The Tudors were a dynasty with a massive problem: the succession. This apparent ‘golden age’ in English history was considerably undermined by the absence of adult male candidates for the throne. The result was a complex attitude to ill-health, death and its commemoration which serves to distort the popular perception of these monarchs. In this lecture Dr Jessica Sharkey will consider why Henry VIII is buried in relative obscurity, why Edward VI was cast as a sickly Lord Fauntleroy and why Elizabeth I refused to be married to her winding sheet. In sickness and in death, the reality of Tudor monarchy emerges to dispel centuries of successful propaganda.


Dr Jessica Sharkey is Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia