Kate Williams Quotes

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My Welsh grandmother Mair didn't meet my grandfather until she was 28, quite old to be unmarried in the early '40s.
Kate Williams
Visit any bookshop in Europe, and the shelves are filled with English novels and non-fiction books in translation – while British bookshops stock mainly English and American works.
Kate Williams
British passion for Chinese tea was unstoppable, but the Chinese had no desire for our offerings, however much we tried to sell them woolen clothes or cutlery.
Kate Williams
The British Museum was our first real museum, the property of the public rather than the monarch or the church.
Kate Williams
Eighteenth-century matrons would have never have dreamed of appointing a redhaired wet nurse for their precious offspring – redheads passed on their horrible characters through their milk.
Kate Williams
Indeed, throughout much of history and in many cultures, redheads have been viewed with suspicion and fear – and even killed – because of their hair.
Kate Williams
I receive many letters from people hoping to research their own houses.
One woman came up to me at a lecture and observed that I was much fatter than on television; I think I look better onscreen than in real life. It's the lights.
Kate Williams
Colour is really important to me when buying clothes. I wear a lot of fitted jackets, and because I'm small, I avoid long skirts and coats. And I hate wearing hats.
Kate Williams
Redheads were particularly persecuted during the European witch trials of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The colour was associated with the devil, and the pale skin which most redheads have was thought unnatural and deathly.
Kate Williams
I am part of a team organising an Emma Hamilton exhibition for the National Maritime Museum for 2016, and the amount of planning is a revelation – borrowing from museums and collections all over the world.
Kate Williams
As historians, we spend days in archives, gazing at account books. We train would-be historians in the arts of deciphering letters and documents, early Latin, scribal handwriting, medieval French.
Kate Williams
The 19th century became the age of the museum. Objects were scrambled for, specimens seized, and friezes and antiques grasped.
Kate Williams
I used to hate reading my old work, but now I'm rather fond of it. I quite like going through it in the hope of making it better.
Kate Williams
When Elizabeth II was crowned – the sixth female monarch since the Norman conquest – the world lit up in her favour.
Kate Williams
One child is never enough for a monarch.
The centuries-old habit of privileging the male heir arose because monarchs were supposed to lead their country in battle, and only men were thought strong enough to do so.
Kate Williams
When I was a child, one of my first games was a time machine which I made for my brother – a big box covered in silver and bits of cellophane. I'd close him up in it and joggle him and say, 'We're in Victorian times now… and now we're in Egyptian times, and I can see all these pyramids and pharaohs.'
Kate Williams
Are we really so far from the Victorians? Much of what our society holds important was shaped in the 19th century.
Kate Williams
I've always considered myself to look like a rather plain-and-exhausted bluestocking, so it's rather odd to read Tweets commenting on my appearance.
Kate Williams
I chose my house because I loved the fact that there was a really busy road with lots of things to stare at.
Kate Williams
Usually, historical revelations come from days of legwork, ploughing through piles of letters and papers in archives or even private homes, looking for the telling phrase or letter that someone else has missed.
Kate Williams
I like boxes because of the secrets they hide.
Between 1945 and 1965, the number of colonial people ruled by the British monarch plunged from 700 million to five million. In 1956, just three years after the coronation, the Suez canal crisis and Anthony Eden's humiliation ended all notions that Britain was a world superpower.
Kate Williams
I think increasingly we want to read the history that wasn't written by the victors.
Kate Williams
I've written extensively on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth and seen up close how those women, who were born when the country hoped for a male heir, made their way as leaders.
Kate Williams
Women's stories have been neglected for so long – unless they were queens. Exploring the history of women is a way of redressing that imbalance.
Kate Williams
I'm fascinated by historical fashion, and I like to live in the past slightly. If I could walk around all day dressed in a crinoline, I would.
Kate Williams
Britain's passion for Christmas and huge white weddings dates from Victorian times – both were low-key celebrations before Victoria and her PR machine.
Kate Williams
Unless I'm asked to dress up in a costume, TV shows prefer a clean, modern look, so I've developed a wardrobe full of plain, bright colours. If it's an outdoors job, I just wear big jumpers.
Kate Williams
The modern museum has multiple purposes – to curate and preserve, to research, and to reach out to the public. They challenge us and ask us to question our assumptions about the past or the world around us.
Kate Williams
I wouldn't mind an original letter from Napoleon to Josephine – in the early days, his letters arrived torn to pieces because he was overwhelmed by his passion for her.
Kate Williams
I wonder if there'll ever be a time where you're not judged by your appearance. It seems that wherever you've got to, your appearance is always discussed. It's never said about men. We talk about a man's charisma, not his looks.
Kate Williams
Still often interventionist, convinced of our importance in the world, even those of us born long after 1900 live in a country that is much more Victorian than we think.
Kate Williams
It's the 21st century. It's untenable to suggest that women had no significance and no interest and that just because they didn't vote they had no relevance to the course of our history.
Kate Williams
I really enjoy watching TV; it offers an amazing window, and its an incredible way of presenting history to young people in particular.
Kate Williams
Some archives and record offices are housed in your local museum or library; others have their own stand-alone building. Wherever they are, they are a treasure trove.
Kate Williams
Throughout history, the only way to secure a throne has been with a phalanx of children – nine for Victoria, 13 for George III.
Kate Williams
People are not happy with women in actual power, yet we seem to be happy to take women on as figureheads, objects, like queens. It's a powerful yet politically powerless role.
Kate Williams
Anglo-Saxon kings often used to favour their sister's son to their own – for at least you could guarantee there was your own blood in your sister's son!
Kate Williams
I love wearing green, and I like grey and black, but I don't think they really suit me.
Kate Williams
Queens perhaps perform better in the role of monarch because they never take their position for granted. Many kings have failed because they believed that the public would love them whatever they did. Queens knew better.
Kate Williams
Precise historical reasons are difficult to pinpoint, but red hair, it seems, bestows a sense of otherness. Red is the colour of blood and danger.
Kate Williams
Throughout the 19th century, Britain bought cheaply from the countries of the empire and compelled subject countries to buy our goods at high prices.
Kate Williams
Analysis of soil, grave goods and skeletons has been key to our understanding of archaeology and the migration of peoples, as well as their daily lives. But in mainstream history, we tend to stick to documents.
Kate Williams
As an older child, I was a huge 'Anne Of Green Gables' fan.
One of Britain's big problems throughout history has been that we lust after consumer goods from elsewhere, but our friends overseas have been less enthusiastic about buying things we produce.
Kate Williams
Over the years to come, one thing is for certain: if the monarchy wishes to stay relevant and in power, it will have to change more.
Kate Williams
The motivations of kings in British history can generally be reduced to two: the quest for territory and the search for a male heir. No king was secure on his throne until he had a son, and no queen consort was ever really safe without a boy.
Kate Williams
Now I would go to London's Pudding Lane on 2 September 1666 and put out that little fire. I'd love to investigate the histories of a few of the buildings that burned for Restoration Home.
Kate Williams