About Me

Natalie Grueninger from On the Tudor Trail

Short Biography

Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, living in Australia with her husband and two children.

She graduated from The University of NSW in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English and Spanish and Latin American Studies and received her Bachelor of Teaching from The University of Sydney in 2006.

Natalie has been working in public education since graduating, and is passionate about making learning engaging and accessible for all children.

In 2009 she created On the Tudor Trail, a website dedicated to documenting historic sites and buildings associated with Anne Boleyn and sharing information about the life and times of Henry VIII’s second wife. Natalie is fascinated by all aspects of life in Tudor England and has spent many years researching the period.

Her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Sarah Morris, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, was published by Amberley Publishing in the UK in September 2013. Book number two in the series, ‘In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII’, was released in the UK in March 2016.

Natalie is currently working on two books: ‘Discovering Tudor London’ and ‘Colouring History – The Tudors‘ which will both be published by The History Press in early 2017.

How it all Began

On a cold winter’s morning in November 2000, I stepped through the gates of the Tower of London and was forever changed. Unknowingly, I had become another victim of the Tudors, but not of their politics or policy, rather, their ability to awaken curiousity and draw people into the tumultuous and dangerous period in history in which they lived, more than 500 years ago.

The sub-zero conditions were new to me, so accustomed to the mild Australian climate, but regardless of the bitter cold a spark ignited in me, a spark that over the years would grow and consume my thoughts in a way I could not yet have imagined. As I walked the grounds of the Tower, absorbing its history and its moods, I stopped on Tower Green to read a plaque that named seven victims that had met their terrible end in a private execution.

Among them was the name ‘Queen Anne Boleyn. Second wife of Henry VIII’.

This name seemed strangely familiar to me, like hearing about an old friend. Immediately, I yearned to discover more and to attempt to understand how and why this woman had met such a violent end. Why had a devoted husband turned on his own wife- his Queen- and ordered her execution? Had she been guilty of the crimes of which she was accused? What part had she played in her own demise and untimely death? Why did her name stand out above all others? I still find this final question particularly difficult to answer. Over the years I have come to think that perhaps the solution lies not in this lifetime, that perhaps we are not yet supposed to uncover the source of our strong affinity with a stranger from the past.

For me, this was the beginning of a long journey- I was undoubtedly caught in the Tudor web.

The next day, my visit to Hampton Court Palace only fuelled the fire within. Never in my life had I imagined such a place. Growing up in Australia had allowed me to indulge in exquisite landscapes and amazing coastlines but never had I ventured inside a palace or experienced the feeling that encompasses your very being when you realise you are walking on grounds where Kings and Queens once roamed, or wandering corridors that have overheard the secrets of great monarchs, witnessed the affairs of state being played out and heard the whispers of courtiers. I was humbled and honoured to be standing in a palace that had stood for hundreds of years- a palace that King Henry VIII had loved and held dear.

I was sure that hidden in the fabric of these ancient walls lay imprints of its past inhabitants and the events they played a part in. Only time separated us. Like flicking through a pile of old negatives, I wanted to peel away the layers of time and glimpse into the past. What did Henry look like in the flesh? What did Anne Boleyn’s voice sound like? I wondered if it was ever possible for a building, a space, to reveal its secrets, to play back events that echoed through its walls and floors and allow some among us to sense it.

For these reasons, On the Tudor Trail is dedicated to retracing the steps of an indelible queen. Like an exercise in time travel, this journey will take us through stately homes, chapels, parks and buildings- hidden treasures- that still stand today with a significant Tudor connection. It is also a space for sharing information about the Tudor monarchs and daily life in Tudor England, a place to discuss the ways in which the lives of historical figures from half a millennium ago still resonate powerfully with so many of us today. The focus will be on the reign of Henry VIII and the life of his second wife Queen Anne Boleyn, as I yearn to better understand their relationship and form a more detailed picture of the events that culminated on Tower Green, May 19th 1536.

So join me- on the Tudor Trail.

Natalie

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Comments

  1. Hi Natalie,

    This website was fabulous in the research for my personal study in my history A – Level, thank you so much. It helped fill in some rather large gaps in my enquiry.

