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Amy Licence

Amy Licence: When Philip met Mary: the Anglo-Spanish mésalliance of 1554

Saturday 29 April, 10 - 11am, OS.0.19, Mabb Lovell court lecture room, Old Sessions House


By 1554, Mary I had endured decades of uncertainty, heartbreak and challenges to her faith. Having fought for her crown, she was ready to defy her council and popular opinion, to marry the man of her choosing. At thirty-eight, she was old for childbirth by contemporary standards, when many of her peers were already grandparents. Yet Mary clung to her dream of a happy family, a son to inherit her title, and her single-handed restoration of England to the Catholicism of her mother. She chose her ideal man, her Hapsburg cousin, Philip, son of her former fiancé, Emperor Charles V. Philip was eleven years her senior, cultured and headstrong with an absolute commitment to duty. Even before setting eyes on his handsome portrait, Mary believed herself to be in love, but many of her subjects felt differently, fearful of the implications for English sovereignty. When the pair finally met in July, days before the wedding, what did each make of the other? How was the relationship between them established in these early days? What challenges to the traditional gender dynamic did their union pose?


Amy Licence is a journalist, author, historian and teacher, currently living in Canterbury. Her particular interest lies in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, in gender relations, queenship and identity, rites of passage, sex, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. She appeared in BBC2’s ‘The Real White Queen and her Rivals’ documentary (2013) and Yesterday Channel’s ‘The Private Lives of the Tudors’ (2016). Her first book, In Bed with the Tudors was nominated for the 2015 People’s Book Prize.

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In Bed with the Tudors: The Sex Lives of a Dynasty from Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I

Paperback, 14/11/2013, £10.99
What went on behind closed doors in the Tudor Court? Comprehensive coverage of all the major Tudors: Henry VII, Elizabeth of York, Prince Arthur, Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's various mistresses, Edward VI, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I.

Richard III: The Road to Leicester

Paperback, 15/01/2014, £15.99
The perfect illustrated introduction to the life, death and recent rediscovery of Richard III

Cecily Neville: Mother of Kings

Paperback, 15/06/2015, £10.99
Discover the true story of Richard III's mother, one of her era's great survivors

Edward IV & Elizabeth Woodville: A True Romance

Paperback, 10/11/2016, £10.99
When Edward of York seized the English throne in 1461, he could have chosen any bride he wanted, but it was the beautiful widow, Elizabeth Wydeville, who captured his heart. A new assessment of the tumultuous life of the real White Queen and her husband.

Catherine of Aragon: An Intimate Life of Henry VIII's True Wife

Paperback, 15/10/2017, £18.99
A stunning new full-length biography of Queen Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's wife of over twenty years. The first ever written by a female historian and to concentrate on Catherine as a Tudor woman, rather than a pawn of in the dynastic power plays of men.

Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII: The Women's Stories

Paperback, 01/11/2016, £12.99
The story of the six wives of Henry VIII from the viewpoint of the women themselves.

Anne Boleyn: Adultery, Heresy, Desire

Paperback, 15/10/2018, £18.99
THE biography of the most alluring, important and enigmatic of Henry VIII's six wives - Anne Boleyn.

Tudor Roses: From Margaret Beaufort to Elizabeth I

Hardback, 15/02/2022, £25.00
The first ever comprehensive history of the queens, princesses and ladies of the Tudor family. Always more than mere foils of men, these Tudor women are fascinating in their own right.

The Lost Kings: Lancaster, York and Tudor

Paperback, 22/08/2019, £14.99
The majority of these young men died in their teens, on the brink of manhood. They represent the lost paths of history, the fascinating "what-ifs" of the houses of York and Tudor.

1520: The Field of the Cloth of Gold

Hardback, 15/07/2020, £20.00
The five hundredth anniversary of a momentous and spectacular meeting between two rival Renaissance monarchs; a failed bid for peace in Europe.

Bohemian Lives: Three Extraordinary Women: Ida Nettleship, Sophie Brzeska and Fernande Olivier

Paperback, 15/08/2019, £9.99
New paperback edition - The interweaving lives of Ida John, Sophie Brzeska and Fernande Olivier: three mould-breaking women who forged modern relationships with extraordinary men (writer Augustus John, and artists Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Picasso).

Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou: A Marriage of Unequals

Hardback, 10/09/2018, £19.99
The defeated Lancastrian monarchs of War of the Roses, Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou's reign witnessed soaring highs and desolate losses. Never before considered in a dual biography, Amy Licence explores the stark differences in their unlikely alliance, reign and legacy.

Living in Squares, Loving in Triangles: The Lives and Loves of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group

Paperback, 15/06/2016, £10.99
Extraordinary lives, tangled relationships, innovative art: the story of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf and their Bloomsbury Group.

Elizabeth of York: Forgotten Tudor Queen

Paperback, 13/03/2014, £10.99
The biography of Henry VII's queen, and mother of Henry VIII, the true story of the 'White Princess'
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