'Borman approaches her topic with huge enthusiasm and a keen eye for entertaining...this is a very human story of a remarkable family, full of vignettes that sit long in the mind.' Dan Jones, The Sunday Times
'Tracy Borman's eye for detail is impressive; the book is packed with fascinating courtly minutiae... this is a wonderful book.' The Times
'Borman is an authoritative and engaging writer, good at prising out those humanising details that make the past alive to us.' The Observer
'Fascinating, detailed account of the everyday reality of the royals... This is a book of rich scholarship.' Daily Mail
'Tracy Borman's passion for the Tudor period shines forth from the pages of this fascinatingly detailed book, which vividly illuminates what went on behind the scenes at the Tudor court.' Alison Weir
'I do not live in a corner. A thousand eyes see all I do.' Elizabeth I
The Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers. Even in their most private moments, they were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for the task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed.
These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior. They saw the tears shed by Henry VII upon the death of his son Arthur. They knew the tragic secret behind 'Bloody' Mary's phantom pregnancies. And they saw the 'crooked carcass' beneath Elizabeth I's carefully applied makeup, gowns and accessories.
It is the accounts of these eyewitnesses, as well as a rich array of other contemporary sources that historian Tracy Borman has examined more closely than ever before. With new insights and discoveries, and in the same way that she brilliantly illuminated the real Thomas Cromwell - The Private Life of the Tudors will reveal previously unexamined details about the characters we think we know so well.
Borman (Thomas Cromwell), a senior curator of Britain's Historic Royal Palaces organization, eschews the oft-told tabloid tales that emphasize the Tudor family's colorful public personas to focus instead upon their private lives and daily rituals. The larger-than-life personalities and romantic misadventures of the Tudor dynasty, which ruled England from 1485 to 1603, have been thoroughly mined in print and on film; readers hoping for yet another sensationalist and titillating history are going to be disappointed. Borman doesn't do much to further popular understanding of the period, and the amount of detail about the rarefied world that the Tudors inhabited can be overwhelming, but she does unearth some obscure and intriguing tidbits that have been overlooked by other historians. Among the details included here are accounts that Henry VIII so liked the puddings made by the only woman who worked in his kitchens that he bought her a house, and that Elizabeth I liked to wear a perfume that she herself had invented. Though all five Tudor monarchs made even their most private moments into courtly spectacles, including their bathroom customs and childbirth travails, Borman's fine book goes far toward humanizing them. Recommended for serious devotees of the period. Illus.