Out now in paperback: The Favourite

The Favourite, my book about the relationship between Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Ralegh, is now out in paperback through Constable. The new edition includes a lengthy afterword taking the story through to the end of Ralegh's life in 1618. 'The Favourite is wonderful. Elegant and intriguing – a seductive portrait of a fascinating relationship. I couldn’t … Continue reading Out now in paperback: The Favourite

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Review: White King: Charles I – Traitor, Murderer, Martyr by Leanda de Lisle

On New Year’s Day 1640, Charles I was in the Banqueting House participating in what would be the last court masque of his reign. Charles himself performed as King Philogenes, the lover of his people, who rescues his kingdom from a Fury named Discord. “All that are harsh, all that are rude / Are by … Continue reading Review: White King: Charles I – Traitor, Murderer, Martyr by Leanda de Lisle

Raising money for Alzheimer’s research

Just a quick post to say that I am doing the Dry January thing to raise money for research into Alzheimer's. As some of you may know, my father developed the disease late in life. Having seen its effect first hand, and having helped nursed my father through his last weeks and months, this is … Continue reading Raising money for Alzheimer’s research

Review: Summer’s Last Will and Testament by Thomas Nashe

  Saturday 30 September saw a unique staging of Thomas Nashe’s only extant whole-authored play, Summer’s Last Will and Testament, in the Great Hall of the Bishop’s Palace in Croydon, where it was first performed in the early autumn of 1592. The performance was a joint venture between the Edward’s Boys company, from the King … Continue reading Review: Summer’s Last Will and Testament by Thomas Nashe

Mary, Countess of Pembroke: poetry, patronage and power

This is, more or less, the text of the talk I gave earlier this month at the Wilton History Festival. Mary, Countess of Pembroke, and her sons William and Philip, were the most influential patrons of the Elizabethan and Jacobean era. Let’s begin with a story to illustrate that assertion. For the moment, we will … Continue reading Mary, Countess of Pembroke: poetry, patronage and power

Of God and Jonson: theatre history, new things and non-events

I was fortunate to be able to attend some of the superb Before Shakespeare conference at Roehampton last week. I came away with a range of thoughts and ideas, some of which I hope to pursue in one form or another. Perhaps the thing that struck me most, however, was Bill Ingram’s opening talk. Ingram … Continue reading Of God and Jonson: theatre history, new things and non-events

Wilton History Festival: the Countess of Pembroke and her circle

Just a brief post to say I will be speaking at Wilton History Festival on 17 September about the literary circle around Mary Sidney and the power of patronage. For those who don't know, Mary Sidney was the younger sister Philip Sidney and is the Countess of Pembroke for whom he wrote the Arcadia. However, … Continue reading Wilton History Festival: the Countess of Pembroke and her circle

Forgotten London films: Underground (1928)

Underground is the only silent film I’ve included on this list – and it is a corker. Largely shot on location, it is a treasure trove for anyone wanting to know what interwar London looked like – around Chelsea in particular. (Lots Road power station plays a major role – but you’ll have to watch … Continue reading Forgotten London films: Underground (1928)