British history has been ‘feminised’ by female writers who want to put women centre stage, according to TV historian Dr David Starkey.
In a controversial interview, Dr Starkey claimed that recent books about Henry VIII by women authors seemed to ‘subjugate the history of Henry … to that of his wives’.
In an interview with the Radio Times, he said: ‘One of the great problems has been that Henry, in a sense, has been absorbed by his wives. Which is bizarre.
The historian was speaking ahead of his Channel 4 series to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry VII’s succession to the throne.
‘But it’s what you expect from feminised history, the fact that so many of the writers who write about this are women and so much of their audience is a female audience.’
He said that in his new series, Henry VIII: Mind Of A Tyrant, ‘we’re trying to say, ‘Hang on a minute, Henry is centre stage’.
He said: ‘This is Henry – wives appear simply to explain or complicate the story of Henry. This is his development, his psychology and, above all, why he matters.’
Dr Starkey also said that modern attempts to paint many women in history as ‘power players’ was to falsify the facts.
He said that the way Elizabeth I was presented ‘as some sort of female icon is ludicrous’.
He said: ‘If you are to do a proper history of Europe before the last five minutes, it is a history of white males because they were the power players, and to pretend anything else is to falsify.’