How to Be Tudor

Pieces about Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, Jane Boleyn, Christopher Marlowe and other royal bodies, by Hilary Mantel.

Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509. Charles Brandon’s power as a court favourite endured till death removed him in 1545. How did he do it?

Royal Bodies

Hilary Mantel, 21 February 2013

Our current royal family doesn’t have the difficulties in breeding that pandas do, but pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment.

The Crowe is White: Bloody Mary

Hilary Mantel, 24 September 2009

Mary’s bishops wanted recantations more than they wanted executions. There was always the possibility of a last-minute change of heart; this would not free the condemned person from the stake, but it would send the charred soul to heaven, or at least purgatory.

Blame it on the Belgians

Hilary Mantel, 25 June 1992

‘You don’t want to see him,’ said the porter at Corpus, when Charles Nicholl went to Cambridge to look at the portrait that is probably Christopher Marlowe. ‘He died in a tavern brawl.’

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