Tudor Women: In Their Own Words

In this series of podcasts, Gemma uses letters to reveal the diverse lives of Tudor women. Through analysing these little known letters, we can hear Tudor women in their own words, over four centuries after they wrote them down.

Katherine Parr

Katherine Parr was Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife. In Katherine, Henry had met his match: a woman clever enough to survive marriage to the capricious King. In the first podcast in this series, Gemma uses a letter Katherine wrote in 1544 to reveal this remarkable queen in her own words.

Elizabeth Russell

Elizabeth Russell was a friend worth having at the Elizabethan court: powerfully connected by marriage, Lady Russell used her letters to get what she and her associates wanted. However, in the second podcast in this series, Gemma looks at a letter Elizabeth wrote in 1596, which reveals she didn’t always do what was asked of her.

Anne Bacon

Anne Bacon used any means available to her to convey her godly beliefs, and her letters were undoubtedly part of her arsenal. In the third podcast from this series, Gemma reveals how in 1595 Anne used a letter to attempt to convince the earl of Essex of the sinfulness of his swearing – without losing the powerful earl’s good favour.

Images on this page reproduced with the kind permission of the National Portrait Gallery, London (Katherine Parr, by unknown artist, oil on panel, late 16th century, NPG 4618 © National Portrait Gallery, London) and The Walters Art Museum (Anne Bacon, by Isaac Oliver, opaque watercolour miniature and gilding on vellum, c. 1600, 38.161).