and to be so close to Brandon’s grave was so very emotional. Yet the most incredible experience was getting to touch Brandon’s stall plate.

Also within St George’s Chapel are the stalls belonging to the Knights of the Garter. St George’s Chapel is the home of the Knights of the Garter and Brandon was made a Knight in 1513. As part of his creation a small stall plate was made and attached to the stall above where he sat. I had the incredible and very special honour of being allowed up into the stalls (people are not generally allowed into the stalls and they are roped off from the public). However I was allowed up into Brandon’s stall. I was able to touch his stall plate and sit where he would have sat during his life. This was such an amazing experience that I struggle to find words to describe how overwhelming it truly was. In that moment the only thing that separated myself from Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk was time. Here I was touching the same stall plate Brandon would have touched; sitting in the seat he sat in. It was more than a dream come true, it was a once in a life time opportunity. In that moment I felt more connected to Brandon than I have ever done before. It was as though all my years of research, all the struggles, the frustrations had paid off. It was all worth it to simply stand there, only separated by time from a man that I have spent a large portion of my life researching.


St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, The Tower of London and Hampton Court were incredible places to visit. They are each rich with their own aspects of Tudor history and it was wonderful to be able to visit these places with people who I love deeply and who share my passion for Tudor history.

I will leave it there for this post, but next post I will talk about my experience at Tattershall Castle, Grimsthorpe Castle, Hever Castle, Westminster Abbey and Hall, Peterborough Cathedral… and also the very spooky yet incredible experience I had at St Peter’s Church, right next to Hever Castle!

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The marriage of Mary Tudor and Louis XII

The marriage of Mary Tudor and Louis XII

On the 9th of October 1514 eighteen year old Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII was married to the fifty two year old King Louis XII of France. The pair married at nine o’clock in the morning in the great hall of the Hotel de la Gruthose. Mary wore a French gown made of gold brocade and trimmed with ermine. She was covered in beautiful jewels and was given away by the Duke of Norfolk and the Marquis of Dorset. Louis XII wore gold and ermine to match his bride. After the wedding the pair were separated and dined in their own apartments before they came together once more in a lavish ball. At eight o’clock the newly married couple were escorted to their beds for the official bedding ceremony.

Mary Tudor   louis-xii









Loades, David 2012, The Tudors History of a Dynasty, Continuum International Publishing Group, London.

Loades, David 2012, Mary Rose, Amberley, Gloucestershire.

Perry, Maria 2002, Sisters to the King, Andre Deutsh, London.


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A Princess is Born

A Princess is Born

On the 7th of September 1533 at approximately 3 o’clock in the afternoon Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, gave birth to a baby girl at Greenwich. Perhaps Anne and Henry had decided that Anne should give birth at Greenwich as it had been the very place that Henry had been born forty two years previously. This was Anne’s first pregnancy and she had retired to her chambers only thirteen days before her daughter was born. It was customary of the time that a Queen should retire to her chambers several weeks before the believed due date so perhaps the doctors or Anne miscalculated the baby’s due date or the child was born early.

According to Starkey the chambers in which Anne Boleyn retired to deliver her child had ‘a false roof in the Queen’s Bedchamber for to seal it and hang it with cloth of arrars. They also constructed a cupboard of state… for the Queen’s plate to stand on in the Bedchamber, together with an alter, a platform and a stool where the Queen could sit during her devotions. Finally, they erected a great bed of state in her Presence Chamber, or Throne Room.’ (Starkey 2004 p. 505).

Anne Boleyn’s labour was reported to be without great difficulty and he little girl she bore had the facial features of her mother but her father’s classic Tudor red hair. Elizabeth was reported to be a strong and healthy baby and was probably named after both Henry and Anne’s mothers. Both Henry and the astrologers and physicians of the day had predicted that the child would be a boy – a prince and heir to continue on the Tudor dynasty, unfortunately the child had been a girl.

Letters that were to be dispatched to foreign dignitaries and King’s which had already been written up were quickly altered, from Prince to Princess. Also the celebratory jousts that had been scheduled to rejoice the birth of a son were cancelled. Yet despite this Elizabeth’s birth and the declaration of Henry VIII’s first legitimate child were celebrated and Te Deum was sung at the Chapel Royal.