  2. Hi Natalie:
    I was referred to your site by Barbara Kyle. I am a historian (American history), author (fiction) and a public speaker. On April 14th I am speaking to a large group in East Texas on the Abraham Lincoln assassination. Through a referral fluke, I am speaking to a sister club the next month (May 19th) with about 150 common members. I have chosen to speak on Anne Boleyn since that is the anniversary of her execution and my wife and I visited the Tower of London last summer. I am certainly not a scholar of the Tudor period but I have read Allison Weir’s “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”. I could use a little guidance on structuring the program (power point not available).
    It is my understanding that Anne Boleyn was her own worst enemy to some extent. She plotted for the execution of both Queen Kathryn of Aragon as well as her daughter Mary, encouraged the fatherly estrangement of Mary and insisted on using Mary as a lady in waiting to Elizabeth. The book also suggests that Cromwell, acting for Henry, framed Anne on the sex charges for three primary reasons. First, Henry needed a treaty with Charles V, (Kathryn’s nephew) and needed to get rid of Anne first. Second, Anne had achieved a high degree of unpopularity with a lot of the gentry and with almost all of the commoners. Last and not least he was experiencing a budding romance with Jane Seymour who had a much more agreeable personality.

    Please correct me if I am wrong on any of this. What I really don’t understand is why Queen Mary did not execute Elizabeth after the rebellion conducted in her name. Did the two half sisters get closer during the family reconciliation encouraged by Jane Seymour? It didn’t help Lady Jane Grey. Why was Elizabeth spared?

    Thanks for giving any help that you can.

    All the best,
    Sandy Prindle

  3. Hazel Oreluk says:

    Ms. Grueninger,
    I stumbled upon your website researching for fun about Anne Boleyn. I am a Tudor History enthusiast and like learning about Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth Tudor for fun. (I think I have read all David Starkey and Alison Weir books out there about the Tudors.) I think they were feminists long before “feminism” was a socially acceptable idea. I appreciate that you have information on “Anne Boleyn Places”. I have been to England several times going to places where the Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth have been. I guess you can say it was a “research trip for fun”. Now that you have this list, I will endeavor to visit these places next time I go back. Are you going to have a book tour in the US (Chicago, Illinois in particular)? I would love to attend a Q&A session or a lecture series re: Anne Boleyn or the Tudors that you will host. How about a trip to England going to Anne Boleyn and Tudor Places with you as the tour guide? That would be an educational and fun trip! Thank you for starting this website and keep up the good work!
    Sincerely,
    Hazel Oreluk

    • Dear Hazel,
      Thank you so much for visiting my website. I would love to have a book tour in the US, I will certainly keep this in mind when we’re planning events to coincide with the release of our upcoming book. Watch this space!
      Best wishes,
      Natalie

  4. Shu Hangsheng says:

    People who pay respects to Anne Boleyn and feel deep sorrows for her murder can be found even in mainland China. We wrote and discussed about her via online forums. I dreamed of putting a bunch of flowers on her grave one day.

  5. mpainter says:

    Hi Natalie

    Do you know these words?:

    Heigh ho, Heigh ho holiday, the best day of the year

    These are the beginning of a ballad and this ballad has put me on the Tudor Trail.
    Specifically, I need some historical corroboration of the consecration of Henry at Whitehall at what I conjecture to be the ceremonious Oath of Supremacy required of the nobility in 1535, summoned by royal command. Can you, or anyone, point me toward some internet resources?

    I need documents

  6. Very cool site! In doing genealogy, I recently learned that Anne Boleyn, along with her cousin Queen Katherine Howard, are both first cousins of mine, so I am particularly interested in everything about this site. Thanks for sharing all this information with the world!

  7. Congratulations to you both on finishing the new book, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII. You must be exhausted and elated at the same time. I think its going to be another hit. Well done.

  8. I enjoyed your blog. Your description, starting with stepping into the Tower of London, makes one feel more a witness than a reader. Keep up the good work.

  9. Thanks you !

  10. Thanks for this marvellous & well researched website – I’m looking forward to read your books soon!

  11. Juliana says:

    Well I am yet another one who has lived with this fascination. I am also a researcher with a Fine Arts degree. Because we are by descent although not blood except a long way back via the Norfolks – related to her, I am mainly interested in her sister Mary, her marriages, and the how lies told about her have become truth. Alison Weir has now looked at primary sources and made this clear as she also in previous writing followed gossip. I have a site with the genealogy which shows where my own family links into the Plantagenet line via my grandfather. There is a picture of the glass cushion which is where you refer to the plaque. Maybe the glass cushion was not there when you visited the Tower. Do get in touch. You are clever to write a book.

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