The TV series The Tudors (2008-2010) depicts the reign of Henry VIII. So far I've not noticed any historical inaccuracies. How truthful to history is it?

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  • Good spot - I was paying to much attention to "historically" and forgot the rest of the sentence!
    – Liath
    Sep 24, 2013 at 13:12
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    @coleopterist negative vote for spell mistake is little rude. Mistakes always happens that's why we have edit feature.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Sep 24, 2013 at 13:20
  • I would ask, when is a movie/series EVER accurate? Seems the productions always take liberties of one sort or another. Sep 24, 2013 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


Wikipedia has listed various inaccuracies as character names, relationships, historical costume, physical appearance and the timing of events.

As creator Hirst noted, "Showtime commissioned me to write an entertainment, a soap opera, and not history ... And we wanted people to watch it." He added that some changes were made for production considerations and some to avoid viewer confusion, and that "any confusion created by the changes is outweighed by the interest the series may inspire in the period and its figures."

Some listed errors from Wikipedia are:

  • Historically, Cardinal Wolsey died of an unspecified illness in Leicester in 1530
  • The character of Henry's sister, called "Princess Margaret" in the series, is actually a composite of his two sisters: the life events of his younger sister, Princess Mary Tudor, coupled with the name of his elder sister, Margaret Tudor.
  • The king's natural son Henry Fitzroy was shown to be born near the beginning of the series and dying at a very young age from the sweating sickness. In fact, he lived until 1536, long enough to marry the only daughter of Anne Boleyn's uncle Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, and be a witness to Anne Boleyn's execution.
  • Henry's daughter Mary is shown to be openly hostile towards Catherine Parr having discovered her Protestant view. Mary didn't fall out with Catherine until after Henry's death, when the Queen hastily married Thomas Seymour.

And many more inaccuracies are there.

Also, from www.thetudorswiki.com:

Writer Michael Hirst believes that The Tudors brings out into the open the gaps and contradictions in the historical record that academic history shies away from. “Of course, there are certain facts which are incontrovertible,” he says, “but beyond that there’s just interpretation and there are surprisingly few sources. So I discovered that the truth is variable and I also discovered that most historians are very bad psychologists: They don’t tell you very much about the human relationships in history. I’ve discovered that nearly all the caricatures of Henry’s wives for instance, are nonsense or only tell a little bit of the story.”


1st episode in the 1st fifteen minutes they use the term 7 o'clock and they play tennis. Clocks didn't exist for 100 years later and tennis wasn't created for another 300 years.

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    Can you provide sources for these?
    – Möoz
    Feb 14, 2016 at 23:30
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    Actually tennis was invented in France in the 12th century. That is 200 years prior to King Henry so there would be tennis. Also, the mechanical clock was invented in Europe in the 14th century around the time of King Henry. The pendulum clock was the one invented 100 years later. So both the time and the game of tennis could have very well been accurate as they both existed around the time of King Henry VIII.
    – user32880
    Mar 30, 2016 at 0:15
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    Henry VIII is famous for playing tennis. Hampton Court Palace, which he built, has a Real Tennis court to this day. The clock in Salisbury Cathedral dates from 1386 and is still working.
    – Chenmunka
    Mar 30, 2016 at 12:45
  • HenryVIII played a lot of tennis and was very good at it. They called it ‘real tennis’ but to us it’s ‘Royal Tennis’ Nov 11, 2017 at 4:48

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