Alison Weir Tours

Chivalry

 

PERSONNEL




Alison Weir is the top-selling female historian in the United Kingdom since records began in 1997. She had a career in the Civil Service before her first book, Britain`s Royal Families, came out in 1989. She has since published twenty other history books, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Princes in the Tower, Lancaster and York, Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: King and Court, Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, Katherine Swynford, The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn and three volumes of her England's Medieval Queens quartet. Alison has also written fourteen historical novels, the latest of which is Henry VIII: The Heart and the Crown. All the novels in her Six Tudor Queens series were Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. Four have been chosen as Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4. Alison is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences and an Honourary Life Patron of Historic Royal Palaces. She has been a guest historian on many historical tours for English Heritage, and developed and led a Tudor Tapestry Tour for the Smithsonian Institute in April 2010 before setting up Alison Weir Tours Ltd. later that year (See www.alisonweir.org.uk).




After leaving Oxford, Sarah Gristwood worked as a journalist specialising in the arts and women's issues. The author of two Sunday Times best-selling history books, she is a regular contributor to The Times, the Guardian, the Independent and the Evening Standard. Arbella, her biography of Arbella Stuart, the first cousin of Elizabeth I and heir to her throne, was widely acclaimed.  She is also the author of Elizabeth and Leicester, the story of the relationship between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley; Bird of Paradise, a biography of the poet, actress and royal mistress, Mary Robinson; Fabulous Frocks, an illustrated account of the dresses that shaped twentieth-century fashion; Breakfast at Tiffany's: The Official Companion, which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the classic film; The Girl in the Mirror, a novel set in Elizabethan times; Blood Sisters, an acclaimed study of the royal women who brought the Tudor dynasty into being; The Story of Beatrix Potter; Game of Queens, a book about female rulers in the sixteenth century; The Queen's Mary, a novel of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth; The Queen and Crow; Vita and Virginia: A Double Life; Churchill: An Extraordinary Life; and The Tudors in Love, a ground-breaking account of how courtly love shaped the Tudor Dynasty.




Julian Humphrys will be with us for the whole tour. After reading History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Julian spent 12 years at Chelsea’s National Army Museum, organising special exhibitions and acting as spokesman to the media on all matters of military history.  A qualified Blue-Badge guide, Julian left the Museum to pursue a career in writing, guiding and lecturing – battles and castles are his speciality! He worked alongside Alison Weir on English Heritage’s Tours Through Time programme, and in 2009 was appointed Development Officer of the Battlefields Trust, the UK Charity dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Britain’s historic battlefields. Julian, who is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, lectures and writes extensively on many aspects of British history. He has written audio guides and films for several prestigious museums and historic attractions including the Household Cavalry Museum, the Culloden Visitor Centre, and Winchester City Museum.  His published books include The Private Life of Palaces (for Historic Royal Palaces), Clash of Arms: Twelve English Battles and Enemies at the Gate: English Castles under Siege (both for English Heritage) and he has recently co-authored a guide to battlefields of the world, to be published in late 2022.




Dr Nicola Tallis graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class BA Hons. degree in History. She has an MA in Public History from Royal Holloway College, University of London and was awarded a PhD by the University of Winchester for her thesis examining the jewellery collections of the Yorkist and early Tudor queens of England. She has been passionate about English history all her life, and published her first book, Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey, in 2016. Nicola completed an internship with the Interpretation Department at Hampton Court Palace, and also worked with the Curators to provide historical research for future projects. She has also given papers about sixteenth-century monarchy at several historical conferences, and has been working with the National Trust at Montacute House, delivering their education programme to school children, and at Wilton House. She worked as the Curator at Sudeley Castle, and featured prominently on BBC’s Countryfile in April 2013, guiding at Sudeley. Her second book, Elizabeth's Rival: The Tumultuous Life of Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester, was published in 2017, and Uncrowned QueenL The Fateful Life of Margaret Beaufort, appeared in 2019.




Dr Michael Jones is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History. He is a leading military historian, with specialist interests in battle psychology and French history. He is a member of several distinguished societies in both the UK and France, including the Royal Historical Society and La Société d'Histoire et d'Archéologie de Bretagne. Michael's first book, The King's Mother, a biography of Lady Margaret Beaufort, was shortlisted for the prestigious Whitfield Prize. He has published nine books since, covering numerous topics from Agincourt and Bosworth to Stalingrad. Michael has worked extensively with veterans of the Second World War. He is also the author, with Philippa Gregory, of The Women of the Cousins' War and, with Philippa Langley, of The King's Grave: the Search for Richard III; his other titles include 24 Hours at Agincourt; After Hitler; and Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle. His most recent work is an acclaimed study of the life of the Black Prince. Michael has been a consultant to a number of TV programmes, including Channel 4’s Richard III: Fact or Fiction, the History Channel’s Warriors series, the National Geographic’s Mystery Files and Russia Today’s The Children of Stalingrad. HHe has also been interviewed on the BBC’s Today programme and appeared on Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time. He also has years of experience in guiding historical tours.




Dr Tracy Borman studied and taught history at the University of Hull and was awarded a PHD in 1997. She went on to a successful career in heritage and has worked for a range of historic properties and national heritage organisations, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, The National Archives and English Heritage.She is joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that manages Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, the Banqueting House, Whitehall and Hillsborough Castlel and she is Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust. Tracy is the author of a number of highly acclaimed books, including Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant; Henrietta Howard: King's Mistress, Queen's Servant; Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen; Matilda, Queen of the Conqueror; Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction; The Story of the Tower of London; The Private Lives of the Tudors; Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him; and Crown and Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy. She has also published a trilogy of novels: The King's Witch, The Devil's Slave and The Fallen Angel. Tracy often appears on television and radio, and is a regular contributor to history magazines, notably BBC History. She is a trustee of The Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust and The National Archives Foundation, as well as a Patron of Lavenham Library, the Friends of Marble Hill House and the Chalke Valley History Festival, and Patron (Historical) of the Vectis Archaeological Trust. In 2017, she was awarded an honorary degree (DLit) from the University of Hull; in 2020, she was made an Honorary Fellow in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London; and in 2021, she was made an Honorary Professor at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln. She is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.




