WELCOME JUNE 2023

OUR COVER IMAGES SHOW: ELIZABETH I, HENRY VIII AND ANNE BOLEYN: GETTY IMAGES. EDMUND HILLARY AND TENZING NORGAY: GETTY IMAGES.HENRY III: ALAMY. THIS PAGE: DREAMSTIME/GETTY IMAGES/THE TUDOR TAILOR/DAMIAN MCFADDEN

Elizabeth I did not have the happiest childhood. Before she was three years old her father executed her mother, and she was subsequently neglected by that father and imprisoned by her half-sister. When she finally ascended the throne, how would she make sense of all this? Would she seek to honour Henry VIII, or try to rehabilitate Anne Boleyn? In our cover feature, on page 20, Tracy Borman considers how the queen navigated this dilemma.

Also this month, were reflecting on two anniversaries in which Britain played a key role. On page 28, Robin Ashcroft revisits the expedition that ascended Mount Everest 70 years ago. And on page 46, Matthew Hughes looks back on the British mandate of Palestine, which concluded 75 years ago, coinciding with the foundation of the State of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe). His piece focuses on the British angle, and its struggles to resolve the often-competing demands of Palestinian Arabs and Jews.

Finally, Id like to draw your attention to this months Conversation, where were delving into the complex interplay between history and politics. On page 11, David Motadel considers whether historians should view the past through the prism of the present, while, on page 15, Zareer Masani explains the motivations behind the History Reclaimed group, which is challenging what it sees as the abuse of history for political purposes. Im sure youll have responses to these, so please do write in with your thoughts.

Rob Attar

Editor

THREE THINGS I’VE LEARNED THIS MONTH

1. Fromage affray

In my recent podcast interview with Damien Stone about the Hittites (coming to HistoryExtra.com soon), he explained to me how this ancient civilisation had a fondness for cheese-fighting, in which combatants struck each other with the popular dairy product.

2. A great relief

One consequence of the British Everest expedition’s excellent hydration was that when Edmund Hillary arrived at the summit of the world’s highest peak, he had “no choice but to urinate on it” (page 28).

3. Black is the old black

Our interview with Jane Malcolm-Davies on 16th-century clothing contains the fascinating fact that black was “the most important colour in the Tudor wardrobe” (page 82).

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS

Jonathan Kennedy “Pandemics have killed millions of people and brought empires crashing down – but they have also created the space for new societies and innovative ideas to emerge and thrive.” Jonathan charts six moments when disease transformed society on page 40

Joanna Arman

“I wanted to find out who Margaret of Anjou actually was: to peel away the centuries of propaganda, myths and rumours. Above all, I wanted to see if I could find Margaret’s authentic voice – not just what others said about her.”

Joanna profiles one of the most formidable women of the Wars of the Roses on page 56

David Carpenter

“That Henry III survived, and was not deposed, I think was because of his huge prestige as a major Christian king. Ultimately you couldn’t describe Henry as a great king or even as a good king, but he certainly did some good things.”

David explores how Henry III vied for power with Simon de Montfort on page 66

Zareer Masani

“Topics such as the British empire need to be seen on their own terms and not by 21st-century standards. That is what History Reclaimed is about – seeing history without imposing upon it ”ideological constraints.Zareer discusses a project that aims to readdress what it sees as the politicisation of the past on page 15

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