|Born||18 December 1973|
Reading, Berkshire, England
|Occupation(s)||Historian, author, curator, television presenter|
Lucy Worsley OBE (born 18 December 1973) is a British historian, author, curator and television presenter. She is joint chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces but is best known as a presenter of BBC Television series on historical topics.
Early life and education
Worsley was born in Reading, Berkshire, to Peter and Enid (née Kay) Worsley. Her father taught geology at Reading University, while her mother was a consultant in educational policy and practice. Before going to university, Worsley attended The Abbey School, Reading, St Bartholomew's School, Newbury, and West Bridgford School, Nottingham. She studied Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford, graduating in 1995 with a BA First-class honours degree. In 2001, she was awarded a DPhil degree from the University of Sussex.
Curator and academic
Worsley began her career as a historic house curator at Milton Manor, near Abingdon, in the summer of 1995, before working for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. 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. The thesis was later developed into Worsley's book Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses published in 2007.
During 2002–2003, she was the major projects and research manager for Glasgow Museums 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 completed in 2012.
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 in west London.
In 2011, Worsley 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, 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. 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 (and the accompanying book, also released as The Art of the English 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.
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 and sought to uncover the forces shaping our very British idea of 'happily ever after' and how our feelings have been affected by social, political and cultural ideas.
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. In September 2016, she was filming an upcoming series A Very British History for BBC Four. In December she presented and appeared in dramatised 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.
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.
During February and March 2020 the first series of Royal History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley was shown on BBC Four; the three-part series discovers how the history of The Reformation, The Spanish Armada and Queen Anne and the Union have been manipulated and mythologised.
In November 2020, the second series of Royal History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley aired on BBC2, covering the myths behind The French Revolution, George IV and The Russian Revolution.
In 2022 Lucy Worsley Investigates began running. The one hour programme investigates major events in British History, including The Black Death, The Madness of King George, and The Princes in the Tower.
Worsley has published a number of books, many guides to houses and the like. Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court (2011) is her most recent work on history. In 2014, BBC Books published her book, A Very British Murder, which was based on the series. In April 2016, Worsley published her debut children's novel, Eliza Rose, about a young noble girl in a Tudor Court. In 2017, Worsley published a biography of Jane Austen titled Jane Austen at Home: A Biography.
Worsley also wrote the young-adult book Lady Mary, a history-based book that details the life of Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon; it follows her as a young Princess Mary during the time of the divorce of Mary's parents.
Use of slur in a quote controversy
In August 2020, Worsley faced backlash for her use of the word "nigger" on a re-airing of her documentary American History's Biggest Fibs. In the documentary, Worsley is seen quoting Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, which included his use of the 'n' word. Following backlash on social media, Worsley tweeted "it wasn’t acceptable and I apologise". A BBC spokesperson for Worsley said that "presenter Lucy Worsley gave a clear warning to the audience before quoting John Wilkes Booth as the term clearly has the potential to cause offence."
Worsley lives in Southwark by the River Thames in south London with her husband, architect Mark Hines, whom she married in November 2011. With reference to having children, Worsley once said she has been "educated out of normal reproductive function", but she later said her statement had been "misinterpreted and sounded darker than I'd intended."
As a television presenter, she is known for having a rhotacism, a minor speech impairment 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.
In her teens, Worsley represented Berkshire at cross country running and, as a pastime, is still a keen participant in the sport.
Awards and honours
- In February 2015, the Royal Television Society nominated Worsley (best presenter) and The First Georgians (best history programme) in its annual awards.
- In July 2015, she was made an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Sussex (where she completed her doctorate).
- She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2018 Birthday Honours for services to history and heritage. The investiture by Charles, Prince of Wales, took place at Buckingham Palace on 16 November 2018.
