18 May 2018

Tudor Book Spotlight: The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII, by Suzannah Lipscomb


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

On 28 January 1547, the sickly and obese King Henry VIII died at Whitehall. Just hours before his passing, his last will and testament had been read, stamped and sealed. The will confirmed the line of succession as Edward, Mary and Elizabeth; and, following them, the Grey and Suffolk families. It also listed bequests to the king's most trusted councillors and servants.

Henry's will is one of the most intriguing and contested documents in British history. Historians have disagreed over its intended meaning, its authenticity and validity, and the circumstances of its creation. 

As well as examining the background to the drafting of the will and describing Henry's last days, Suzannah Lipscomb offers her own, illuminating interpretation of one of the most significant constitutional documents of the Tudor period.

Reviews:
‘I was gripped by Suzannah Lipscomb’s The King is Dead, an elegantly written forensic examination of Henry VIII’s last will and testament, one of the most significant constitutional documents in British history.’ (Saul David, Evening Standard)
Lipscomb 'deserves admiration for taking on some of the heavy-hitters among Tudor historians and for holding her own....This is a book that deserves to be read. Lipscomb has produced an entirely credible interpretation of a contentious issue. Her sober but still engaging prose thankfully lacks that sweet sentimentality that so often characterises popular histories of the Tudors. Her analysis of the available documents seems sturdy. With admirable authority, she provides an interesting allegory about how misplaced trust can undermine the best-laid plans of a powerful king.' (Prof. Gerard DeGroot, The Times)
‘Scholars have long jousted over the provenance, authenticity and validity of Henry VIII’s 1546 will, making it one of the most contested documents in British history. Lipscomb approaches the debate as a series of ‘mysteries to be solved’, bringing us directly into the corridors of 16th-century English power by supplying, in an appendix, the document itself. …Challengers to the will’s validity contend that a cabal of courtiers took advantage of a fading monarch to manipulate the endgame. But Lipscomb makes the case that the will was exactly as a dying but still leonine Henry wished it… Both wonkish and elegant, The King is Dead allows us a peek inside.’ (Jean Zimmerman, New York Times Book Review)
‘Nimbly scrutinizes Henry VIII’s unusual final will to lend insight into the king’s state of mind and religious beliefs during the last months of his life while also settling potential timeline incongruities.’ (Publishers Weekly) 
‘A gripping, forceful and forensically detailed investigation into the most controversial document of Henry VIII’s reign’. Jessie Childs
# # #
About the Author

Dr Suzannah Lipscomb is Senior Lecturer and Convenor for History at New College of the Humanities, London, and also holds a post as Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. For three years she was Research Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, based at Hampton Court Palace; she is now a Consultant for Historic Royal Palaces and on their Research Strategy Board. Find out more at Suzannah's website http://suzannahlipscomb.com/ and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @sixteenthCgirl

No comments:

Post a Comment

AddToAny