Lucy Worsley

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Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley 2012.png
Worsley in 2014
Born (1973-12-18) 18 December 1973 (age 45)
OccupationHistorian, author, curator, television presenter
Mark Hines (m. 2011)

Lucy Worsley, OBE (born 18 December 1973) is a British historian, author, curator, and television presenter.[1]

Worsley is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces but is best known as a presenter of BBC Television series on historical topics, including Elegance and Decadence: The Age of the Regency (2011), Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls (2012), The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain (2014), A Very British Romance (2015), Lucy Worsley: Mozart’s London Odyssey (2016), Six Wives with Lucy Worsley (2016), and American History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley (2019).

Early life and education[edit]

Worsley was born in Reading, Berkshire.[2] Her father taught geology at Reading University, while her mother is a consultant in educational policy and practice.

Before going to university Worsley attended Abbey School, Reading, St Bartholomew's School, Newbury and West Bridgford School, Nottingham. She read Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford,[3] graduating in 1995 with a BA First-class honours degree.


Curator and academic[edit]

Worsley began her career as a historic house curator at Milton Manor,[4] near Abingdon, in the summer of 1995.[5] From 1996 to 2002, she was an Inspector of Historic Buildings for English Heritage in the East Midlands region. During that time she studied the life of William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle and wrote the English Heritage guide to his home, Bolsover Castle. In 2001 she was awarded a DPhil degree from the University of Sussex for a thesis on The Architectural Patronage of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle, 1593–1676.[6] The thesis was later developed into Worsley's book Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses.[7]

During 2002–2003, she was Major Projects and Research Manager for Glasgow Museums[8][9] before becoming Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity responsible for maintaining the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. She oversaw the £12 million refurbishment of the Kensington Palace state apartments and gardens.[10]

In 2005 she was elected a senior research fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London; she was also appointed visiting professor at Kingston University.[11]

Television programmes[edit]

In 2011 she presented the four-part television series If Walls Could Talk exploring the history of British homes, from peasants' cottages to palaces; and the three-part series Elegance and Decadence: The Age of the Regency.

In 2012 she co-presented the three-part television series Antiques Uncovered, with antiques and collectibles expert Mark Hill,[12] and (broadcast at the same time) Harlots, Housewives and Heroines, a three-part series on the lives of women after the Civil War and the Restoration of Charles II.[13] Later that year she presented a documentary on Dorothy Hartley's Food in England as part of the BBC Four "Food and Drink" strand.

Her BBC series A Very British Murder examined the "morbid national obsession" with murder. The series looked at a number of cases from the 19th century, beginning with the Ratcliff Highway murders which gained national attention in 1811, the Red Barn Murder of 1826 and the "Bermondsey Horror" case of Frederick and Maria Manning in 1849.[14][15]

In 2014, the three-part series The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain explored the contributions of the German-born kings George I and George II. The series explained why the Hanoverian George I came to be chosen as a British monarch, how he was succeeded by his very different son George II and why, without either, the current United Kingdom would likely be a very different place. The series emphasises the positive influence of these kings whilst showing the flaws in each. A Very British Romance, a three-part series for BBC Four, was based on the romantic novels to uncover the forces shaping our very British happily ever after and how our feelings have been affected by social, political and cultural ideas.[16]

In 2016, Worsley presented the three-part documentary Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley in January and Lucy Worsley: Mozart's London Odyssey in June.[17] In September 2016, she was filming an upcoming series A Very British History for BBC Four.[18] In December she presented and appeared in dramatized accounts of the three-part BBC series Six Wives with Lucy Worsley. In 2017 she presented a three-part series entitled British History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley, debunking historical views of the Wars of the Roses, the Glorious Revolution and the British occupation of India.[19]

In 2019, Worsley presented American History’s Biggest Fibs, looking at the nation's founding story and American Revolution, the American Civil War, and the Cold War.


In 2014, BBC Books published her book, A Very British Murder, which was based on the series.[20] In April 2016, Worsley published her debut children's novel, Eliza Rose, about a young noble girl in a Tudor Court.[21][22] In 2017, Worsley published a biography of Jane Austen titled Jane Austen at Home: A Biography.[23] Lucy Worlsey also wrote Lady Mary, a historical teen book that details the life of Lady Mary.

Commentary on Prince Albert[edit]

In May 2019, Worsley's speech about Queen Victoria, subsequent to her 2018 book Queen Victoria: Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow (St. Martin's Press, 1 August 2018), included comments indicating that Albert, Prince Consort did not deserve all of the accolades he had received.[24]

"I sense that some of you are thinking, 'No, I just don’t believe this. Albert is a great man. He’s brilliant, he's a polymath, he organised the Great Exhibition, he supported science and art and industry.' Well that is true. But I don’t think he should necessarily have been doing those things. ... I think he should have been fulfilling the more traditional role of a Queen or a princess in this relationship, which was single-mindedly to support his spouse, which he didn't do."

