Edward and Mary: The Unknown Tudors

Watch Edward and Mary: The Unknown Tudors

  • 2002
  • 1 Season
  • 7.3  (70)

Edward and Mary: The Unknown Tudors is a documentary series presented by renowned historian David Starkey, alongside co-presenters Rachel Jenkins and Tim Wright. The show delves into the lives of two lesser-known Tudor monarchs – Edward VI, the son of Henry VIII, and Mary I, his half-sister.

The first episode begins by setting the scene in Tudor England, with Starkey giving some context to the political and religious instability of the era. He explains how Edward and Mary each came to the throne, and what challenges they faced during their short reigns.

The focus then turns to Edward VI, who ascended the throne at the age of just nine. Starkey explores Edward's upbringing, including his relationship with his mother, Jane Seymour, and his education under the tutelage of Protestant reformers. We learn how Edward was a sickly child, plagued by health problems until his death at the age of just 15.

The series uses a mix of expert interviews, historical reenactments, and archival footage to bring the stories of Edward and Mary to life. Scenes from the Tower of London, where both monarchs were imprisoned, add to the sense of drama and historical authenticity.

Throughout the series, Starkey and his co-presenters draw on their extensive knowledge of Tudor history to shed light on little-known aspects of Edward and Mary's reigns. For example, we learn about the challenges faced by Mary as a Catholic monarch in a country that was becoming increasingly Protestant. We also hear about Edward's attempts to reform the Church of England, and the contentious debates that raged between different factions of Protestants.

One of the strengths of the series is its use of primary sources to build a more nuanced picture of the Tudor monarchs. Starkey and his team draw on letters, diaries, and official documents to piece together the thoughts and feelings of Edward and Mary, as well as the people around them. This helps to humanize the monarchs and show them as real people with fears, doubts, and aspirations.

The series also touches on the broader political and social context of Tudor England, highlighting the ways in which Edward and Mary's reigns were shaped by wider trends and events. We learn about the impact of the Reformation on English society, and how it led to sectarian conflict and political upheaval. The series also explores the relationship between England and its European neighbors, including Spain and France.

Ultimately, Edward and Mary: The Unknown Tudors offers a fascinating glimpse into a lesser-known period of English history. The show is informative and engaging, with Starkey's expert commentary providing a valuable insight into the politics, religion, and culture of Tudor England. With its mix of archival footage, expert interviews, and historical reenactments, the series is a must-watch for anyone interested in the Tudor period.

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Episode 2: Mary
2. Episode 2: Mary
November 7, 2002
Within a few years Mary was under virtual house arrest and banned from celebrating mass; within a few more years Edward was dead at the tragically early age of 16 and Mary became Queen. She set about making England a Catholic country once more and hundreds of Protestants, including Edward's most trusted advisors, were burnt at the stake because they refused to renounce their faith.
Episode 1: Edward
1. Episode 1: Edward
November 7, 2002
When Edward was just nine their father died and the young boy became King, surrounded by advisors and further distanced from his beloved elder sister. But by now they were divided not just by power and status, but also by faith. Mary was a staunch Catholic, Edward a reforming Protestant. At this time such matters were not an issue of personal choice but matters of life or death, treason or heresy.
  • Premiere Date
    November 7, 2002
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (70)