The Tudors in Love

Pages: 400
Subject: History
Imprint: Oneworld

The Tudors in Love

The Courtly Code Behind the Last Medieval Dynasty

Sarah Gristwood

The bestselling historian finds a new way to look at the most famous English royal dynasty
Paperback(Out of stock)
9780861543748 (1 Sep 2022)
RRP £10.99
9781786078940 (23 Sep 2021)
RRP £20.00

The Book

BBC History Magazine Book of the Year 2021

‘One of the most important books to be written about the Tudors in a generation.' Tracy Borman

Why did Henry VIII marry six times? Why did Anne Boleyn have to die? Why did Elizabeth I's courtiers hail her as a goddess come to earth?

The dramas of courtly love have captivated centuries of readers and dreamers. Yet too often they're dismissed as something existing only in books and song - those old legends of King Arthur and chivalric fantasy.

Not so. In this ground-breaking history, Sarah Gristwood reveals the way courtly love made and marred the Tudor dynasty. From Henry VIII declaring himself as the ‘loyal and most assured servant' of Anne Boleyn to the poems lavished on Elizabeth I by her suitors, the Tudors re-enacted the roles of the devoted lovers and capricious mistresses first laid out in the romances of medieval literature. The Tudors in Love dissects the codes of love, desire and power, unveiling romantic obsessions that have shaped the history of this nation.

‘A riveting, pacy page-turner… the Tudors as you've never seen them before.' Alison Weir

Additional Information

Subject History
Pages 400
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Sarah Gristwood is the author of four previous books of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century history: the Sunday Times bestseller Arbella: England's Lost Queen; Elizabeth & Leicester; Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses; and the widely-translated Game of Queens. A former journalist, contributing to papers such as the Guardian and the Telegraph, she has also written a number of books on twentieth-century subjects. She features frequently at history festivals, and on radio and television discussing the past and present of Britain's monarchy. @sarahgristwood


‘Sarah Gristwood's book is a masterclass in marshalling a vast canon of research into a riveting, pacy page-turner… Here are the Tudors - and a good few others - as you have never seen them before.'

- Alison Weir

‘One of the most important books to be written about the Tudors in a generation.' 

- Tracy Borman, author of The Private Lives of the Tudors

‘This book stands out on the crowded bookshelves… [Gristwood] does a superb job in distilling the vast amount of modern scholarship on this topic… The Tudors in Love also expertly tells the story of a two-way love affair — that of the Tudors with their imagined past and ours with the Tudors.'

- Gareth Russell, The Times

‘Just when we think we know everything about the Tudors, along comes a book that turns that all on its head… The prose is as seductive as the subject matter. Be prepared to fall in love.'

- BBC History Magazine, Books of the Year 2021

‘With verve and erudition Gristwood takes us to the dark heart of courtly love and exposes the deadly Tudor dance of sex and power.'

- Leanda de Lisle, author of Tudor: The Family Story

‘Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted into a narrative that reads like a romance, prepare to see the Tudors as you've never seen them before. The Tudors in Love is a magnificent work of art painted by one of our most exceptional historians. Nobody writes like Sarah Gristwood, truly stunning.'

- Nicola Tallis, author of Uncrowned Queen

‘Captivating and entrancing, the exquisitely detailed The Tudors in Love explores the entanglements of love, sex, marriage and politics in the Tudor dynasty, revealing how the famously spectacular love affairs intersected with political propaganda and the business of governing, and how the medieval game of courtly love became pressed into the business of shoring up a brand-new monarchy. Full of insight and fascinating.'

- Kate Williams, author of Rival Queens

‘One of the most important books to be written about the Tudors in a generation. The seductively rich prose and endlessly engaging narrative bring an entirely fresh perspective to this celebrated dynasty. By placing courtly love on an equal footing with war, politics and religion, Sarah Gristwood unlocks the Tudor mindset - with fascinating and often surprising results. Never mind the Tudors, I'm in love…with this book.'

- Tracy Borman, author of The Private Lives of the Tudors

‘A highbrow chronicle.'

- Daily Mail

‘The ideas and analysis are fascinating.'

- Tudor Times

‘Sarah Gristwood is one of our finest historians, and a great writer. Her latest book is a masterclass in marshalling a vast canon of research into a riveting, pacy page-turner. She takes us on a virtuoso romp through the loves and tropes of medieval and Tudor royalty, all seen from the novel perspective of courtly love… here are the Tudors (and a good few others) as you have never seen them before… Gristwood's inimitable style is elegant, her approach concise, measured and incisive.'

- Alison Weir, Catholic Herald

‘Gristwood handles multiple narrative strands with tremendous finesse… Densely packed with fascinating material, this immensely ambitious undertaking succeeds triumphantly.'

- Literary Review on Game of Queens

‘Sarah Gristwood's study of the brilliant, beleaguered and often bloody difficult women who kept Europe going in the sixteenth century is compelling, clear-eyed, beautifully rendered and never-more-timely.'

- Jessie Childs on Game of Queens

Also by this author