Rex Factor

Rex Factor

Rex Factor is a fun podcast reviewing all the kings & queens of England & Scotland.


December 1, 2023 68 mins
We speak to Dr Ellie Woodacre again, this time about male consorts. Our last mini series had two male consorts (Philip II and Prince George of Denmark) as well as covering the time period of Elizabeth I (with no consort) and William and Mary. We speak to Ellie about where England's experience fits in with other European countries - did England come to queens regnant late? What kind of roles, powers and titles did male consorts have...
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We speak to Dr Emma Southon for the second time on the podcast, this time discussing her new book A History of the Roman Empire in 21 Women (or A Rome of One's Own in the US), a fascinating look at women from Roman history that (mostly) people don't tend to have heard of, but who give us a fascinating alternative look at the history of Ancient Rome and the varying experience of women in that history. For more on Emma, check out her...
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November 3, 2023 98 mins
We speak to the author and historian Lead Redmond about her book 'Three Renaissance Women and the Price of Power', which looks at the lives of Catherine de' Medici (Queen Consort and Mother of France), Elisabeth de Valois (Queen Consort of Spain) and Mary Queen of Scots (Queen Regnant of Scotland and Consort of France). For a time, they all lived under one roof, but even when their paths diverged, they continue to be closely connec...
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October 20, 2023 83 mins
Having finished our mini-series on the Stuart consorts (plus a couple of others), we go through some of your messages, responding to corrections, points of debate and whatever else comes up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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October 6, 2023 64 mins
It's the last of the Stuart consorts this time with the consort of Queen Anne, Prince George of Denmark. Often maligned by contemporaries, George nevertheless had a significant role as the first male consort not to be king. Derided by many but loved by Anne, George was a player in the tumultuous events of the late seventeenth century and a bit of a trailblazer for unambitious chaps, but is that enough for the Rex Factor? Learn more...
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September 22, 2023 63 mins
Mary of Modena is not one of the more famous names for English consorts but subject to one of the most notorious incidents as mother to the so-called 'bedpan baby'. We look at the truth of this as well as Mary's life, second wife to the man who would become James II, at the eye of the storm for the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and then the life of the Jacobite Matriarch in French exile. Will the real Mary warrant her notoriety and d...
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September 8, 2023 64 mins
Catherine of Braganza has often been overshadowed by Charles II's numerous mistresses, but she has an interesting story in her own right. She faced a difficult start in England, finding her own space in a court where the mistresses were publicly honoured, as well as being a Catholic queen for a decidedly not Catholic country. She would need to find a way to adapt to the more relaxed Restoration court, assert her own place in Charle...
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August 25, 2023 62 mins
Elizabeth Cromwell was the wife to one of the most (in)famous figures in British history, but Oliver Cromwell's wife is something of a forgotten figure. Though the evidence for her life is limited, we track her from Essex and East Anglia to the dizzy heights of Lady Protector, seeing the Civil War and Protectorate from a different perspective. Elizabeth had to transition from managing a large but modest Puritan household to the pse...
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August 11, 2023 69 mins
Henrietta Maria of France was the highly controversial queen of Charles I. An avowed Catholic in an increasingly Puritanical country, her efforts to promote her religion were one of the factors that led to the Civil War. A forceful character, Henrietta played her part in the war (despite being a target for Parliamentarians), but would she be able to survive? And can such an unpopular queen be in the running for the Rex Factor? Lear...
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July 28, 2023 63 mins
We start the Stuarts proper with Anne of Denmark, consort to James I, though originally to James VI of Scotland. Anne had quite a difficult time getting to Scotland, then found herself caught up in various controversies when she did get there, clashing with the church, nobles and James himself. When she became Queen of England, there were controversies over her religion and more person disputes, but also significant cultural patron...
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July 14, 2023 77 mins
Elizabeth I famously never married, but there were various suitors for her hand who came close to becoming Elizabeth's consort. We spoke to Professor Susan Doran about Elizabeth I and the marriage question, with a particular question on her relationship with Robert Dudley, the Hapsburgs and the French candidates and consider why she never married, if she ever wanted to and how close she came. Hosted on Acast. See ...
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June 30, 2023 68 mins
It's our first chap of the consort series in the form of Philip II of Spain. A powerful king in his own right, and notorious in England as the man who launched the Spanish Armada against Elizabeth I, it's often forgotten that he was actually King of England through his marriage to Mary I. We learn about Philip's upbringing, how he came to marry Mary, what sort of powers he did or didn't have as King (consort) of England, and the im...
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As a lovely finale to our mini-series on the Six Wives of Henry VIII, we share our live podcast recorded at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms on Saturday 17 June 2023 in which we review all six of Henry VIII's wives in one go, compare them factor by factor and then get the audience to vote for who they think was the greatest of them all. Hosted on Acast. See for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit po...
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June 9, 2023 55 mins
Before we get started on the Stuart consorts, we read through various listener correspondence as well as sharing previews of our bonus content, including our new special episode (also out today) on Catherine De' Medici. You can sign up to join the Privy Council and gain access to all our bonus content here: And you can purchase the Catherine De' Medici special episode (as well as all our other spec...
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This week, we chat with Dr Fiona Radford and Dr Peta Greenfield (AKA Dr Rad and Dr G, the Partial Historians) about their new book Rex: The Seven Kings of Rome. Much to Ali's surprise, before the Emperors and before the Republic, ancient Rome was ruled by kings. From Romulus and the founding of Rome to Tarquinius Superbus and the fall of the kings, we learn about the kings and the early history of Rome, then decide how well the kin...
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May 17, 2023 8 mins
Just a quick message to say that we are going to be doing a live show at the Ludlow Fringe on Saturday 17 June at 19:00 (BST), where we will be looking at all of the Six Wives of Henry VIII and asking the audience to vote for who they think was the best. We'd love to see some Rex fans in the audience, so if you're able to make it then you can book tickets at the address below:
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May 12, 2023 68 mins
Following our mini-series on the Six Wives of Henry VIII, we chat to Professor Suzannah Lipscomb about all things Henry VIII - what was he about? How did he change and why? Plus we get Suzannah's thoughts on the Six Wives, about whom she is currently researching a new book. You can follow Suzannah on Twitter @sixteenthCgirl and listen to her podcast Not Just the Tudors. Hosted on Acast. See for more information. ...
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May 1, 2023 129 mins
In a feature-length special episode, we chart the history of the coronation of the English monarchy from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth II. We learn about how and why the coronation ceremony started, why it is the way that it is, how it's changed over the last thousand years, and all the funny things that have gone wrong. From a random big stone to oily headlice and reversing horses, there's plenty of fun to be had at the coronation...
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We chat to Dr Dean Irwin, long-time listener to the podcast and co-curator of the episode 'History According to Ali', about the history of the Jews in medieval England. We discuss the origins of a Jewish community in England along with their legal status and close relationship to the crown. We look in particular detail at the thirteenth century, considering the attitudes of Henry III and Simon de Montfort as well as some exception ...
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March 31, 2023 72 mins
Having finished our mini-series on the Six Wives of Henry VIII, we go through some of your messages and answer questions about the podcasts, the queens, Henry, and whatever else comes up. Hosted on Acast. See for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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