Alison Weir, CEO, historian and Tour Leader, had a career in the Civil Service before her first book, Britain`s Royal Families, came out in 1989. She has since written fourteen other history books, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Princes in the Tower, Lancaster and York, Children of England, Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: King and Court, Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, Katherine Swynford and The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn. Alison has also written four historical novels, the latest of which, A Dangerous Inheritance, is being published in 2012. Four of her works have been chosen as Book of the Week on B.B.C. Radio 4. Her latest history book, Mary Boleyn, was published in 2011. She is now working on a biography of Elizabeth of York. Her books sell all over the world. In 2010, she published a short book, Traitors of the Tower, for the Quick Reads series for emergent adult readers. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences and a Life Patron of Historic Royal Palaces. She has been a guest historian on many historical tours for English Heritage, and developed and led a Tudor Tapestry Tour for the Smithsonian Institute in April 2010 before setting up Alison Weir Tours Ltd. (See www.alisonweir.org.uk)
After leaving Oxford, resident guest historian Sarah Gristwood worked as a journalist specialising in the arts and women's issues. The author of two Sunday Times best-selling history books, she is a regular contributor to The Times, the Guardian, the Independent and the Evening Standard. Arbella, her biography of Arbella Stuart, the first cousin of Elizabeth I and heir to her throne, was widely acclaimed. She is also the author of Elizabeth and Leicester, the story of the relationship between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Bird of Paradise, a biography of the poet, actress and royal mistress, Mary Robinson, Fabulous Frocks, an illustrated account of the dresses that shaped twentieth-century fashion, and Breakfast at Tiffany's: The Official Companion, which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the classic film; she has also published The Girl in the Mirror, a historical novel set in Elizabethan times, and is currently writing a historical account of the royal women who brought the Tudor dynasty into being. (See www.sarahgristwood.co.uk)
Guide-lecturer Siobhan Clarke has a B.A. in Modern History and has worked for Historic Royal Palaces for twelve years. She is based at Hampton Court Palace, where she trained as a Costumed Interpreter before becoming a H.R.P. Guide Lecturer. As well as specialising in 16th century dress she delivers tours and lectures on Hampton Court Palace and the Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace. Siobhan is an Associate Member of the Institute of Tourist Guiding and her experience includes education sessions and tours for schools, universities, travel companies and corporate visitors. She has lectured for the National Trust, the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts and the Smithsonian Institution. (See www.thehistoryguides.com)
John Marston, AWT's Travel Director, has had over forty years experience in the travel industry, and he will accompany the tour in the role of Tour Director to ensure that all guests have information on hotels, restaurants, schedule timings, local information and baggage handling etc.. John has worked for major commercial companies including Land Rover, Jaguar Cars and L'Oreal Cosmetics, arranging world-wide travel for groups of between forty to over four hundred. His experience has included planning and booking trips, and personally escorting these groups. For Land Rover, John was in charge of their major U.S. dealer group, looking after a party of fifty executive guests and their partners, and arranging visits to London, Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, the Duke of Atholl's estate at Pitlochry in Scotland, and Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland. This was just one of many launch programs that John has organised; his priority has always been to give the highest standard of personal attention to guests' needs.
Guest historian Linda Porter has a B.A. and a D.Phil from the University of York. She spent nearly ten years lecturing in New York, at Fordham and City Universities among others, before returning to England, where she worked for more than twenty years she worked as a senior public relations practitioner in British Telecom before returning to historical writing, as well as reviewing for the BBC History magazine and History Today. Her critically acclaimed first book, Mary Tudor: The First Queen, is a personal history of Mary I, and shows that the popular image of 'Bloody Mary', the evil Queen who sent hundreds of Protestant martyrs to the stake and effectively sold her realm to Spain, is an invention of Elizabethan propagandists. The real Mary suffered much in her tragic life but her memory has suffered even more. A determined and courageous survivor, Mary’s life and reign deserved re-appraisal. Linda's latest book is Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr. It is the first serious but accessible life of Henry VIII's last queen, a woman of intellect and charm who had a profound influence on the young Elizabeth I. A former winner of the Biographers Club prize, Linda is now doing preliminary research for a third book.
Guest historian Elizabeth Griffiths has worked on Blickling and the Norfolk gentry for many years. She recently discovered that Sir Geoffrey Boleyn built a substantial brick house at Blickling in the 1450s and that this was the house remodelled by Sir Henry Hobart in the 1620s, not the medieval manor of Sir Nicholas Dagworth. Archaeological research has since confirmed that the Boleyns’ connection with Blickling was far deeper and more enduring than we thought. Family papers show that the Hobarts and 18th century visitors were in no doubt that Blickling was the birthplace of Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth’s latest book, with Jane Whittle, Associate Professor of History at Exeter University, explores the World of Lady Alice Le Strange of Hunstanton, another remarkable Norfolk woman.
Guest historian Chris Skidmore is a historian and politician. Author of Edward VI - The Lost King of England and Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart, he is currently working on Bosworth: The Rise of the Tudors which will be published in June 2013. Chris is an Honorary Fellow at Bristol University and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is also Member of Parliament for Kingswood near Bristol and Vice-Chairman of the All Party Group on History and Archives.