It has often been reported that Henry was greatly disappointed at the birth of a daughter and it was right from this early stage that his and Anne Boleyn’s marriage began to crumble. This however is not exactly the truth. Certainly both Henry and Anne were disappointed but not as much as many believed. Elizabeth was strong and healthy and Anne fallen pregnant shortly after she began to sleep with Henry. Her pregnancy and labour were reported to be fairly easy (for the time that is) and there was still time and hope that Anne’s next pregnancy would be quick and this time she would deliver the son Henry VIII so desperately desired. It is also reported that when Henry went to visit Anne after the birth he told her that ‘You and I are both young… and by God’s grace, boys will follow’ (Weir 1991 p. 258). If indeed Henry said this I can only imagine how Anne must have felt.

Henry’s disappointment also cannot have been that great as before Elizabeth was even a year old he had ‘caused an Act of Succession to be passed in her favour, which made her his heir in place of Mary’ (Weir  2008 p. 6).  Mary being the daughter born to Henry’s first wife Catherine of Aragon.

Unfortunately despite the birth of a healthy daughter Anne Boleyn was still under pressure. She had achieved her desire to marry Henry and been crowned Queen of England but she still had to fulfil her role. It was believed of women at the time that it was not only their duty to serve their husbands but to give them healthy sons. Anne was under even more pressure as not only did she need to give her husband, the King a son, she needed to give England a healthy male heir.  If only she and Henry knew the powerful ruler that Elizabeth would grow up to be, reigning over England for forty four years in a time known as the ‘Golden Age’.


(Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn with baby “Elizabeth”)


Hu asdf Ives, E 2009, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

Starkey, D 2004, Six Wives The Queens of Henry VIII, Vintage, London.

Weir, A 1991, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Grove Press, New York.

Weir, A 2008, The Children of Henry VIII, Ballantine Books, New York.

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MadeGlobal’s “An Evening with the Authors”


On the 24th of September of this year I will be in London attending the amazing event “An Evening with the Authors” presented by MadeGlobal. MadeGlobal are a wonderful publishing company who have published both of my books “Mary Boleyn in a Nutshell” and my recent book “Charles Brandon The King’s Man”.

An Evening with the Authors will be an incredible event which will give you the opportunity to meet and chat with nineteen authors and historians including Amy Licence, Claire Ridgway, Toni Mount, D.K. Wilson and of course myself! The event will also have three panels which will be a wonderful opportunity to ask questions about various aspects of Tudor history. I will be participating in one of the panels so please do come along and ask questions about the various affairs and secrets of the Tudor court!

As well as nineteen authors and historians there will be members from the Mary Rose Trust , Tudor music and  he opportunity to discuss your own book ideas!

“An Evening with the Authors” will be held at “The Venue” at Conferences Central, Malet Street. You can book your tickets online via MadeGlobal’s website.

Not able to come to London on the 24th? No worries! You can still attend the event from the comfort of your own home. The entire event will be broadcast via live stream on Youtube. If you participate via live stream you will have the opportunity to talk to the authors and ask them questions. It’s an amazing way to be part of the whole event without being there. If you are interested then please check out the MadeGlobal website here to book your online live streaming ticket.

“An Evening with the Authors” is going to be an amazing event and I hope to see you there!

An Evening with an Author

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Susan Higginbotham Book Tour Day 4

I am honoured to host Day Four of author Susan Higginbotham’s book tour for her new book “Margaret Pole: The Countess in the Tower”. Susan Higginbotham is a lawyer and author who currently resides in North Carolina, USA. She is the author of five successful historical fiction books set in Lancastrian and Tudor England. Susan is also the author of the non-fiction books ‘The Woodvilles: The Wars of the Roses and England’s Most Infamous Family’ and her latest book ‘Margaret Pole: The Countess in the Tower”. Susan has kindly written an article about Margaret Pole’s time as Governess to Mary Tudor…..

