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Born to Rule: Royal Births in Tudor and Stuart England

By Cambridge University

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This summer, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is due to give birth to an heir to the throne. In this pair of lectures, leading historians explore how Tudor and Stuart monarchs begat children. We’ll go from throne to bedchamber, from weddings to ballads as we examine how Henry VIII’s fertility struggles and the scandal over the “warming pan baby” shed light on the history of fertility, pregnancy and childbirth in the British Isles. Lecture 1 Henry VIII: The Quest for an Heir, given by Peter Jones Lecture 2 Mary of Modena: A Royal Scandal, given by Mary Fissell Born to Rule is presented by Generation to Reproduction, a research group at University of Cambridge that is studying the history of reproduction with funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Customer Reviews

The Search for Succession

The first essay on Henry VIII's quest for a son and the reasons why is informative and entertaining. I often think although that Henry had no confidence in his daughters ability to rule, Elizabeth was probably one of the greatest monarchs in European history. The second essay on the Stuarts (the baby in the warming pan) is a bit rambling and unfocused.

Interesting, leaves you wanting more

It’s a well-done pair of lectures. Wish that the program was expanded to royal births for the entire course of British monarchy.