|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.|
|2012||Antiques Uncovered||BBC Two||May 2012. Three-part series.|
|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|
|2013||Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History||BBC Two||Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.|
|2013||Tales from the Royal Bedchamber||BBC Four||5 August 2013|
|2013||A Very British Murder||BBC Four||23 September 2013. Three-part series.|
|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. Three-part series.|
|2015||Dancing Through The Blitz: Blackpool's Big Band Story||BBC Two||25 July 2015. Co-presented with Len Goodman and Jools Holland.|
|2015||When Lucy met Roy: Sir Roy Strong at 80||BBC Four||23 August 2015|
|2015||Lucy Worsley's Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing||BBC Four||15 September 2015|
|2015||The Great History Quiz: The Tudors||BBC Two||24 December 2015. 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 Co-presented with Helen Castor.|
|2016||Lucy Worsley: Mozart's London Odyssey||BBC Four||21 June 2016|
|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)|
|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.|
|2019||American History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley||BBC Four||Three-part series (January 2019)|
|2019||Queen Victoria: My Musical Britain||BBC Two||11 May 2019|
|2019||Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey||BBC Four||10 December 2019|
|2019||A Merry Tudor Christmas with Lucy Worsley||BBC Two||20 December 2019|
|2019–2020||Royal History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley||BBC Four||Series 1; 18 and 25 February 3 March 2020. Series 2; 6, 13 & 20 November 2020|
|2020–2021||Lucy Worsley's Royal Myths & Secrets||PBS||Series 1; 21 and 28 June 5 July 2020. Series 2; 29 August 2021, 5, & 12 September 2021|
|2020||Lucy Worsley's Royal Photo Album||BBC Four||The story of the royal photograph 14 May 2020|
|2021||Lucy Worsley's Royal Palace Secrets||BBC Four||January 2021|
|2021||Blitz Spirit with Lucy Worsley||BBC One||90-minute documentary; 23 February 2021|
|2022||Rebuilding Notre-Dame||BBC Two||Documentary; 28 April 2022|
|2022||Lucy Worsley Investigates||BBC Two & PBS||Four-part series|
|2022||Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen||BBC Two||Three-part series|
- —— (1998). Hardwick Old Hall. English Heritage Guidebooks. ISBN 978-1850746959.
- ——; Wilson, Louise (2001). Bolsover Castle. English Heritage Guidebooks. ISBN 978-1850747628.
- —— (2001). Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire. English Heritage Guidebooks. ISBN 978-1850747475.
- ——; Souden, David (2005). Hampton Court Palace: The Official Illustrated History. ISBN 978-1858942827.
- —— (2007). Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0571227037.
- ——; Souden, David; Dolman, Brett; foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales (2008). The Royal Palaces of London. Merrell Publishers. ISBN 978-1858944234.
- ——; Dolman, Brett; Lipscomb, Suzannah; Prosser, Lee (2009). Henry VIII: 500 Facts. Historic Royal Palaces. ISBN 978-1873993125.
- —— (2011). Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0571238903.
- —— (2012). If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0571259540.
- —— (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.
- —— (2016). Eliza Rose. Bloomsbury Childrens. ISBN 978-1408869437., fiction for children
- —— (2017). My Name is Victoria. Bloomsbury Childrens. ISBN 978-1408882016., fiction for children
- —— (2017). Maid of the King's Court. Candlewick Press. ISBN 978-0763688066., young adult
- —— (2017). Jane Austen at Home. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1473632189.
- —— (2018). Lady Mary. Bloomsbury Childrens. ISBN 978-1408869444., young adult
- —— (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.
- —— (2020). The Austen Girls. Bloomsbury Childrens. ISBN 978-1526605450.
- —— (2022). Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1529303872.
- Lucy Worsley: A Very British Murder (2021)
- An Audience with Lucy Worsley on Agatha Christie (2022-2023)
- ^ 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.
- ^ a b "BBC4: A very British Murder with Lucy Worsley".
- ^ Worsley a, Lucy (2001). The Architectural Patronage of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle, 1593–1676 (D.Phil. thesis). Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- ^ SPAB News, Vol. 18., no. 2, 1997
- ^ "Milton Manor – Lucy Worsley". LucyWorsley.com. Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
- ^ Worsley, Lucy (2001). The Architectural Patronage of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle, 1593–1676 (D.Phil. thesis). Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- ^ 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.
- ^ "BBC Four – A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley – Dr Lucy Worsley". BBC.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley on her passion for the past". Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life.
