England’s Tudor monarchs—Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I—are perhaps the most celebrated and fascinating of all royal families in history. Their love affairs, their political triumphs, and their overturning of the religious order are the subject of countless works of popular scholarship. But for all we know about Henry’s quest for male heirs, or Elizabeth’s purported virginity, the lives of the Tudor monarchs away from the public eye remain largely beyond our grasp, mostly not chronicled by previous historians.
In The Private Lives of the Tudors, acclaimed historian Tracy Borman delves deep behind the public face of the monarchs, showing us what their lives were like beyond the stage of the court. Drawing on original material from those closest to them—courtiers like the “groom of the stool,” a much-coveted position, surprisingly—Borman examines Tudor life in fine detail. What did the monarchs eat? What clothes did they wear, and how were they designed, bought, and cared for? How did they wield power? When sick, how were they treated? What games did they play? How did they practice their faith? And whom did they love, and how did they give birth to the all-important heirs?
Exploring their education, upbringing, sexual lives, and taking us into the kitchens, bathrooms, schoolrooms, and bedrooms at court, The Private Lives of the Tudors charts the course of the entire dynasty, surfacing new and fascinating insights into these celebrated figures.