Awards and honours[edit]

  • In February 2015, the Royal Television Society nominated Worsley (best presenter) and The First Georgians (best history programme) in its annual awards.[25]
  • In July 2015, she was made an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Sussex (where she completed her doctorate).[26]
  • In the 2018 Birthday Honours, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to History and to Heritage. The investiture by the Prince of Wales took place at Buckingham Palace on 16th November 2018.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Worsley lives in Southwark[28] by the River Thames in south London with her husband, the architect Mark Hines,[1] whom she married in November 2011.[29] With reference to having children, Worsley says she has been "educated out of normal reproductive function".[30] She later said her statement had been "misinterpreted and sounded darker than I'd intended."[31]

As a TV presenter, she is known for having a rhotacism, a minor speech impediment[1] which affects her pronunciation of "r". When she made the move from BBC Four to BBC Two for the series Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History, she worked with a speech and language therapist to help with her pronunciation, but to no avail.[32]

In her teens, Worsley represented Berkshire at cross country running and, as a pastime, is still a keen participant in the sport.[33]


Television programmes[edit]

Year Title Channel Notes
2009 Inside the Body of Henry VIII History Channel
2010 King Alfred the Great? BBC South 17 May 2010
2010 The Curse of the Hope Diamond Channel 4 24 May 2010
2011 When God Spoke English BBC Four 21 February 2011 Guest interview as Chief Curator of Hampton Court
2011 If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home BBC Four Four-part series (April 2011)
2011 Elegance and Decadence: The Age of the Regency BBC Four Three-part series (August–September 2011)
2012 Our Food BBC Two Four-part series (April 2012). Hosted by Giles Coren, co-presented with James Wong, Alex Langlands & Alys Fowler.[34]
2012 Antiques Uncovered BBC Two May 2012
2012 Inside the World of Henry VIII History Channel
2012 Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls BBC Four Three-part series (May 2012)
2012 Food in England: The Lost World of Dorothy Hartley BBC Four 6 November 2012
2013 Secret Knowledge, Episode 3 BBC Four Bolsover Castle; 27 March 2013[35]
2013 Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History BBC Two Part 1,[36] Part 2, Part 3.[37]
2013 Tales from the Royal Bedchamber BBC Four 5 August 2013[38]
2013 A Very British Murder BBC Four 23 September 2013. Three-part series.[39]
2014 The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain BBC Four 1 May 2014. Three part series.
2014 Masterchef BBC One 8 May 2014. Guest judge
2014 Tales from the Royal Wardrobes BBC Four 7 July 2014
2014 Dancing Cheek To Cheek: An Intimate History Of Dance BBC Four 17 November 2014. Co-presented with Len Goodman.
2015 Britain's Tudor Treasure: A Night at Hampton Court BBC Two 7 February 2015. Co-presented with David Starkey.
2015 Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers: Lucy Worsley's 100 years of the WI BBC Two 20 July 2015
2015 A Very British Romance BBC Four 8 October 2015
2015 Dancing Through The Blitz: Blackpool's Big Band Story BBC Two 25 July 2015. Co-presented with Len Goodman and Jools Holland.[40]
2015 When Lucy met Roy: Sir Roy Strong at 80 BBC Four 23 August 2015[41]
2015 Lucy Worsley's Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing BBC Four 15 September 2015[42]
2015 The Great History Quiz: The Tudors BBC Two 24 December 2015.[43] Quiz team captain.
2016 Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley BBC Four 6, 13 & 20 January 2016
2016 The Real Versailles BBC Two 30 May 2016[44] Co-presented with Helen Castor.
2016 Lucy Worsley: Mozart's London Odyssey BBC Four 21 June 2016[45]
2016 Six Wives with Lucy Worsley BBC One Three-part series December 2016
2017 British History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley BBC Four Three-part series (January–February 2017)[46]
2017 Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors BBC Two 27 May 2017
2017 Lucy Worsley's Nights at the Opera BBC Two Two-part series; 14 October 2017, 21 October 2017
2017 Lucy Worsley: Elizabeth I's Battle for God's Music BBC Four 17 October 2017
2018 Lucy Worsley's Fireworks for a Tudor Queen BBC Four 7 March 2018
2018 Suffragettes with Lucy Worsley BBC One 4 June 2018
2018 Victoria & Albert: The Royal Wedding BBC Two 21 December 2018[47]
2019 American History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley BBC Four Three-part series (January 2019)[48]
2019 Queen Victoria: My Musical Britain BBC Two 11 May 2019[49]
2019 Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey BBC Four 10 December 2019[50]