Margaret Pole The Countess in the Tower

 Royal Governess

Just two months after establishing his out-of-wedlock son Henry Fitzroy in the North, Henry sent Mary to the Welsh Marches, where the nine-year-old princess was to preside over the Council of Wales and the Marches. If not an explicit admission that Mary was to be Henry’s heir, it certainly sent that message: both Edward IV and Henry VII had sent their heirs, the ill-fated Edward V and Prince Arthur, to reside in the Marches once they passed through the earliest stages of childhood. Presiding over the princess’s household of over three hundred servants would be Margaret, alongside Mary’s steward, Lord Ferrers, and her chamberlain, Lord Dudley. With expenses totalling nearly £4,500 per year, Mary’s household was a splendid one.

As Edward IV had done when sending his heir to Wales, Henry VIII set out a detailed set of instructions regulating his daughter’s household at Ludlow. Margaret had the daunting task of overseeing ‘all such things as concern the person of the said princess, her noble education and training in all virtuous demeanor’. The women around the princess were to ‘use themselves sadly [decorously], honourably, virtuously and discreetly in words, countenance, gesture, behaviour and deed with humility, reverence, lowliness .  . . so as of them proceed no manner of example of evil or unfitting manner or conditions, but rather of good and godly behaviour’. No detail of the young princess’s day-to-day routine was left to chance. Mary was to learn Latin and French, to practice on her virginals and other musical instruments, to dance, to take exercise in the open air, and eat meat that was ‘pure, well-prepared, dressed and served, with comfortable, joyous, and merry communication in all honourable and virtuous manner’.

Our view of Mary is indelibly coloured by her grim adolescence, when she was caught between warring parents, by the burnings of hundreds of Protestants during her reign as queen, and by her sad last years, during which she suffered two false pregnancies and pined for an absent husband who took only a polite interest in her.  As a nine-year-old, however, she was lively, intelligent, and attractive, with an apparent gift for courtly banter. Giles Duwes, Mary’s former French tutor, writing after the household had disbanded, remembered an incident when Mary, following what the tradition of drawing Valentines, picked the name of her gout-stricken treasurer, Sir Ralph Egerton. Young Mary referred to the older man as her ‘husband adoptive’ and scolded him for taking better care of his gout than he did of his wife (i.e., Mary herself).  She then requested that Egerton teach her the full definition of love. In another incident recounted by Duwes, Mary scolded her almoner for not joining the household at dinner, reminding him that incidentally that she had praised his French and that he had assured her ‘within a year I should speak as good or better than you’.


Mario Savorgnano, a Venetian visitor, paid a call upon Mary’s household in August 1531, leaving us not only with a description of the princess, but of the Countess of Salisbury, her governess, as well. He wrote:

We next went to another palace, called Richmond, where the Princess, her daughter, resides; and having asked the maggiordomo for permission to see her, he spoke to the chamberlain, and then to the governess, and they made us wait. Then after seeing the palace we returned into a hall, and having entered a spacious chamber where there were some venerable old men with whom we discoursed, the Princess came forth accompanied by a noble lady advanced in years, who is her governess, and by six maids of honour. We kissed her hand, and she asked us how long we had been in England, and if we had seen their Majesties, her father and mother, and what we thought of the country; she then turned to her attendants, desiring them to treat us well, and withdrew into her chamber. This Princess is not very tall, has a pretty face, and is well proportioned with a very beautiful complexion, and is 15 years old. She speaks Spanish, French, and Latin, besides her own mother-English tongue, is well grounded in Greek, and understands Italian, but does not venture to speak it. She sings excellently, and plays on several instruments, so that she combines every accomplishment. We were then taken to a sumptuous repast, after which we returned to our lodging, whither, according to the fashion of the country, the Princess sent us a present of wine and ale (which last is another beverage of theirs), and white bread.

Savorgnano’s description of the attractive, courteous, and well-educated Mary did credit to both the countess and her charge. But all was not well in the well-run and hospitable household. It had not been in some time.


Mary Tudor

Thank you so much Susan! If you would like to learn more about Susan Higganbotham you can visit her Website or view her books on Amazon.

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