Possible Tudor-Related Dissertation / Essay Titles

So judging from some of the searches coming up on my stats page, and from personal experience, now is about the time that people begin to choose their dissertation questions, and some essay questions so I thought I’d put up a list of possibles here to help you guys out. I realise these are far from exhaustive, and some of the phrasing could do with improving, but they’re just examples.

Henry VII holding a Tudor Rose, wearing collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, 1505.
Henry VII holding a Tudor Rose, wearing collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, 1505.

Henry VII

  1. What steps did Henry VII take to consolidate his power after Bosworth?
  2. How did Henry VII manipulate Richard III’s image to suit his own purpose?
  3. How serious was the threat to Henry VII by pretenders?
  4. How far was Henry VII’s authority challenged by rebellions and conspiracies during his reign?
  5. How did Henry VII exert control ove his financial policies and why was this control so important?
  6. Henry VII negotiated marriages for his children before his death, but how successful were they politically?
  7. Compare the success of the pretenders Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck?
  8. To what extent did Henry VII contribute to the death of Prince Arthur?
  9. What did Henry VII do to try to win over the English people?
  10. How crucial were the roles of councillors in Henry VII’s reign?

Continue reading “Possible Tudor-Related Dissertation / Essay Titles”

Review of Norah Lofts’s Novel ‘The King’s Pleasure’

'The King's Pleasure' by Norah Lofts (1969).
‘The King’s Pleasure’ by Norah Lofts (1969).

I recently finished reading Norah Lofts’s The King’s Pleasure, about the life of Katherine of Aragon.

It was an interesting read, but I felt that parts of it were not very accurate, or did not portray very well the depth of emotion and the hardship. I also felt that parts of the story were shortened, particularly Katherine’s childhood in Spain, which got only a few pages.

Genre/s: Historical Fiction / Romance / Drama.

Setting: Alcala de Henares (Spain), Ludlow (Wales), London, Kimbolton, Ampthill, Buckden (UK)

Characters: Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, Maria de Salinas, Arthur Tudor, Maria de Moreto, Dr de la Sa, Eustace Chapuys, Francisco Felipez, Isabella I of Castile, Ferdinand II of Aragon, Henry VII, Joanna of Castile, Isabella of Castile, Mary I, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Thomas Cromwell. Continue reading “Review of Norah Lofts’s Novel ‘The King’s Pleasure’”

Review of David Loades’s ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’

'The Six Wives of Henry VIII' by David Loades (2010).
‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ by David Loades (2010).

David Loades, ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ (Stroud: Amberley Publishing, 2010) Paperback, ISBN 978-1-4456-0049-9

Title: There seems to be quite a lot of books entitled The Six Wives of Henry VIII or something very similar, including works by David Starkey, Antonia Fraser and Alison Weir. It’s simple and straight to the point, making it clear what the book is about. What is lacking about this and similar titles is that it isn’t very imaginative and suggests that the author will simply be looking at the same things that have been covered before.

Preface: Loades’s introduction adds some contextual information of the world of sixteenth century politics in which these women were key players. What is interesting is his outline of other key political marriages from the fifteenth century, which set a pattern for the sixteenth. However, this section could have been shorter and more concise, allowing more space to look at the actual topic the book is written about. Continue reading “Review of David Loades’s ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’”

Meaning of Tudor Names

  • Anne

    Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein 1539
    Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein 1539
Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait
Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait

Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves

French form of ‘Anna’. ‘Anna’ is a form of Channah used in Greek and Latin. In Hebrew it means ‘favour’ or ‘grace’. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire, and was later used to honour Saint Anna, mother of the Virgin Mary. In Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession, there was a pageant showing her as the mother of the Virgin Mary, but it boded ill, as Mary only gave birth to a girl, and not the son Anne Boleyn desperately wanted and needed to give Henry VIII. In the end, Anne only gave birth to a girl. Anne of Cleves was shown favour after she accepted the end of her marriage to Henry VIII – instead of execution as Anne Boleyn had, Anne of Cleves was accepted as the king’s sister, and outlived him. Partly this was because of her having a standing similar to that of Katherine of Aragon – she had powerful relatives who would probably have avenged her death.   Continue reading “Meaning of Tudor Names”

Timeline of the English Reformation


Anonymous portrait of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York c.1501.
Anonymous portrait of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York c.1501.

1501 – Katherine of Aragon marries Prince Arthur of England.

1502 – Prince Arthur dies.

1504 – Pope Julius II annuls marriage of Katherine and Arthur.

1509 – Henry VIII succeeds to the throne and marries Katherine of Aragon:-

Katherine testified that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated, and so a dispensation was granted to allow her to marry Henry. The matter of consummation was later a central issue in the divorce.

1516 – Princess Mary (later Mary I) born.

1517 – Luther posts his 95 theses on a church door in Wittenburg in Germany, formally beginning the Protestant Reformation in Europe:- Continue reading “Timeline of the English Reformation”

Tudor-Related Books

So I’ve put together a list of all of the Tudor and Wars of the Roses related books I want. The ones scored through are the ones I’ve already got or read. Any opinions on any of them, or are any of them better than others? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated as I don’t think it’s sensible to splurge and buy them all at once!

Ackroyd, Peter, ‘Foundation’ (2011)

Ackroyd, Peter, ‘London: the Biography’ (2001)

Ackroyd, Peter, ‘Tudors’ (2012)

'Anne Boleyn: Queen of Controversy' by Lacey Baldwin Smith (2013).
‘Anne Boleyn: Queen of Controversy’ by Lacey Baldwin Smith (2013).

Baldwin Smith, Lacey, ‘Anne Boleyn’ (2013)

Baldwin Smith, Lacey, ‘Catherine Howard’ (2010)

Baldwin Smith, Lacey, ‘Henry VIII’ (2012)

Baldwin Smith, Lacey, ‘Treason in Tudor England: Politics and Paranoia’ (2006)

Bernard, George W., ‘Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions’ (2010)

Bernard, George W., ‘The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church’ (2007) Continue reading “Tudor-Related Books”

The Portraits of the Wives of Henry VIII

Katherine of Aragon

Katherine of Aragon c. 1502 by Michael Sittow.
Katherine of Aragon c. 1502 by Michael Sittow.
Katherine of Aragon in later life by Lucas Hornebolte.
Katherine of Aragon in later life by Lucas Hornebolte.


Katherine of Aragon in later life, miniature attributed to Lucas Hornebolte.
Katherine of Aragon in later life, miniature attributed to Lucas Hornebolte.

The portraits of Katherine of Aragon all vary hugely. The first one was painted after the death of Arthur, Prince of Wales, during Katherine’s widowhood. She would have been about sixteen, and the auburn hair is clear in the painting, unlike the dark hair she is often seen to have. She is wearing a cumbersome hood, and is dressed in black, typical for mourning. Her gaze is focused down, rather than at the painter.

The second painting is probably supposed to be Katherine as Henry VIII’s wife and Queen of England. She still wears the cumbersome Spanish hood, but her hair is covered with a veil and the hood is pulled further forward. Her dress is red and gold and it is decorated with more jewels than the first one. Her body seems to be bigger, and has lost some of the childish beauty of the 1502 one. The constant pregnancies and miscarriages did this to her. Continue reading “The Portraits of the Wives of Henry VIII”