- ^ Law, Katie (27 April 2010). "It is time for Princess Diana to take her place in history". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- ^ Owens, Mitchell (1 June 2012). "Kensington Palace's New Look". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
- ^ "Kingston University – Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture". Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- ^ "Antiques Uncovered". Bbc.co.uk. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- ^ "Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls at BBC4.com". Bbc.co.uk. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- ^ Owen, Pamela (22 September 2013). "A Very British Murder: How we became hooked on morbid mysteries". The Mirror. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- ^ "A Very British Romance". BBC. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- ^ "Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
- ^ "BBC crews filming new documentary today in Exeter". Exeter Express and Echo. 14 September 2016. Archived from the original on 6 February 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
- ^ "British History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley". BBC Four. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
- ^ "Royal History's Biggest Fibs With Lucy Worsley Series". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
- ^ "Royal History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley Investigates". PBS. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
- ^ Lucy Worsley (7 September 2013). "A Very British Murder". The Independent. BBC Books. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- ^ Carpani, Jessica (25 March 2016). "Historian Lucy Worsley: My life in eight objects". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
- ^ Wade, Francesca (26 March 2016). "Tales of lecherous Tudors". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2016 – via lucyworsley.com.
- ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Jane Austen at Home: A Biography by Lucy Worsley. St. Martin's". (ISBN 978-1-250-13160-7)
- ^ ISBN 978-1408869444
- ^ Harrison, Ellie (3 August 2020). "BBC presenter Lucy Worsley apologises for use of n-word: 'It wasn't acceptable'". The Independent. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley's My London". Evening Standard. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- ^ "On being 2.5% famous". Lucy Worsley. 22 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- ^ Times, 5/8/13
- ^ Wintle, Angela (12 April 2013). "Lucy Worsley: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- ^ "In which my speech impediment is criticised, but all ends happily". LucyWorsley.com. 7 April 2013.
- ^ Wintle, Angela (14 October 2011). "World of Dr Lucy Worsley, curator and broadcaster". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- ^ Siobhan Palmer (25 February 2015). "Claudia Winkleman nominated for RTS award for her new role as Strictly presenter". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- ^ Wadsworth, Jo (13 July 2015). "TV historian given honorary Sussex Uni degree". Brighton and Hove News. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- ^ "TV historian Lucy Worsley was appointed an OBE". BBC News Online. 16 November 2018.
- ^ "BBC Two – Our Food". BBC. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- ^ "Secret Knowledge". RadioTimes.
- ^ The Telegraph Reviews Part 1
- ^ The Telegraph Reviews Part 3
- ^ "Radio Times". RadioTimes.
- ^ "A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley". RadioTimes.
- ^ "Dancing Through The Blitz: Blackpool's Big Band Story". BBC.
- ^ "When Lucy met Roy: Sir Roy Strong at 80". BBC.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley's Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing". BBC.
- ^ "The Great History Quiz: The Tudors". BBC.
- ^ "The Real Versailles – BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley: Mozart's London Odyssey – BBC Four". BBC. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
- ^ "BBC Four – British History's Biggest Fibs With Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- ^ "BBC Two – Victoria & Albert: The Royal Wedding". BBC. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
- ^ "BBC Four – American History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- ^ "BBC Two – Queen Victoria: My Musical Britain". BBC. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
- ^ "BBC Four – Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey". BBC. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
- ^ "BBC Two – A Merry Tudor Christmas with Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- ^ "Royal History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley's Royal Palace Secrets". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley to uncover real-life stories of the Blitz in new film for BBC One". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
- ^ "Rebuilding Notre-Dame". Retrieved 23 April 2022.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley Investigates". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
- ^ "Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley uncovers the true stories of Victorian women accused of murder in a new podcast and series". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
- ^ "Lady Killers with Lucy Worsley to return for second season". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. Retrieved 14 March 2023.
- ^ "Lucy Worsley: A Very British Murder". octagon-theatre.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
- ^ "An Audience with Lucy Worsley on Agatha Christie". fane.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
- BBC Historian Lucy Worsley explores her own past
- Lucy Worsley on Twitter
- Historic Royal Palaces Official Website
- Lucy Worsley BBC Blog Page
- Lucy Worsley at IMDb
- 'Lots of historians are sniffy about re-enactors' The Guardian 27 March 2011.
- 1973 births
- Living people
- Alumni of New College, Oxford
- Alumni of the University of Sussex
- English television presenters
- Officers of the Order of the British Empire
- People associated with Historic Royal Palaces
- People educated at St. Bartholomew's School
- People educated at West Bridgford School
- People from Reading, Berkshire
- People with speech impediment
- English non-fiction writers
- 21st-century English historians
- British women historians
- British women curators