Lucy Worsley

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Lucy Worsley
Born(1973-12-18) 18 December 1973 (age 40)
Reading, Berkshire, England
Television Presenter
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Lucy Worsley
Born(1973-12-18) 18 December 1973 (age 40)
Reading, Berkshire, England
Television Presenter

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

Worsley is currently Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity responsible for palaces not in current use by the royal family, but is perhaps better known as a presenter of 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) and A Very British Murder (2013).

Early life and education[edit]

Lucy Worsley was born in Reading, but when she was a week old went to live in Canada. Her father is a geologist and expert in glaciers and permafrost and an emeritus professor at Reading University; her mother is a consultant in educational policy and practice. Before going to university Worsley attended St Bartholomew's School, Newbury. She graduated from New College, Oxford in 1995 with a first-class honours BA degree in Ancient and Modern History.


From 1996 to 2002, Worsley 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 D.Phil from the University of Sussex for a thesis on "The Architectural Patronage of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle, 1593–1676".[2] The thesis later became her book Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses[3]

During 2002–2003, she was Major Projects and Research Manager for Glasgow Museums,[4] before becoming Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity looking after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. She is currently overseeing the £12 million refurbishment of the Kensington Palace state apartments and gardens.[5]

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.[4]

Television career[edit]

In 2011 she presented the four-part television series If Walls Could Talk exploring the history of British homes, from peasant's 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,[6] 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.[7] 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 most recent BBC series, A Very British Murder, examines the "morbid national obsession" with murder. The series examines 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.[8][9]

2013A Very British MurderBBC FourThree part series (23 September 2013).[10]
2013Tales from the Royal BedchamberBBC Four5 August 2013.[11]
2013Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed HistoryBBC TwoPart 1,[12] Part 2, Part 3.[13]
2013Secret Knowledge, Episode 3BBC FourBolsover Castle 27 March 2013.[14]
2012Food in England: The Lost World of Dorothy HartleyBBC Four6 November 2012 .
2012Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for GirlsBBC FourThree part series (May 2012).
2012Inside the world of Henry VIIIHistory Channel
2012Antiques UncoveredBBC TwoMay 2012.
2011Elegance and Decadence: The Age of the RegencyBBC FourThree part series (August–September 2011).
2011If Walls Could Talk: The History of the HomeBBC OneApril 2011.
2011When God Spoke EnglishBBC Four21 February 2011.
2010The Curse of the Hope DiamondChannel 424 May 2010.
2010King Alfred the Great?BBC South17 May 2010.
2009Inside the Body of Henry VIIIHistory Channel

Personal life[edit]

Worsley lives by the River Thames in south London with her husband, the architect Mark Hines,[1] whom she married in November 2011.[15] With reference to having children, Worsley says she has been "educated out of normal reproductive function".[16]

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 TV series Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History she had help from a speech and language therapist to help with her pronunciation (but to no avail.[17]) Her trademark hair clip was also removed.

In her teens Worsley represented Berkshire at cross-country and is still a keen runner.[18]



  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. ^ Worsley, Lucy (2001). The Architectural Patronage of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle, 1593–1676 (D.Phil. thesis). Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b "Kingston University – Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture". Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Law, Katie (27 April 2010). "It is time for Princess Diana to take her place in history". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Antiques Uncovered". 19 June 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls at". 28 May 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Worsely [sic], 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. 
  9. ^ Owen, Pamela (22 September 2013). "A Very British Murder: How we became hooked on morbid mysteries". The Mirror. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  10. ^ A Very British Murder Radio Times
  11. ^ Tales from the Royal Bedchamber Radio Times
  12. ^ The Telegraph Reviews Part 1
  13. ^ The Telegraph Reviews Part 3
  14. ^ Secret Knowledge, Bolsover Castle Radio Times
  15. ^ "On being 2.5% famous". Lucy Worsley. 22 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Times, 5/8/13
  17. ^
  18. ^ Wintle, Angela (14 October 2011). "World of Dr Lucy Worsley, curator and broadcaster". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 

External links[edit]