Lucy Worsley

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Lucy Worsley
Lucy Worsley.jpg
Worsley in 2014
Born (1973-12-18) 18 December 1973 (age 43)
Reading, Berkshire, England
Alma mater
Occupation Historian, author, curator, television presenter
Spouse(s) Mark Hines (m. 2011)

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

Worsley is currently Joint 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) and Six Wives with Lucy Worsley (2016).

Early life and education[edit]

Worsley was born in Reading, Berkshire. Her father taught at Reading University, while her mother is a consultant in educational policy and practice. She has a younger brother.

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


Curator and academic[edit]

Worsley began her career as a historic house curator at Milton Manor,[2] near Abingdon, in the summer of 1995.[3] 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 from the University of Sussex for a thesis on The Architectural Patronage of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle, 1593–1676.[4] The thesis was later developed into Worsley's book Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses.[5]

During 2002–2003, she was Major Projects and Research Manager for Glasgow Museums[6][7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

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,[10] 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.[11] 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.[12][13]

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.[14]

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.[15] In September 2016, she was filming an upcoming series A Very British History for BBC Four.[16] In December she presented and appeared in dramatized accounts of the three-part BBC series "Six Wives with Lucy Worsley"


In 2014, BBC Books published her book, A Very British Murder, which was based on the series.[17] In April 2016, Worsley published her debut children's novel, Eliza Rose, about a young noble girl in a Tudor Court.[18][19]

Awards and honours[edit]

In February 2015, the Royal Television Society’s nominated Worsley (best presenter) and The First Georgians (best history programme) in its annual awards.[20]

In July 2015, she was made an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Sussex (where she completed her doctorate).[21]

Personal life[edit]

Worsley lives in Southwark[22] by the River Thames in south London with her husband, the architect Mark Hines,[1] who married in November 2011.[23] With reference to having children, Worsley says she has been "educated out of normal reproductive function".[24] She later said her statement had been "misinterpreted and sounded darker than I'd intended."[25]

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.[26]

In her teens, Worsley represented Berkshire at cross country running and, as a pastime, is still a keen participant in the sport.[27]


Television programmes[edit]

Year Title Channel Notes
2017 British History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley BBC Four Three-part series (January-February 2017)[28]
2016 Six Wives with Lucy Worsley BBC One Three-part series (December 2016)[29]
2016 Lucy Worsley: Mozart's London Odyssey BBC Four 21 June 2016[30]
2016 The Real Versailles BBC Two 30 May 2016[31] Co-presented with Helen Castor.
2016 Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley BBC Four 6, 13 & 20 January 2016
2015 The Great History Quiz: The Tudors BBC Two 24 December 2015.[32] Quiz team captain.
2015 Lucy Worsley's Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing BBC Four 15 September 2015[33]
2015 When Lucy met Roy: Sir Roy Strong at 80 BBC Four 23 August 2015[34]
2015 Dancing Through The Blitz: Blackpool's Big Band Story BBC Two 25 July 2015. Co-presented with Len Goodman and Jools Holland.[35]
2015 A Very British Romance BBC Four 8 October 2015
2015 Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers: Lucy Worsley's 100 years of the WI BBC Two 20 July 2015
2015 Britain's Tudor Treasure: A Night at Hampton Court BBC Two 7 February 2015. Co-presented with David Starkey.
2014 Dancing Cheek To Cheek: An Intimate History Of Dance BBC Four 17 November 2014. Co-presented with Len Goodman.
2014 Tales from the Royal Wardrobes BBC Four 7 July 2014
2014 The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain BBC Four 1 May 2014. Three part series.
2013 A Very British Murder BBC Four 23 September 2013. Three-part series.[36]
2013 Tales from the Royal Bedchamber BBC Four 5 August 2013[37]
2013 Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History BBC Two Part 1,[38] Part 2, Part 3.[39]
2013 Secret Knowledge, Episode 3 BBC Four Bolsover Castle; 27 March 2013[40]
2012 Food in England: The Lost World of Dorothy Hartley BBC Four 6 November 2012
2012 Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls BBC Four Three-part series (May 2012)
2012 Inside the World of Henry VIII History Channel
2012 Antiques Uncovered BBC Two May 2012
2012 Our Food BBC Two Four-part series (April 2012). Hosted by Giles Coren, co-presented with James Wong, Alex Langlands & Alys Fowler.[41]
2011 Elegance and Decadence: The Age of the Regency BBC Four Three-part series (August–September 2011)
2011 If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home BBC Four Four-part series (April 2011)
2011 When God Spoke English BBC Four 21 February 2011
2010 The Curse of the Hope Diamond Channel 4 24 May 2010
2010 King Alfred the Great? BBC South 17 May 2010
2009 Inside the Body of Henry VIII History Channel


