Historian Lucy Worsley on Royal Weddings, Queen Victoria and the 'Big Mistake' People Make About the PastHistorians in the News
tags: British history, royal history
Lucy Worsley enjoyed history when she was at school, but her father had other ideas. “He is a scientist, and he really wanted me to be one too,” the British historian tells TIME, ahead of the U.S. publication of her new biography, Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life. “He said that if you do a history degree, you will be cleaning toilets for a living.”
Of course, this discouragement only made her more determined. Worsley eventually studied the subject at the University of Oxford — and now jokes that she takes great pleasure in telling her father that, after everything, she pays her bills with that degree. Chief Curator of Britain’s Historic Royal Palaces by day, Worsley wears many other hats as a prolific biographer, children’s novelist and popular television presenter. British audiences will recognize her from her detailed recreations of eras and events of the past, delving into British suffragette campaigns and the lives of King Henry VIII’s six wives in her historical documentaries.
Now, Worsley is turning her attention to the life and reign of Queen Victoria ahead of the 200-year anniversary of the royal’s birth this May. With her new show Victoria & Albert: The Wedding airing on PBS January 13 and 20, TIME spoke to Worsley about royal weddings, what history can teach us about the future and what her own biography might say.
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