The Courtly Code Behind the Last Medieval Dynasty
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 Elizabeth I’s poems to 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. In the #MeToo era, re-examining the history of the social codes behind modern romance has never been more vital.
‘A riveting, pacy page-turner… the Tudors as you’ve never seen them before.’ – Alison Weir
‘Gristwood does a superb job in distilling the vast amount of modern scholarship on this topic.’ – Gareth Russell
‘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
‘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
‘Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted into a narrative that reads like a romance…
Nobody writes like Sarah Gristwood, truly stunning.’ – Nicola Tallis, author of Uncrowned
‘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
‘Captivating and entrancing, the exquisitely detailed The Tudors in Love explores the
entanglements of love, sex, marriage and politics in the Tudor dynasty… Full of insight and
fascinating.’ – Kate Williams, author of Rival Queens