Siobhan Clarke, who looks after AWT bookings, pre-tour customer care and admin, has a BA in Modern History and has worked for Historic Royal Palaces for 20 years, delivering tours and lectures on the palaces of Hampton Court,Kensington, the Tower of London and the Banqueting House, Whitehall. She lectures for the Smithsonian and is an accredited lecturer for the Arts Society here in the UK. Siobhan has featured on BBC Radio‘Women's Hour’ and PBS Television's ‘Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace’. Her published work includes A Tudor Christmas with Alison Weir and several books with art historian, Linda Collins, including The Tudors: The Crown, the Dynasty, the Golden Age, and King and Collector: Henry VIII and the art of Kingship. Their latest book is Gloriana: Elizabeth I and the art of Queenship.




Richard Barber has had a huge influence on the study of medieval history and literature, both as a writer and as a publisher. His first book, on the Arthurian legend appeared in 1961, and his major works include The Knight and Chivalry (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award in 1971), Edward Prince of Wales and Aquitaine, The Penguin Guide to Medieval Europe and The Holy Grail: the history of a legend, which was widely praised and was translated into six languages. Edward III and the Triumph of England (2016), on the order of the Garter and its connection with Edward’s military successes was again well reviewed. Among many other titles, he wrote Henry II for the Penguin English Monarchs series, and his work on Tournaments, written jointly with Juliet Barker, remains the standard book on the subject. He was visiting Professor at the University of York until 2016 and was awarded an honorary doctorate there in 2015. His most recent book is Magnificence and princely splendour in the Middle Ages (2020).
   As a publisher, he helped to found Boydell Press in 1969, for which he established a number of major series in medieval studies. He oversaw its transformation into an employed-owned trust after his retirement as managing director in 2008. He also negotiated the creation of the University of Rochester Press in 1989, and the acquisition of scholarly imprints in the fields of German, Spanish and African studies.





Dr Joanne Paul is a writer, historian and broadcaster working on the history of the Renaissance, Tudor and Early Modern Periods. She is Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex and a 2017 AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker. She has written for the Cambridge University Press 'Ideas in Context' series and has been widely praised for her work on Thomas More, William Shakespeare, Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes. The House of Dudley is her acclaimed history of the Dudley family. Picked as a Times Book of the Week and Book of 2022, The House of Dudley also garnered stellar reviews in The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday, Literary Review, Spectator and was featured in History Today and BBC History Magazine.




Melita Thomas has a Master’s in Historical Research from the Institute of Historical Research and is a PhD candidate in Early Modern Studies at UC, focusing on Mary I’s political and social networks.  She is the co-founder and editor of Tudor Times, a website devoted to Tudor and Stewart history 1485-1625.
Melita has published two books, The King’s Pearl, about the relationship between Henry VIII and his daughter, Mary, and The House of Grey: Friends and Foes of Kings, which tells the story of the Grey family from the marriage of Sir John Grey to Elizabeth Woodville, to the execution of their descendant, Lady Jane Grey.  She has recently submitted her third book to publishers – 1000 Tudor People, a compendium of some of the most important and interesting men and women of the period. It will be published later in 2023.




Dr Sophie Thérèse Ambler is Reader in Medieval History and Deputy Director of the Centre for War and Diplomacy at Lancaster University. Her work explores political ethics and war in the central and later Middle Ages. She is the author of The Song of Simon de Montfort: England’s First Revolutionary and the Death of Chivalry (Picador and OUP, 2019) and Bishops in the Political Community of England, 1213-72 (OUP, 2017). She is currently working on a new book about experiences of war in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. She holds a Philip Leverhulme Prize in History and in 2022 is a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.





London born soprano Jay Britton created The Tudor Songbook to combine her professional singing career with her passion for Tudor History, performing Tudor music in full Tudor costume.  Jay began her operatic training at the age of 18, gaining an honours degree from the Royal Academy of Music, then studied for a masters degree at the Royal College of Music with a scholarship for her second year’s study. Regularly performing across the UK, Jay has appeared at prestigious historic venues including Hever Castle (launching their Becoming Anne exhibition), two sold out concerts at Speke Hall, and successful engagements at venues including Penshurt Place, The Walker Gallery in Liverpool, Southwark Cathedral, Layer Marney Tower, Harvington Hall, Bolton Castle and Turton Tower. Future plans include working with the National Trust to bring some Elizabethan music to Hardwick Hall, and with English Heritage for a concert of Tudor music at Eltham Palace. 




John Marston has had over fifty years' experience in the travel industry, and he will accompany the tour in the role of Travel Director to ensure that all guests have information on hotels, restaurants, schedule timings, local information and baggage handling etc.. John has worked for major commercial companies including Land Rover, Jaguar Cars and L'Oreal Cosmetics, arranging world-wide travel for groups of between forty to over four hundred. His experience has included planning and booking trips, and personally escorting these groups. For Land Rover, John was in charge of their major U.S. dealer group, looking after a party of fifty executive guests and their partners, and arranging visits to London, Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, the Duke of Atholl's estate at Pitlochry in Scotland, and Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland. This was just one of many launch programs that John has organised; his priority has always been to give the highest standard of personal attention to guests' needs. Jo Marston accompanies AWT's tours with her husband, John; her role is to look after guests' pastoral needs and support the team.