Illegitimate children, adulterous queens, impotent kings, and a whole dynasty resting on their shoulders. Sex and childbirth were quite literally a matter of life or death for the Tudors – Elizabeth of York died in childbirth, two of Henry VIII’s queens were beheaded for infidelity and Elizabeth I’s elective virginity signalled the demise of a dynasty. Amy Licence guides the reader through the births of Elizabeth of York’s two sons, Arthur and Henry, Catherine of Aragon’s subsequent marriages to both of these men, Henry VIII’s other five wives and his mistresses, and the sex lives of his daughters. This book details the experiences of all these women, from fertility, conception and pregnancy through to the delivery chamber, on to maternal and infant mortality. Each woman’s story is a blend of specific personal circumstances, set against their historical moment: for some the joys were brief; for others it was a question that ultimately determined their fates.
About the Author
Amy Licence is an historian of women’s lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth.
Amy has written for The Guardian, the BBC Website, The English Review, The London Magazine, The Huffington Post, Bounty and is a regular contributor to the New Statesman. She has been interviewed for BBC 5 Live and Irish Newstalk radio and will make her TV debut this summer, in a BBC documentary and ITN’s live coverage of the royal baby’s birth. You can follow Amy on twitter @PrufrocksPeach or like her facebook page In Bed With the Tudors. She also has a personal blog authorherstorianparent.blogspot.com
Amy lives in the medieval city of Canterbury, England with her husband and two sons.