Tales from the Tudor bedroom: Strange potions, bizarre rituals and even an audience in the bedchamber. A new s

No sex please, it’s Saturday, or Wednesday, or maybe it’s Lent or Advent. In Tudor England, the Church imposed sexual abstinence several days a week, as well as feast days and fast days. Even for royalty that meant, ‘Not tonight, Henry!’

Of course, it was impossible to enforce these rules, admits historian Tracy Borman who explores the Private Lives Of The Tudors in a new documentary series starting on Tuesday. ‘However, this was a God-fearing age,’ she explains. ‘People really believed they were being watched by Him, and that their actions in this life had a direct bearing on the next. So most people were either good… or very discreet.’

While it was impossible to police the bedroom behaviour of ordinary husbands and wives, for Tudor monarchs privacy didn’t exist. At even the most intimate moments of their lives they were surrounded by attendants, courtiers and ministers. As a

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