Alison Weir is the best-selling female historian in the United Kingdom since records began in 1997. She had a career in the Civil Service before her first book, Britain`s Royal Families, came out in 1989. She has since written seventeen 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 five historical novels, the latest of which, The Marriage Game, was published in 2014. Her books have sold more than 2.7 million copies worldwide. Four of them have been chosen as Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4. Her last historical biography, Elizabeth of York, was Britain's second best-selling historical biography in 2013. Her next is The Lost Tudor Princess, which will be published in October 2015. She is now working on the first of six novels about the queens of Henry VIII. In 2010 Alison 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 an Honourary 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. later that year (See www.alisonweir.org.uk)
After leaving Oxford, 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, The Girl in the Mirror, a novel set in Elizabethan times, and Blood Sisters, an acclaimed study of the royal women who brought the Tudor dynasty into being. Sarah is now working on Game of Queens, a book about female rulers in the sixteenth century. AWT are lucky to have Sarah as a full-time Guest Historian on the tours.
After reading History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Julian Humphreys spent 12 years at Chelsea’s National Army Museum where he set up a number of special exhibitions and was spokesman to the media on all matters of military history. He has acted as a historical expert on a number of TV programmes, has featured several times on BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings series, and made three expeditions to Bosnia during the civil war to record the British army’s activities there and obtain objects for display in the Museum. A qualified Blue-Badge guide, Julian left the Museum to pursue a career in guiding and lecturing – battles and castles are his speciality! He worked alongside Alison Weir on English Heritage’s Tours Through Time, and in 2009 he was appointed Development Officer of the Battlefields Trust, the UK Charity dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Britain’s historic battlefields. Julian lectures and writes extensively on many aspects of British history – he is a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine and History Revealed Magazine and his published books include The Private Life of Palaces (for Historic Royal Palaces), Clash of Arms: Twelve English Battles and Enemies at the Gate: English Castles under Siege (both for English Heritage).
Michael Hicks is Professor Emeritus in Medieval History at the University of Winchester, and has been called the greatest living expert on Richard III. He has written extensively on late medieval English politics and society. He studied at the Universities of Bristol, Southampton and Oxford and worked briefly for the Victoria History of the County of Hampshire. He is one of the most eminent historians of late medieval England, especially the nobility, the Wars of the Roses and Richard III, and has written about all the Yorkist kings. His books include The Wars of the Roses, English Political Culture in the Fifteenth Century, Edward IV, Warwick the Kingmaker, Richard III and Anne Neville. His other academic interests are the late medieval English church and English regional and local history. He has lectured at The University of Winchester since 1978, and recently as Professor of Medieval History and Head of History. He was appointed Emeritus Professor in September 2014.
Philippa Langley is a British writer/producer with a passion to tell distinctive and original narratives that challenge our perception of established truths. In 2012 she led the successful search to locate the grave of King Richard III through her Looking For Richard project. A TAPS writer, a BAFTA Rocliffe shortlisted writer, and finalist in SWF’s Scriptmarket and Channel 4’s ‘Son of the Pitch’ competition, her 90-minute documentary, The King in the Car Park, was Channel 4’s highest-rated specialist factual show ever, going on to win the Royal Television Society Award for 2013 and a 2014 BAFTA nomination. Her screenplay Blood Royal on the life of Richard III is based on Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle by military historian Michael Jones, with whom she co-authored The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III in 2013. Founder of the Richard III Society’s Scottish Branch she was awarded the Society’s Robert Hamblin Award in 2012 for finding the mortal remains of Richard III. In 2014, she co-authored Finding Richard III: The Official Account, the book that details the research behind the Looking For Richard project, and in 2015 was awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to ‘the Exhumation and Identification of Richard III’. Philippa is now helping others with their searches whilst also undertaking a new research project on Richard III. She hopes to bring the historical Richard to life on the screen.
Elizabeth Norton is a writer and historian, specialising in the queens of England and the Tudor period. She has written ten non-fiction books, including short biographies of four of Henry VIII's wives and England's Queens: The Biography, which is the only book to detail the lives of all English queens from the early Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. She has degrees from Oxford and Cambridge Universities and is currently carrying out research at King's College, London and writing a book about the young Elizabeth I, entitled The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor, for Head of Zeus.
Born and raised in the United States, Susan Ronald has lived in England for more than twenty-five years. She has consulted for five British government departments and The National Trust as an historian and commercial advisor on Britain’s historic built environment. As the keynote speaker at the Richard III Society’s Annual General meeting in 2011, she put into context the Tudor world view of Richard III as expressed in Shakespeare. She is the author of six history books ranging across the ages, with her latest book Hitler's Art Thief - Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures (2015) being her first foray into the twentieth century. She is also the author of Heretic Queen: Queen Elizabeth I and the Wars of Religion, Shakespeare's Daughter (a novel), The Pirate Queen, The Sancy Blood Diamond, and France: Crossroads of Europe. She also owns a film production company, and is a screenwriter and film producer.
A. J. Pollard is emeritus professor of History of Teesside University. He has published extensively on fifteenth-century English political, social and economic history, including popular engagement in politics and in particular on the Wars of the Roses, as well as on the history of north-east England. A graduate of Bristol University, His doctoral research under Charles Ross on the Talbot family led to his book, John Talbot and the War in France. Subsequent books include North-Eastern England during the Wars of the Roses, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower (now available electronically), Imagining Robin Hood: The Late-Medieval stories in Historical Context, Warwick the Kingmaker: Politics, Power and Fame, three editions of The Wars of the Roses and Late-Medieval England, 1399-1509. His Edward IV, in the Penguin Monarchs series, will appear in 2016.
Dr Anna Whitelock is a historian, author and broadcaster. She is a Reader in Early Modern History and is Director of the Centre for Public History, Heritage and Engagement with the Past at Royal Holloway, University of London.She lectures on political, social and cultural history in the sixteenth and seventeenth century and is director of the Centre for Public History, Heritage and Engagement with the Past.She gained her Ph.D. from Corpus Christi College Cambridge under the supervision of Dr David Starkey. She is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Anna is the prize-winning author of Mary Tudor: England’s First Queen (Bloomsbury 2009). She was the winner of the 2010 Arts Club Emerging Writer Award and was short-listed for the Biographers' Club Best First Biography Prize. Anna’s latest book is Elizabeth’s Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen’s Court (Bloomsbury, 2013); published in the USA as The Queen's Bed, it won the American Pen prize for Biography in 2015. Anna is a regular media commentator on the Tudors, the monarchy, royal bodies, gender and politics as well as on public history and heritage.
Nicola Tallis, AWT's Resident Historian, graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class BA Hons. degree in History, and has an MA in Public History from Royal Holloway College, University of London. She is currently studying for her PhD at the University of Winchester, where her thesis investigates the jewellery collections of the queens of England between 1464 and 1548. She has been passionate about English history all her life, and has recently been signed to the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency; she is now working on her first book, Crown of Blood, about Lady Jane Grey. Nicola completed an internship with the Interpretation Department at Hampton Court Palace, and also worked with the Curators to provide historical research for future projects. She has also given papers about sixteenth-century monarchy at several historical conferences, and has been working with the National Trust at Montacute House, delivering their education programme to school children. She worked as the Curator at Sudeley Castle, and featured prominently on BBC’s Countryfile in April 2013, guiding at Sudeley.
John Marston has had over forty-five years' experience in the travel industry, and he will accompany the tour in the role of Travel 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. Jo Marston accompanies AWT's tours with her husband, John; her role is to look after guests' pastoral needs and support the team.