I’ve been interested in history all of my life – when I was a small child my mother used to read me stories about King Arthur, which then progressed to Henry VIII and his six wives, and I’ve been hooked ever since! My particular areas of interest are the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the history of jewellery. I am constantly trying to broaden my horizons though, and I love learning about new people and periods.
Let me introduce myself – my name is Nicola Tallis and I am a British Historian. I was born in Cardiff, but I have spent most of my life living in Wiltshire. However, you are more likely to find me in the British Library or the National Archives, or perusing the treasures of a stately home or castle.
I graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class BA Hons. degree in History in 2011, and from Royal Holloway College, University of London in 2013 with an MA in Public History. In 2013 I began studying for my PhD at the University of Winchester, where I have also taught History to undergraduates. My thesis, entitled ‘All the Queen’s Jewels, 1445-1548’, examined the jewellery collections of the queens of the Wars of the Roses and the early Tudor queens, and the role of jewels during this period. It’s fascinating stuff! I completed my PhD and became Dr Tallis in 2019.
I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed a varied career in the history and heritage sector since graduating. I completed an internship with the interpretation department at Hampton Court Palace which led to further work with the curatorial department, and I have also volunteered for the National Trust. I have worked as the curator at Sudeley Castle, and featured prominently on BBC’s Countryfile in April 2013, guiding at Sudeley. Additionally, I’ve worked as a historical researcher, and since 2013 I have been one of the resident historians for Alison Weir Tours. I’ve also written for a number of history magazines, including BBC History Magazine, History Revealed and Explore. I’ve made numerous television and radio appearances, including Frankie Boyle’s Farewell to the Monarchy (Channel 4), Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC), The Gunpowder Plot (Channel 5), and The Vikings (Channel 5). I also offer work as a historical consultant.
I spent three years researching and writing a biography of Lady Frances Brandon, mother to Lady Jane Grey – I never published it, but I was able to draw on my research when I completed my first book. Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey, is a non-fiction biography, and was published in 2016. My second book, Elizabeth’s Rival: The Tumultuous Tale of Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester, was published in 2017, and is the first ever biography of one of the great Elizabethans. Uncrowned Queen: The Fateful Life of Margaret Beaufort, Tudor Matriarch, was published in 2019, whilst my first academic book, All the Queen’s Jewels, 1445-1548: Power, Majesty and Display was published in 2022. My forthcoming book, Young Elizabeth: Princess. Prisoner. Queen. will be released on 29 February 2024.
You can follow my progress by ‘connecting’ with me via my social media channels below.