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Live On Stage
Wednesday October 19 2022, 7pm BST

From Alfred the Great to Victoria: Who Was the Greatest English Monarch? with Dan Snow and Guests

History &
Social Policy

In Partnership With:

When Intelligence Squared and History Hit joined forces on this event, neither company imagined it would take place after the death of Britain’s longest serving monarch. There will be plenty of time to explore the Queen’s legacy and her impact on Britain’s history over the last seven decades, but we do not feel it would be appropriate for this light-hearted – if learned – debate. For now, we would like to take this moment to acknowledge her life-long service to the country.


Dan Snow’s History Hit and Intelligence Squared have come together for this live in-person debate. Each of the kings and queens competing for the title left a distinctive stamp on their era – but who did most to shape the nation and the lives of its people? Who was the cleverest? Who was the bravest? Who was the most loved? 

Alfred the Great: King of the Anglo-Saxons who repeatedly defeated the Vikings and laid the groundwork for the birth of England. Henry VIII: the indomitable Tudor who radically changed the English constitution to suit his needs, ignored the authority of the Pope and (arguably) launched Britain’s first Brexit. Elizabeth I: who survived in a man’s world through her shrewd intelligence, religious tolerance and refusal to dilute her power by marrying. Or Victoria: who salvaged the monarchy after a succession of incompetent Georgian kings and who by embracing marriage and motherhood, set an example that our own queen and royal family have followed to this day.

This lively event will throw light on the monarchy as an institution, exploring how it has survived the challenges and vicissitudes of the ages. 

Join Dan Snow at the Leicester Square Theatre in London as he chairs the debate with four celebrated historians who will battle it out on behalf of their chosen monarch, and make up your own mind as to who really deserves the crown.  

 

Event Name

From Alfred the Great to Victoria: Who Was the Greatest English Monarch? with Dan Snow and Guests



Making the case for Alfred the Great
  • Tom Holland

    Award-winning historian and broadcaster, who has written biographies of  Æthelflæd, Alfred the Great’s daughter, and Æthelstan, his grandson

Making the case for Henry VIII
  • Tracy Borman

    Bestselling author, historian and broadcaster and author of Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him

Making the case for Elizabeth I
  • Helen Castor

    Historian of the middle ages and sixteenth century, and author of Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity

Making the case for Queen Victoria
  • Jane Ridley

    Historian, biographer, broadcaster and author of Queen Victoria: Queen, Empress, Matriarch

CHAIR
  • Dan Snow

    Award-winning history broadcaster, bestselling author and host of the History Hit podcast


Location
  • Leicester Square Theatre
  • 6 Leicester Place
  • London
  • WC2H 7BX
Time
  • Wednesday 19 October 2022
  • 7pm to 8:30pm BST



Speakers

Making the case for Alfred the Great

Tom Holland

Award-winning historian and broadcaster, who has written biographies of  Æthelflæd, Alfred the Great’s daughter, and Æthelstan, his grandson


Award-winning historian, translator and broadcaster. His most recent book, Dominion, explores why Christianity is the most enduring and influential legacy of the ancient world, and his next book, due to be published in September 2023, is a portrait of the pax Romana during its heyday. He has translated Herodotus and Suetonius for Penguin Classics, and has written biographies of both Æthelflæd, Alfred’s daughter, and Æthelstan, his grandson.   Holland is co-presenter of Europe’s most downloaded history podcast, The Rest is History. He has written and presented several TV documentaries, for the BBC and Channel 4, on subjects ranging from ISIS to dinosaurs. He has been described in The Times as ‘a leading English cricketer’.  
Making the case for Henry VIII

Tracy Borman

Bestselling author, historian and broadcaster and author of Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him


Tracy Borman  Bestselling author, historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Tudor period.  Her books include Elizabeth’s Women, Thomas Cromwell, The Private Lives of the Tudors and Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him. She has also written a fiction trilogy, The King’s Witch, based in the court of James I. Her latest book, Crown & Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy, was published ahead of the Platinum Jubilee in 2022.   Tracy is also joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust and Chancellor of Bishop Grosseteste University in her native Lincoln. She has presented a number of history programmes for Channel 5 and the Smithsonian Channel, including The Fall of Anne Boleyn, Inside the Tower of London and Henry VIII and the King’s Men.  She is a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine and gives talks on her books across the country and abroad.   
Making the case for Queen Victoria

Jane Ridley

Historian, biographer, broadcaster and author of Queen Victoria: Queen, Empress, Matriarch


Historian, biographer, broadcaster and Professor of Modern History at the University of Buckingham. She wrote an acclaimed biography of King Edward VII, Bertie: A Life of Edward, and this was followed by Queen Victoria: Queen, Empress, Matriarch. In 2021 she published a major new biography, George V: Never a Dull Moment. She has appeared in TV documentaries about royal history and she reviews in publications such as The Spectator. She is the current Chairman of the Biographers’ Club and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and Royal Historical Society.  
CHAIR
  • Dan Snow

    Award-winning history broadcaster, bestselling author and host of the History Hit podcast

Making the case for Elizabeth I

Helen Castor

Historian of the middle ages and sixteenth century, and author of Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity


Historian of the middle ages and sixteenth century, a Bye-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her books include the prize-winning Blood & Roses: The Paston Family in the Fifteenth Century; Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity for the Penguin Monarchs series, and Joan of Arc, dubbed a ‘triumph of history’.   Her book She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth, was made into a BBC TV series and selected as a book of the year by numerous publications. She has presented a range of programmes for BBC TV and radio and Channel 4.    Her introduction to a new edition of William Golding’s Close Quarters was published in April 2022, and she is currently at work on The Eagle and the Hart, a study of Richard II and Henry IV, due to appear in 2023.