Henry VII: Out of the Shadows?

We eavesdrop on Ian Dawson as he interrogates the sources and wonders whether the first Tudor was really so mysterious.

Summarising human personality is a dangerous business. Henry VII is often caricatured as a dour accountant or as an enigmatic, elusive personality. But what of his love of tennis, hunting and his real anxiety in times of crisis? Henry's was a rich, intriguing personality if we can bring him out of the shadows.

'Good morning, could you open your cases?' Like all visitors to the Tower of London I have to be searched. Most people carry small bags. I have two large suitcases. The security guard looks a little concerned. Just how many cheese and tomato sandwiches does one tourist need?

I open the cases. No sandwiches, but a wig, boots and a long purple robe, crushed velvet with silver brocade. Clearly an explanation is required. 'I'm going to the Education Centre to, er, play Henry VII.

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