The book ‘She-Wolves: England’s Early Queens,’ has been made into a three-part television series and the final episode was shown on BBC 4 last night. The series takes a look at the reign of seven queens of medieval and Tudor England and their struggle in a male-dominated monarchy.
In her book, Dr Helen Castor includes an illustration of the rear side of the Great Seal of Philip and Mary I, an original copy of which can be found attached to document DL 10/422. In this final episode Dr Helen Castor made a visit to The National Archives to take a look at this seal as it depicts Mary I in a more authoritative position than Philip.
The term ‘Great Seal’ is given to seals used by monarchs to authorise official documents, which were held in the custody of the Chancellor. A new great seal was made for each reign, with old seals ceremonially broken up once the reign had ended. This particular seal is 454 years old and is available to view at our reading rooms in Kew for any visitor with a valid readers ticket.