Helen Castor

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Helen Castor
Born Helen Ruth Castor
(1968-08-04) 4 August 1968 (age 49)
Cambridge, England
Residence London, England
Nationality British
Education Gonville and Caius College
Occupation Author
Children 1 son

Helen Ruth Castor (born 4 August 1968 in Cambridge) is an English historian of the medieval period and a BBC broadcaster. She was a lecturer in history at Cambridge University and is the author of Blood & Roses (2005) and She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth (2010). Programmes she has presented include BBC Radio 4's Making History and She-Wolves on BBC Four.

Early life and education[edit]

Helen Castor graduated from The King's High School for Girls, Warwick, in 1986, and then completed a BA and a PhD at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. She was elected to a Research Fellowship at Jesus College. She is a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College.[1][2][3]


Castor was Director of History at Sidney Sussex College for eight years before focusing on writing and media.[1][2][3]


Castor works extensively for the BBC including presenting Radio 4's Making History and She-Wolves on BBC Four.[4] In 2013 she was a member of the winning team on Christmas University Challenge, representing Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.

Literary review[edit]

She writes for the books pages of The Guardian, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times, The Times Literary Supplement and The Times Educational Supplement.


Castor's book Blood and Roses (2004) is a biography of the 15th-century Paston family, whose letters are the earliest surviving collection of private correspondence in the English language. Blood and Roses was long-listed for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction in 2005.[5] It was also awarded the Beatrice White Prize for outstanding scholarly work in the field of English literature before 1590, by the English Association in 2006.

She-Wolves (2010) was voted one of the books of the year in the Guardian, Times, Sunday Times, Independent, Financial Times and BBC History Magazine.[6][7] BBC Four televised a three-part series based on the book in 2012, presented by Castor.[8][9]

Castor was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2017.[10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Castor lives in London with her son.[2]


  • The King, the Crown, and the Duchy of Lancaster: Public Authority and Private Power, 1399-1461 (2000) Oxford University Press ISBN 0198206224
  • Blood & Roses (2005) Faber and Faber [12]
  • She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth (2010) Faber and Faber [12]
  • Joan of Arc: A History (2014) Faber and Faber [12]


  • A Renaissance Education: The Schooling of Thomas More's Daughter (2011) BBC Four
  • She-Wolves: England's Early Queens (2012) BBC Four
  • Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage and Death (2013) BBC Four
  • Joan of Arc: God's Warrior (2015) BBC Two
  • "The Real Versailles" (2016) BBC Two[13]



External links[edit]