  • Eliza Rose (2016, fiction)
  • A Very British Murder: The Story of a National Obsession (2014).
  • If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home (2011).
  • The Secret History of Kensington Palace (2011).
  • Henry VIII: 500 Facts (2009) with Brett Dolman, Suzannah Lipscomb and Lee Prosser.
  • Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses (2008).
  • The Royal Palaces of London (2008) with David Souden, Brett Dolman and Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales.
  • Hampton Court Palace: The Official Illustrated History (2005) with David Souden.
  • Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire (English Heritage Guidebooks) (2001).
  • Bolsover Castle (2001) with Louise Wilson.
  • Hardwick Old Hall (1998).


  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. ^ SPAB News, Vol. 18., no. 2, 1997
  3. ^ "Milton Manor - Lucy Worsley". 
  4. ^ Worsley, Lucy (2001). The Architectural Patronage of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle, 1593–1676 (D.Phil. thesis). Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "BBC Four - A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley - Dr Lucy Worsley". BBC. 
  7. ^ "Lucy Worsley on her passion for the past". Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life. 
  8. ^ Law, Katie (27 April 2010). "It is time for Princess Diana to take her place in history". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Kingston University – Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture". Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Antiques Uncovered". 19 June 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls at". 28 May 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Owen, Pamela (22 September 2013). "A Very British Murder: How we became hooked on morbid mysteries". The Mirror. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "A Very British Romance". BBC. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  15. ^ "Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  16. ^ "BBC crews filming new documentary today in Exeter". Exeter Express and Echo. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  17. ^ Lucy Worsley. "A Very British Murder". The Independent. BBC Books. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  18. ^ Carpani, Jessica (25 March 2016). "Historian Lucy Worsley: My life in eight objects". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  19. ^ Wade, Francesca (26 March 2016). "Tales of lecherous Tudors". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2016 – via 
  20. ^ Siobhan Palmer (25 February 2015). "Claudia Winkleman nominated for RTS award for her new role as Strictly presenter". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  21. ^ Wadsworth, Jo. "TV historian given honorary Sussex Uni degree". Brighton and Hove News. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "Lucy Worsley's My London". Evening Standard. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  23. ^ "On being 2.5% famous". Lucy Worsley. 22 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  24. ^ Times, 5/8/13
  25. ^ Wintle, Angela (12 April 2013). "Lucy Worsley: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2016. 
  26. ^ "In which my speech impediment is criticised, but all ends happily". 
  27. ^ Wintle, Angela (14 October 2011). "World of Dr Lucy Worsley, curator and broadcaster". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "BBC Four - British History's Biggest Fibs With Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  29. ^ "BBC One - Six Wives with Lucy Worsley". BBC. Retrieved 2016-12-13. 
  30. ^ "Lucy Worsley: Mozart's London Odyssey - BBC Four". BBC. Retrieved 2016-06-25. 
  31. ^ "The Real Versailles - BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 2016-06-25. 
  32. ^ "The Great History Quiz: The Tudors". BBC. 
  33. ^ "Lucy Worsley's Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing". BBC. 
  34. ^ "When Lucy met Roy: Sir Roy Strong at 80". BBC. 
  35. ^ "Dancing Through The Blitz: Blackpool's Big Band Story". BBC. 
  36. ^ "A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley". RadioTimes. 
  37. ^ "Radio Times". RadioTimes. 
  38. ^ The Telegraph Reviews Part 1
  39. ^ The Telegraph Reviews Part 3
  40. ^ "Secret Knowledge". RadioTimes. 
  41. ^ "BBC Two - Our Food". BBC. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 

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