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The Wars of the Roses

Lucy explores British history as a concoction of fibs and stories manipulated by whoever was in power. This episode debunks the foundation myth of the Tudors.

Lucy debunks the foundation myth of one of our favourite royal dynasties, the Tudors.

According to the history books, after 30 years of bloody battles between the white-rosed Yorkists and the red-rosed Lancastrians, Henry Tudor rid us of civil war and the evil king Richard III. But Lucy reveals how the Tudors invented the story of the 'Wars of the Roses' after they came to power to justify their rule.

She shows how Henry and his historians fabricated the scale of the conflict, forged Richard's monstrous persona and even conjured up the image of competing roses. When our greatest storyteller William Shakespeare got in on the act and added his own spin, Tudor fiction was cemented as historical fact.

Taking the story right up to date, with the discovery of Richard III's bones in a Leicester car park, Lucy discovers how 15th-century fibs remain as compelling as they were over 500 years ago. As one colleague tells Lucy: 'Never believe an historian!

59 minutes

Last on

Sat 4 Jul 2020 20:15


Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:30

    Arthur Sullivan

    Tower Warders, Under Orders


Role Contributor
Presenter Lucy Worsley
Producer Eleanor Scoones
Director Eleanor Scoones
Series Producer Nick Gillam-Smith
Executive Producer Chris Granlund


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