If one thing makes the later Tudors a fascinating topic to study it is that we are dealing with a crisis of monarchy. After the establishment of the dynasty by Henry Tudor and the iconic rule of his bloodthirsty son, Henry VIII, the reign of each of the last three Tudor rulers shows how potentially weak was their family´s grasp on power. The reign of the Edward VI was, in fact, to leave the country in the hands of a child, or rather the grasping noblemen who surrounded him. This was followed by the first female monarch in English history, Mary I, who threatened the independence of the kingdom by risking marriage with a foreign prince. Even the reign of Elizabeth was not without its risks, as the young queen struggled to impose her will on evangelical councillors who were determined that nothing should prevent the re-imposition of their brand of Protestantism.
The rule of the later Tudors also witnessed the threat of both populist and aristocratic-inspired rebellions, but also various attempts to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. Matching the threats at home from Catholics to her life and from Protestants to her political authority were the threats from overseas. Ireland rebelled against English colonialism, and Europe´s only superpower at the time, Spain, sent armada after armada in an attempt to unseat the queen and restore the Old Religion.
Studying the later Tudors challenges students to think about what it was like to live at a time when religion threatened to push the country into civil war, or to consider what it must have been like to have been a female monarch in a wholly male-dominated society.
Each pod for this course will introduce students to bigger questions about the period, at the same time as providing them with the detail needed for examination success.
The series brings together once again Nick Fellows and Glyn Redworth.