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Henry VIII's Will: A Yearful of London Week 8

In my (impossible) quest to know everything about London's history, I've got a bit stuck on Henry VIII.

It's not really the wives thing that gets me going (though it is blimmin' interesting). It's the dynamics and relationships at court, the plotting, the paranoia, how the bishops and lords ruled that I find so captivating.

Anyone care to hazard a guess about the theme of our next team challenge (early July)?

It was in researching for our first DIY running tour (Henry VIII's London) that I became so engrossed in the 16th century. I've read a fair few books, listened to a number of podcasts. But it was in all the TV programmes that I first noticed her.

This young female historian that spoke in a different way to the other historians. She was more alive. She made the history come alive. Her name? Of course, it's Suzannah Lipscomb.

Suzannah Lipsombe

There she was on pretty much every documentary that I watched, giving David Starkey a run for his money. She's clever, hip, engaging, insightful.... sorry, am I overdoing it?!

When I stumbled upon her giving a free public lecture at the New College of the Humanities (A. C. Grayling's new university) I could not resist.

We waited for a while and watched a few promo videos about the university (I'm sold!) - then up she came! Suzannah in the flesh!

Suzannah Lipscombe

Shame all the brats were sat at the front between me and my future best friend!

The talk was on Henry VIII's will - was it a conspiracy? Historians have previously thought so, but in her talk, Dr Lipscomb succinctly and logically argued against the tide.

Just as inspiring as she is on TV, Dr Lipscomb had a chance to show off her knowledge by answering a number of questions from the audience. Always friendly. Always delightfully argued.

It turns out that she's just launched a book on this subject: The King is Dead. but this lady was too cool to promote it there. Rest assured, when I'm famous [dreaming] and giving a speech on the very topic of my latest book you can certainly expect a 15 minute promo at the beginning and end of my performance. We can't all be as chilled as Suzannah!

The next public lecture at the New College of the Humanities is by moral philosophy hero, Peter Singer: "'Family, Affluence and Morality' Revisited" on the 8th June. I've got my ticket!

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