September 7, 2008 |
Best known of the English kings, Henry VIII has usually been portrayed as a gargantuan party boy seducing court ladies, quarreling with the church, arresting friends and beheading wives. But he brought more to the throne than that. Bright, cultured and handsome, Henry succeeded peacefully to the crown as he turned 18, securing the Tudor dynasty and making possible England's golden age. Next year marks the 500th anniversary of that accession, and a variety of special events will be held in and around London to explore his life and reign.
October 8, 2009 |
These days, Thomas Cromwell is probably best known through James Frain's portrayal of him in the popular Showtime series "The Tudors": a brooding, black-clad figure in a popped collar who engineers Henry VIII's marriages and dissolves the monasteries before his career ends in one of the series' most horrifically unforgettable scenes. This shrewd political fixer is the protagonist -- though in a completely different guise -- in Hilary Mantel's ambitious new novel, "Wolf Hall," which was awarded the 2009 Man Booker Prize for fiction earlier this week.
September 25, 2013 |
As long as back-stabbing colleagues, flattering minions and starter wives exist, pop culture is likely to maintain its infatuation with Henry VIII. Anglophone audiences seemingly can't get enough of the English monarch's political and romantic intrigues, especially his divorce from his first wife, Spain's Catherine of Aragón, and his dalliances with the second Mrs. Tudor, Anne Boleyn. Beginning with Shakespeare's drama "Henry VIII," dozens of stage dramas, movies, TV series and books such as Hilary Mantel's prize-winning "Wolf Hall" have exhumed these historic episodes.
November 29, 1989 |
For the first time in nine years, Richard Clark won't take part in UC Irvine's annual Madrigal Dinner. He won't help re-create the 16th-Century Renaissance yule feast--complete with hot wassail and figgy pudding, wandering minstrels, magicians and mimes--that has fed and entertained more than 30,000 guests over the past decade. He won't sing traditional airs or perform a pillow dance for 20th-Century comers to the court of King Henry VIII.
March 26, 2000 |
I've often thought I should like to live at Hampton Court. It looks so peaceful and so quiet, and it is such a dear old place to ramble round in the early morning before many people are about. --Jerome K. Jerome "Three Men in a Boat," 1889 * It was midnight, and a soft rain fell on Hampton Court Palace, accentuating the peace and quiet on this, my last night here.
May 20, 2012 |
Gilt A Novel Katherine Longshore Penguin: 416 pp., $17.99, ages 12 and up King Henry the Eighth, to six wives he was wedded. One died, one survived, two divorced, two beheaded. If there's anyone in history who personifies the treacheries of marriage, it's King Henry VIII of England, who is best known for the beheadings he inflicted during a reign of nearly 38 years. What led to such a barbaric punishment for the sexual indiscretions of his betrothed is the central theme of "Gilt," which tells the fictionalized history of wife No. 5: Catherine Howard, "the forgotten daughter of the forgotten third son of the man who had once been Duke of Norfolk," writes novelist Katherine Longshore.
April 12, 2014 |
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England - The history play, that genre that at its best transcends the oft-quoted line in Shakespeare's "Richard II" - "let us sit upon the ground, And tell sad stories of the death of kings" - is making a striking comeback in Britain. The hottest theatrical offering in recent months has been a two-part, six-hour dramatization of the political machinations of Henry VIII's court. The Royal Shakespeare Company production of "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies," adapted from Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize-winning novels by Mike Poulton, returns us to 16th century England, with the slippery political operator Thomas Cromwell getting a fairer-than-usual shake in this dynamic retelling.
July 1, 1990 |
"Touring England" (Questar Video Communications, 65 minutes, 1989). This is a well-photographed, well-narrated, traditional travelogue that visits many of the myriad tourist attractions of England, plus a few in Wales. What makes this video different is the inclusion of film clips of 20th-Century news events that are associated with some of the historic sights.
August 10, 2013 |
"The White Queen," a co-production of the BBC and Starz, debuted in Britain this summer to mostly scathing reviews. Critics objected especially to a few glaring anachronisms - no zippers in the 15th century, nor tourist-friendly castle handrails - and a general lack of the slop-pots-'n'-rotten-teeth realism that has marked period dramas ever since HBO's "John Adams" showcased the horror of early smallpox vaccines. There was, however, the feeling that the Americans might like it better.