Past Matters bonus 2021 special episode – interview with dr valerie schutte

In this bonus special episode, I talk to Tudor queenship expert Dr Valerie Schutte about that most underrated of Henry VIII’s wives – Anne of Cleves and a book of hours she gifted Henry VIII in 1533 (now in the Folger Shakespeare Library). Listen in to hear more about how Anne actually had a quite powerful status in England post-divorce, her relationship with Henry and his children, and about monk who really wanted Henry to take her back. 

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Past Matters 2021 special episode – interview with dr ian mortimer

In one of three special episodes, host Ploy Radford talks to Dr Ian Mortimer, historian and author of the hugely popular ‘Time Traveller’s Guide…’ series about the rediscovery of the mirror in medieval Europe. This most basic of objects led to a revolution in the sense of self and can even be linked to a decrease in crime for a period…

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Past Matters 2021 special episode – interview with Dr Ellie Woodacre

In one of three special episodes, I talk to royal studies specialist Dr Ellie Woodacre about a collection of books that belonged to Joan of Navarre, wife of Henry IV and stepmother to Henry V, of Battle of Agincourt fame. The books provide a fantastic starting part for a wider discussion about this little known English queen who left her children from her first marriage to move to England, had French royal blood, and was imprisoned by her stepson for witchcraft. 

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Past Matters 2021 special episode – interview with Kelcey wilson-lee

In one of three special episodes of my podcast Past Matters, I talk to Kelcey Wilson-Lee, historian and author of ‘Daughters of Chivalry’, a biography of the five daughters of Edward I (aka the king in ‘Braveheart’). Kelcey picks the Alphonso Psalter as her underrated historic object and reveals what it tells us about life and death in medieval England as well as its owner, Edward I’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth. 

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“One in five regional museums have closed”: so how can cities protect them?

“Imagine you are in London’s South Kensington district. You pass the glorious Romanesque architecture of the Natural History Museum on Cromwell Road, before turning onto Exhibition Road where you encounter not one but two more museums, the V&A and the Science Museum. Now imagine that, instead of being open to the public and bursting with tourists, they were closed and dilapidated, Dippy the dinosaur outside with a “for sale” sign around his neck.  Read More

The Venus thigh trap

Despite the fact that women are harbingers of life into this world, men, and Hollywood, love the idea of the femme fatale. And nowhere is this fascination more physically embodied than in Hollywood film directors’ predilection for female fighting stunts to involve a woman wrapping her thighs around the neck of a man and snapping it. Or strangling him. Or just bringing him down to land the killing blow. Read More

Rules of attraction – or have I turned into a sexist myself?

Objectification. An ugly sounding word about an ugly issue that feminists rightly campaign about. Women have suffered hugely over the centuries from the reduction of their worth to just how good their body looks and the problem rages on.

Just look at the recent Protein World ads effectively body shaming women into thinking only those with unrealistically skinny bodies should be allowed to go to the beach. Because of course, the only reason women might want to go to the beach is to spice up the view for some sleazy men. Read More

Things being single in London has taught me

Experience is the best teacher. It’s also the shittiest, so sometimes I wish I were better at listening to other people’s words of wisdom. As someone who is not infrequently found in bed alone before 9pm in mismatching pyjamas demolishing a tub of Pringles, I clearly still have a lot to learn about leading a fulfilling life. However, here are some pearls (ok more like some cheap precious stones) of wisdom about dating that I have picked up along the way: Read More