Tudors

A stained-glass window depicting Empress Matilda's voyage from England to Normandy

Based on a True Story

The Medieval Power Struggle That Inspired HBO's 'House of the Dragon'

The "Game of Thrones" spinoff takes its cue from the Anarchy, a civil war that saw Empress Matilda and Stephen of Blois vying for the English crown

From Henry VII’s usurpation of the throne in 1485 to the death of Elizabeth in 1603, Tudor monarchs relied on paintings, sculptures, tapestries and other art forms to legitimize their nascent dynasty.

Why Art Was Such a Powerful Tool for England's Tudor Monarchs

An exhibition at the Met features 100-plus paintings, sculptures, decorative works and objects that testify to the splendor of 16th-century English court

In May 1536, Henry had his second wife, Anne Boleyn, beheaded on trumped-up charges of adultery and incest. For centuries, historians blamed Anne's sister-in-law, Jane Boleyn, for testifying against the queen—but new research calls this claim into question.

The Myths of Lady Rochford, the Tudor Noblewoman Who Supposedly Betrayed George and Anne Boleyn

Historians are reevaluating Jane Boleyn's role in her husband and sister-in-law's downfall

Literary scholar Vanessa Braganza suggests that Catherine commissioned the pendant design as "a sign of her conviction of her own enduring legitimacy."

The Secrets of a Long-Overlooked Cipher Linked to Catherine of Aragon

Henry VIII's first wife may have commissioned the design as an act of defiance during the Tudor king's attempt to divorce her

In 1547, Elizabeth's brother, 9-year-old Edward VI, ascended the throne. Then 13 years old, the princess found herself second in line to the crown.

Based on a True Story

The Royal Scandal That Rocked Elizabeth I's Teenage Years

A new Starz series, "Becoming Elizabeth," dramatizes the future queen's controversial relationship with her much-older stepfather, Thomas Seymour

Finds unveiled in 2021 included a wooden falcon that originally belonged to doomed queen Anne Boleyn, an intact ancient chicken egg and a dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.

Cool Finds

Ninety-Nine Fascinating Finds Revealed in 2021

The year's most exciting discoveries include a Viking "piggy bank," a lost Native American settlement and a secret passageway hidden behind a bookshelf

Smithsonian's most-read stories of 2021 included an explainer on crocodile evolution, a profile of a teen inventor and a feature on Viking explorer Gudrid the Far Traveler.

Our Top Ten Stories of 2021

From archaeological finds to an invasive weed to Roman bathrooms, these were our most-read articles of the year

Minted in Canterbury between 1493 and 1499, the silver half groat dates to the middle of Henry VII's reign, when a rebellion led by pretender Perkin Warbeck threatened to unseat the nascent Tudor dynasty. 

Cool Finds

How Did a 15th-Century Coin Minted Under Henry VII End Up in Newfoundland?

Dated to between 1493 and 1499, the silver half-groat is the oldest English coin ever found in Canada

Birds with teeth, little men in triangular hats and other fanciful figures appear in the Tudor wall paintings.

Cool Finds

Well-Preserved Tudor Wall Paintings Discovered Beneath Plaster at Medieval Manor

Carbon dating of the artworks' timber frame suggests they date to between the 1540s and 1580s

A supporter of the doomed Tudor queen may have hidden the falcon following Anne's downfall.

Cool Finds

Wooden Falcon Sold for $101 Originally Belonged to Anne Boleyn

The discovery is striking because Henry VIII removed almost all traces of his second queen following her execution in 1536

Living Like a Tudor draws on the five senses to offer a vivid portrait of Tudor life. Pictured here is a procession overseen by the last Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I.

What Did Tudor England Look, Smell and Sound Like?

A new book by scholar Amy Licence vividly transports readers back to the 16th century

Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of Simon George of Cornwall (detail), circa 1535–40

Hans Holbein's Portraits Defined—and Immortalized—Tudor England's Elite

An exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum features some of the painter's most famous portraits of power players in Henry VIII's court

Dee may have bought the mirror in Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic) in the 1580s.

Obsidian 'Spirit Mirror' Used by Elizabeth I's Court Astrologer Has Aztec Origins

Tudor polymath John Dee used the artifact in his attempts to communicate with angels and apparitions

In Six, Henry VIII's wives (top row, L to R: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour; bottom row, L to R: Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr) reclaim their stories.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'Six,' the Tudor Musical About Henry VIII's Wives

The show's creators, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, reflect on the smash hit ahead of its Broadway premiere

Mary Boleyn (right) served as Henry VIII's mistress before her sister Anne's (left) ascent to the throne.

The Rise and Fall of Tudor England's Scandalous Boleyn Family

A new documentary offers a more sympathetic view of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, and her inner circle

Artist's impression of Thomas Cromwell's London estate

See the Palatial London Mansion of Thomas Cromwell, Adviser to Henry VIII

New research reveals what the Tudor statesman's 58-room estate may have looked like

“We have these iconic figures from history and literature, who people feel possessive about in some way,” says scholar Miranda Kaufman, author of Black Tudors: The Untold Story. “But you have to remember that it’s not a historical reconstruction: it’s a thriller; it’s a drama; it’s entertainment.”

Why the Controversy Over a Black Actress Playing Anne Boleyn Is Unnecessary and Harmful

Long before Jodie Turner-Smith's miniseries came under criticism, British Indian actress Merle Oberon portrayed the Tudor queen

Rosary beads and Bible belonging to Mary, Queen of Scots, pictured at Arundel Castle in January 1968. Authorities recently announced the rosary's theft from the English stronghold.

Rosary Beads Owned by Mary, Queen of Scots, Stolen in Heist at English Castle

The Stuart monarch may have carried the golden beads—taken last Friday in a $1.4-million burglary—to her execution in 1587

Kate McCaffrey, a former steward at Anne's childhood home, used ultraviolet light and photo editing software to reveal hidden writing in the Tudor queen's Book of Hours.

Cool Finds

Hidden Inscriptions Discovered in Anne Boleyn's Execution Prayer Book

New research suggests a circle of Tudor women saved the "Book of Hours" for the queen's daughter, Elizabeth I

This 1561 portrait depicts Catherine de' Medici standing alongside four of her children, including the newly crowned Charles IX.

Rarely Seen Portrait of Renaissance Queen Catherine de' Medici to Go on View

The 16th-century regent, pictured with four of her children, wielded significant political power during the French Wars of Religion

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