This summer, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is due to give birth to an heir to the throne. Come and join us for a pair of lectures in which leading historians explore how Tudor and Stuart monarchs begat children.
We'll go from throne to bedchamber, from weddings to ballads as we examine how Henry VIII's fertility struggles and the scandal over the "warming pan baby" shed light on the history of fertility, pregnancy and childbirth in the British Isles.
Born to Rule is presented by Generation to Reproduction, a research group at University of Cambridge that is studying the history of reproduction with funding from the Wellcome Trust.
Lecture 1. Henry VIII: The Quest for an Heir 5:00pm, Tuesday 18 June Little Hall, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge Peter Jones, King's College Cambridge
Producing an heir obsessed all the Tudor monarchs, for the future of a fragile dynasty was at stake. In the case of Henry VIII we usually focus on the pregnancy history of his wives, but not on Henry's own issues with fertility. This lecture will look at his anxieties, and the resources-medical, religious, political-on which he drew to secure a male heir.
Lecture 2. Mary of Modena: A Royal Scandal 5:00pm, Tuesday 25 June Little Hall, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge Mary Fissell, Johns Hopkins University
The first royal birth to become a media circus was that of James Stuart in 1688, the so-called "warming-pan baby". In this lecture, we'll look at the newspaper stories, medals, maps, songs, and pamphlets that told conflicting and sensational tales about the child born to James II and his second wife, Mary of Modena. Exceptional though this birth was, it also tells us about the moments in more ordinary women's lives when they too gave birth.
For more information, visit www.reproduction.group.cam.ac.uk