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Lucy Worsley's True Tales from The Tower

Historian and author Lucy Worsley is a familiar face on our TV screens, and as the joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, she knows a thing or two about the Tower of London. These are some of her favourite stories from the Tower's history, but where could you take these tales for your own 500 Words story?

The Poisoned Princess:
A princess is locked up in the Tower of London and given nothing but an egg to eat. It was poisoned, and she died. WHO MURDERED HER AND WHY?

The Cursed Boy:
A rare diamond among the Crown Jewels places a curse on any man who touches it, but not a woman. The cleaning lady brings her little boy to work with her, and he can’t resist picking it up. WHAT HAPPENS?

The Ravenous Raven:
A raven, one of the guardians of the Tower of London, is caught eating people’s television aerials. The raven is sacked from the Tower, and sent to live in a raven sanctuary in Wales. WHAT HAPPENS TO HIM THERE?

The King And The Rebels:
A boy king faces down a dangerous mob of rebels. HOW DOES HE GET THEM TO LISTEN TO HIM?

The Dusty Documents:
A lazy Keeper of the Records has let the Tower of London’s archives get into a mess. The parchments and scrolls are in ‘a deplorable pickle … overspread with dust and cobwebs and eaten up with rust, cankers, moths and worms’. WHAT VITAL DOCUMENT MIGHT BE LOST?

The Armoured Apparition:
A security guard was walking through the Tower of London one night, checking that there were no intruders. Suddenly, to his horror, one of the suits of armour started to move. WHO WAS INSIDE IT?

The Search For A Spy:
Five hundred people live within the walls of the Tower of London, including a carpenter, governess, painter, tobacco maker, housekeeper, innkeeper, ‘Flower Maker’, chaplain, soldiers and cleaning ladies. WHICH ONE OF THEM IS A FRENCH SPY, AND HOW DOES HE OR SHE GET CAUGHT?

The Explosive Evacuation:
A great fire is raging all over the City of London, and the Tower of London contains a huge store of gunpowder. It has to be got out before the flames reach the Tower. HOW DO THEY DO IT?

The Stealthy Soldier:
A daring soldier tries to steal the Crown Jewels. HOW DID HE DO IT?

The Wife Who Was Head Over Heals In Love:
The wife of Sir Walter Raleigh loved her husband so much that after he was executed she kept his head in a red bag. WHAT HAPPENED WHEN SHE ACCIDENTALLY LEFT THE BAG BEHIND?

The Polar Bear’s Past:
A polar bear lives at the Tower of London and swims in the Thames to catch fish to eat. WHERE WAS HE BORN AND WHAT WAS HIS LIFE STORY?

The Moustachioed Men:
Moustachioed men who work in the banks of the City of London queue up at the Tower of London to join the Stockbroker’s Battalion. They will go to fight in World War One. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THEM?

The Invisible Ink:
Father John Gerard, a Catholic priest, was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He used orange juice as invisible ink to write to his friends. DOES HE MANAGE TO ESCAPE?

The Sleeping Soliders:
A prisoner of the Tower gave his guards a barrel of wine. The guards drank the wine and fell asleep. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

The Curious Curator:
The newly-appointed Curator of the Armouries in Victorian times immediately started to try on all the suits of armour in the Tower of London for himself. DID HE GET CAUGHT?

The Buried Bones:
An archaeologist finds some human bones buried in a secret room underneath the Tower of London. HOW DID THEY GET THERE?

Inspired by some of these stories? Why not take a listen to Lucy talking about some of them in more detail with BBC Radio 2's Simon Mayo...

Lucy Worsley Speaks to Simon Mayo

Simon Mayo had a chat with Lucy Worsley about the Tower of London's intriguing tales.

Find out more about some of the tales from the tower on the Historic Royal Palaces website.

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