Review of Lucy Worsley’s 12 Days of Tudor Christmas

Lucy Worsley is back with another peek into the Tudor World with her Lucy Worsley’s 12 Days of Tudor Christmas. Thank goodness she is back, bringing her Tudor insights, her sense of fun, and her 16th-century fashion sense to her PBS viewers.

Lucy brings the world of 16th century England from Christmas day until January 6th with its special drinks, foods, traditions, and music- all with a sly wink to the TV audience. What makes Lucy’s special broadcast so different is her use of experts to fill in the historical details. We start with Christmas eve and the decorations that bring Henry’s palace- one of his 50 palaces- into the season. Midnight Mass starts the party off but it is the Christmas dinner where the star of the meal is a huge boar’s head. There are also mince pies, which are very different from the ” wimpy” mince pies of today.

Henry spends 7,000 pounds on the 12 days. That is equal to 2 million pounds today!

But a spoiler alert-Lucy didn’t like the taste of the boar’s head meal. Days two through five include music, games, and the Lord of Misrule who it is believed became Father Christmas. January 1st is quite political- it is gift-giving time. The gifts that Henry gave were luxurious and very expensive but he always receives more than he gives. January 2nd is time for prayer and the next day- the 10th day is time for mead, beer, and ale- Lucy seemed to like this more than that boar’s head!

When we arrive on the 12th day- we have the big party with an enormous cake and sweet treats. The conclusion of the day is a masquerade ball with beautiful classical references, gorgeous masks, and costumes. Lucy again does not disappoint her viewers but when will she design a program around Jane Austen? One can hope!

-Frances Schulz