  • —— (2018). Queen Victoria: Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1473651388.
    • —— (2019). Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life (U.S. ed.). St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781250201423.
  • —— (2018). Lady Mary. Bloomsbury Childrens. ISBN 978-1408869444., young adult
  • —— (2017). Jane Austen at Home. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1473632189.
  • —— (2017). Maid of the King's Court. Candlewick Press. ISBN 978-0763688066., young adult
  • —— (2017). My Name is Victoria. Bloomsbury Childrens. ISBN 978-1408882016., fiction for children
  • —— (2016). Eliza Rose. Bloomsbury Childrens. ISBN 978-1408869437., fiction for children
  • —— (2014). A Very British Murder: The Story of a National Obsession. BBC Books. ISBN 978-1849906517.
    • —— (2017). The Art of the English Murder (reprint ed.). Pegasus.
  • —— (2012). If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0571259540.
  • —— (2011). Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0571238903.
  • ——; Dolman, Brett; Lipscomb, Suzannah; Prosser, Lee (2009). Henry VIII: 500 Facts. Historic Royal Palaces. ISBN 978-1873993125.
  • —— (2008). Cavalier: The Story of a 17th Century Playboy. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0571227044.
  • ——; Souden, David; Dolman, Brett; foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales (2008). The Royal Palaces of London. Merrell Publishers. ISBN 978-1858944234.
  • ——; Souden, David (2005). Hampton Court Palace: The Official Illustrated History. ISBN 978-1858942827.
  • —— (2001). Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire. English Heritage Guidebooks. ISBN 978-1850747475.
  • ——; Wilson, Louise (2001). Bolsover Castle. English Heritage Guidebooks. ISBN 978-1850747628.
  • —— (1998). Hardwick Old Hall. English Heritage Guidebooks. ISBN 978-1850746959.


  1. ^ a b c Woods, Judith (13 April 2011). "Dr Lucy Worsley: 'I'm just an historian who wandered into TV'". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 24 June 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ SPAB News, Vol. 18., no. 2, 1997
  5. ^ "Milton Manor – Lucy Worsley". Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  6. ^ Worsley, Lucy (2001). The Architectural Patronage of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle, 1593–1676 (D.Phil. thesis). Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  7. ^ Spencer, Charles (26 August 2007). "Cavalier: a tale of chivalry, passion and great houses, by Lucy Worsley". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  8. ^ "BBC Four – A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley – Dr Lucy Worsley". BBC.
  9. ^ "Lucy Worsley on her passion for the past". Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life.
  10. ^ Law, Katie (27 April 2010). "It is time for Princess Diana to take her place in history". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Kingston University – Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture". Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Antiques Uncovered". 19 June 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls at". 28 May 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  14. ^ Worsley, Lucy (20 September 2013). "How murder became a very British obsession: It was our bloodthirsty ancestors who turned us into a nation hooked on killers". Daily Mail. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  15. ^ Owen, Pamela (22 September 2013). "A Very British Murder: How we became hooked on morbid mysteries". The Mirror. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  16. ^ "A Very British Romance". BBC. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  18. ^ "BBC crews filming new documentary today in Exeter". Exeter Express and Echo. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  19. ^ "British History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley". BBC Four. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  20. ^ Lucy Worsley. "A Very British Murder". The Independent. BBC Books. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  21. ^ Carpani, Jessica (25 March 2016). "Historian Lucy Worsley: My life in eight objects". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  22. ^ Wade, Francesca (26 March 2016). "Tales of lecherous Tudors". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2016 – via
  23. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Jane Austen at Home: A Biography by Lucy Worsley. St. Martin's, $29.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-13160-7".
  24. ^ "We're too nice to Albert – he was no perfect prince, claims historian". The Guardian. 30 May 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019. Albert kept those babies coming,” said Worsley. “And that’s because he could see that while she was busy with that, he could get on with making himself king in all but name – taking over some of her duties, taking over some of her power.
  25. ^ Siobhan Palmer (25 February 2015). "Claudia Winkleman nominated for RTS award for her new role as Strictly presenter". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  26. ^ Wadsworth, Jo. "TV historian given honorary Sussex Uni degree". Brighton and Hove News. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  27. ^ TV historian Lucy Worsley was appointed an OBE
  28. ^ "Lucy Worsley's My London". Evening Standard. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  29. ^ "On being 2.5% famous". Lucy Worsley. 22 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  30. ^ Times, 5/8/13
  31. ^ Wintle, Angela (12 April 2013). "Lucy Worsley: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  32. ^ "In which my speech impediment is criticised, but all ends happily".
  33. ^ Wintle, Angela (14 October 2011). "World of Dr Lucy Worsley, curator and broadcaster". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  34. ^ "BBC Two – Our Food". BBC. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  35. ^ "Secret Knowledge". RadioTimes.
  36. ^ The Telegraph Reviews Part 1
  37. ^ The Telegraph Reviews Part 3
  38. ^ "Radio Times". RadioTimes.
  39. ^ "A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley". RadioTimes.
  40. ^ "Dancing Through The Blitz: Blackpool's Big Band Story". BBC.
  41. ^ "When Lucy met Roy: Sir Roy Strong at 80". BBC.
  42. ^ "Lucy Worsley's Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing". BBC.
  43. ^ "The Great History Quiz: The Tudors". BBC.
  44. ^ "The Real Versailles – BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  45. ^ "Lucy Worsley: Mozart's London Odyssey – BBC Four". BBC. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  46. ^ "BBC Four – British History's Biggest Fibs With Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  47. ^ "BBC Two – Victoria & Albert: The Royal Wedding". BBC. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  48. ^ "BBC Four – American History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  49. ^ "BBC Two – Queen Victoria: My Musical Britain". BBC. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  50. ^ "BBC Four – Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey". BBC. Retrieved 10 December 2019.

External links[edit]