The Tudor dynasty has captivated the imaginations of people for centuries, and for good reason. It was a time of great drama, intrigue, and change in England. And at the heart of it all was Henry VIII, the king who married and killed multiple wives. This is obviously all fertile terrain for a good history podcast, as host of Tudors Dynasty, Rebecca Larson tells us, “For me, personally, the thing that drew me to the Tudors was the drama and intrigue – not only did Henry VIII marry six times and had two of his wives executed,” but it wasn’t all about Henry or “Ol Bluff Hal” as Rebecca calls him, “there are so many other juicy stories in that 118-year” in that period that outshine him.
Tudors Dynasty really is a lot more than a podcast. It is a creative hub with Rebecca Larson, the presenter, at the centre of various endeavours. To wit, it is not a podcast with a website, it is a website with a podcast. As Rebecca says “I began the Tudors Dynasty podcast in February 2017 at the behest of the followers of my website. It began as just me telling the stories I learned from reading and research but eventually evolved into an interview format.”
This website is home to a wealth of content, including the Tudor Courses Rebecca runs for her patrons on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/tudorsdynasty) and a number of book reviews.
But, of course, the podcast is central to the whole set-up. There are currently over 300 episodes available in audio format and they are also on YouTube. The interview episodes are the backbone of the episodes but Rebecca also runs various side threads such as Queenship, This week in Royal History, 5 Minute history.
Some of the most popular episodes include:
- The Disappearance of the Princes in the Tower
- Anne Boleyn with Prof. John Guy and Julia Fox
- Henrietta Maria: French Princess, English Queen
- Fascinating Tudor Women: Lady Jane Grey, Lettice Knollys, and Margaret Beaufort
- Who was the real Jane Seymour?
- The Myths Surrounding Kateryn Parr
As we can see from the list above, one of the things that attracts Rebecca to the Tudors is the prominent role women played in the era. For the first time in the history of England, Queens sat the throne and wielded true power. The Queenship of Elizabeth I was to shape the country, more than maybe any other reign – with Anglicanism embedded as the religion of the nation and the break with Rome confirmed and also seeing the first forays of what was to become the globe-spanning British Empire.
We always like to ask the podcasters featured in this blog which episodes they would recommend to new listeners. Like Maria, from The Sound of Music, Rebecca thinks the best thing is to start at the very beginning. However, she does add, “Personally I have a difficult time listening to the first year of podcasts because I can now see how much growth I’ve made and those early ones make me cringe now.” That is often the lot of the podcaster…
This blogger would recommend checking out some of the episodes about more obscure subjects. There are plenty of episodes that don’t just focus on the grand characters of the era, but on more earthy topics, most obviously Toilets in Tudor England. I particularly enjoyed The Speed of Information and Travel in Tudor England with esteemed historian, Ian Mortimer. It was fascinating to hear quite how long everything took back then; all the many intrigues of the time were carried out at what would feel like snail’s pace to us today.
We also like to know which episodes are the podcaster’s very own favourites, Rebecca has a couple.
“That’s a tough one for me! The most fun and exciting one for me was when I booked Dan Jones (historian, author, TV presenter) on the show. I have always been a fan of Dan’s and built up the courage to ask him. I’m glad I did because I somehow convinced him to come on the show. As far as I know no other indie Tudor podcast has had him. He was a lot of fun to talk to. My favourite has to be Dr Joanne Paul’s episode about the Dudleys – mostly because John Dudley, Earl of Warwick was a fascinating man, and to be able to discuss with her my thoughts on his involvement in the downfall of the Seymour brothers was absolutely wonderful for this researcher.”
We have to confirm that Dan Jones is a pretty cool historian and knows how to bring a subject to life – that would certainly be an episode to check out.
Rebecca doesn’t just have new episodes coming up, she has whole new podcasts. She is about to launch History Lair, which very much sounds like the place we would like to lurk and there’s another podcast being plotted, details to follow.
Rebecca will also be crossing the pond to take part in an event in the UK, “I was honoured to be asked to be a partner with the Wolf Hall Weekend next June in England. This event is to honour the late Dame Hilary Mantel – author of the acclaimed Wolf Hall trilogy. The event will feature actors, historians and people from the publishing industry who knew Hilary. It will be held at the beautiful Cadhay House in Devon.” Details for this event are available here: https://wolfhallweekend.com/
Rebecca will be covering a broad range of Tudor contingency plans, “because, let’s be real, nobody had more contingency plans than the Tudors. If you think about it, the fact that Henry Tudor (Henry VII) became king was a contingency plan.” The mind boggles at what she could include here – Henry VIII’s six contingency plans? The “let’s set up a new religion contingency” plan? Or maybe the contingency plan that relied on the weather to blow those pesky Spaniards away?
Whatever she does cover in her talk, it will certainly be gripping and entertainingly told. So roll up, roll up for Rebecca Larson who will be giving her Keynote talk on November 4th at 10 am Eastern Time.