Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsWelcome to A History of Royal Food and Feasting. I'm Kate Williams, Professor of History at the University of Reading, and I'm here in the Great Hall of Hampton Court Palace. Over the next five weeks, together with my colleagues in the University of Reading and curators from Historic Royal Palaces. We'll be taking you on a fascinating journey into the history of food and monarchy. We'll be going behind the scenes at four magnificent historic royal palaces and bringing our stories of royal dining to life in the places where history happened. Each week we'll explore the tastes of an individual monarch, and share intimate glimpses of what life would have been like in these most incredible palaces.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 secondsWhen Henry VIII was at Hampton Court Palace, what did he eat here? And how did the palace cope with the hundreds of servants and courtiers? And what about one of the grandest feasts that ever took place here? The celebration of the birth of Prince Edward, Henry's desperately desired son.

Welcome to the course

Welcome to A History of Royal Food and Feasting, a free, online course produced by the Department of History at the University of Reading and Historic Royal Palaces.

On this course, you’ll join expert historians, curators and food scientists to immerse yourself in the changing tastes of successive generations of royalty and experience the splendour of their palaces - from the Tudors to the twentieth century.

Over five weeks, we’ll explore the history of royal food through the tastes of five key monarchs, and take an intimate look behind the scenes at some of the most incredible palaces in England:

•Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace

•Elizabeth I at the Tower of London

•George I at Hampton Court Palace

•George III at Kew Palace

•Victoria at Kensington Palace.

Study Groups

Choose the study group tab at the top of any step to join a Historic Cook–a-long study group for this course. Your Historic Cook–a-long study group is a place to get to know your fellow learners a bit better, to support and encourage each other, and to discuss your experience trying out the recipes during the course with the same set of people. You can visit this group whenever you like - and it’s completely optional.

There are around 30 learners in each group and the groups are created at random so we hope you get to meet interesting people from around the world. We’re keen to hear about your experience of collaborating within your study group and hope you will report back to us to let us know how you got on at the end of Week 5.

What can you expect from completing this course?

We hope you’ll enjoy reading the articles, watching the various videos, animations and joining in with courses discussions and activities. After completing this five week course you will be able to:

•Cook royal recipes: from Tudor pies to Georgian chocolate, Elizabethan biscuits to Victorian cakes, each week you’ll get a cooking challenge to try at home, so you too can eat like royalty.

•Get scientific: you’ll explore the flavour, nutritional value and medicinal benefits of royal food past and present, and investigate which era enjoyed the tastiest diet.

•Hone your investigative skills and powers of deduction: you’ll evaluate evidence, science and the palaces themselves to draw your own conclusions about royal food in different eras.

•Discover some surprising facts: we’ll share riveting tales and challenge some common misconceptions about palaces, monarchs, and their impact on dietary tastes today.

•Share your findings with thousands of people around the world: you’ll debate your opinions and compare experiences with expert mentors and other learners.

Meet the team

The course is led by Kate Williams, Professor of History and Public Engagement at the University of Reading. Kate will be joined by colleagues from the University. It’s worth following the team below (click the link to their profile and then the pink button under their biography), to view their responses to common queries. By following other profiles, any comments made will appear in your activity feed on your profile, which you can filter by ‘Following’.

Professor Kate Williams and Dr Ruth Salter who will be joining us from the Department of History.

Dr Jane Parker and Dr Lisa Methven who will be joining us from the Department Food and Nutritional Sciences.

Throughout the course, you’ll spot comments from our course mentors who are Students in the Departments of History and Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading. Keep an eye out for Charlotte, Harriet, Katie, Ruth, Sarah and Stephanie.

The team above will be joined by expert food historians and curators from Historic Royal Palaces including; Marc Meltonville, Polly Putnam and Dr Annie Gray. Learning producers Katherine and Zinta will also be on hand to answer your questions.

Demonstrate what you’ve learned with a certificate?

If you want a record of your course, you can buy a Certificate of Achievement from FutureLearn.

The Certificate of Achievement is a great way to demonstrate what you have learned on the course and as evidence of your Continuing Professional Development (where appropriate). This is a personalised certificate and transcript, detailing the syllabus and learning outcomes from the course. It comes as a printed certificate as well as a digital version which you can add to your LinkedIn profile. To qualify, you must have marked at least 90% of the steps in the course complete.

There is also the option to purchase a personalised Statement of Participation, to celebrate taking part. To be eligible for the Statement of Participation, you must mark at least 50% of the steps on the course as complete. This also comes in a printed and digital format and you can add it to your LinkedIn profile.

Now you’ve met the team and know what to expect from the course, we’d really like to meet you.

What interests you most about the history of food? What are you hoping to gain from the course?

Share your thoughts in the discussion area. You can ‘Like’ and reply to other learners’ comments. You can also filter comments to see the ‘Most liked’ and find your own by selecting ‘My comments’.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

A History of Royal Food and Feasting

University of Reading