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MAY 2018

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The news in Britain this month is likely to be dominated by the latest royal wedding, as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry prepare to tie the knot. They are a very modern royal couple, and few today would be concerned by the fact that Meghan is a ‘commoner’ who has been married before, or that Harry is marrying for love rather than for diplomatic or dynastic purposes. Yet, back in the 15th century, things were very di erent for Edward IV and this month’s cover star, Elizabeth Woodville.

The Yorkist king’s decision to marry a widowed English noblewoman rather than a virginal European princess was hugely contentious and played a part in the struggles of the Wars of the Roses. On page 26, Sarah Gristwood revisits this royal romance and shows how Elizabeth became a major player in the many crises of the late 15th century.

From secret marriages to secret armies, this month’s issue also explores the actions of the Special Operations Executive, a covert military organisation tasked with “setting Europe ablaze” during the Second World War. On page 20, Giles Milton describes one of their most audacious acts – sabotaging a heavy water plant in Norway – and the brutal training regime that prepared the SOE team for their Scandinavian expedition. And if you’d like to nd out how modern Britons would cope in this world of guerrilla warfare then do check out the BBC Two series Churchill’s Secret Agents: The New Recruits, which is airing now.

Rob Attar Editor BSME Editor of the Year 2015, Special Interest Brand

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS

Fern Riddell Kitty Marion was an incredibly dangerous and violent soldier for the su ragettes. I couldn’t put her autobiography down – it was captivating. Historians can wait their whole lives to nd a story like this. P Fern talks about her new book on a suffragette bomber on page 65

Andrew Dickson If you were asked to name the greatest Shakespeare actor of all time, who would you vote for? Laurence Olivier? Judi Dench? Chances are it’s someone you’ve barely heard of – meet Richard Burbage, the man who invented Hamlet. P Andrew profiles the actor who outshone Shakespeare on page 42

Sarah Gristwood The rst thing you realise, studying the Wars of the Roses, is that spin, disinformation and fake news were all around in the 15th century. That’s what made Elizabeth Woodville such a controversial queen. P Sarah unpicks the mysteries surrounding Elizabeth Woodville on on page 26

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