The King's Table

The image of Henry VIII holding an ever-present chicken drumstick is a common stereotype of the infamous Tudor king in matters of cuisine, yet in reality the representation could not be further from the truth.


"The King's Table" by Deborah O'Toole

"The King's Table" by Deborah O'Toole was inspired by her novel, In the Shadow of the King, where food is often mentioned in the storyline. The cookbook contains more than 60 authentic recipes common to the time period, including appetizers, beverages, bread & pastry, breakfast, entrees, side dishes, soups & stews, and sweets.

Tudor recipe for Charwardon (pears in a red wine sauce). Click on image to view larger size in a new window.
(Above): Tudor recipe for Charwardon (pears in a red wine sauce). Click on image to view larger size in a new window.


In the Shadow of the King by Deborah O'Toole is a semi-fictional account of the dramatic life of Sir Francis Bryan, confidant to King Henry VIII.

Sir Francis Bryan was a man of letters who distinguished himself as a cipher, diplomat, poet, sailor and soldier. He was also knight bannerette, chevalier, Lord of the Tor Bryan, chief gentleman of the privy chamber, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and a gifted sportsman. He lost an eye during a jousting tournament and forever after wore a rakish eye patch, which merely added to his allure.

During his time in Henry VIII's court and one of the few who escaped the King's wrath, Bryan was dubbed the "one-eyed Vicar of Hell" by the King's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, because of his apparent lack of scruples and legendary sexual exploits. Bryan had a well-earned reputation as a self-indulgent libertine, and was said to have been a willing accomplice in the King's tangled love affairs.

Bryan's irresistible charm masked an inveterate intriguer full of barely-contained energy. He could be duplicitous, manipulative and promiscuous as well as highly articulate, ferociously witty and generous when the mood struck him. In videlicet, he was the perfect courtier. Many observers were astounded by the familiarity he used towards Henry VIII, especially in speaking his mind. However, Bryan was no creature of principle. By bending his opinions to fit the King's policy, he managed to remain in favor throughout Henry VIII's reign.


In the Shadow of the King brings to life the story of Sir Francis Bryan, as told by one of his descendants in the twenty-first century.

"The King's Table" Information

The King's Table is freely available as a PDF (Adobe) download.

Please note that text in The King's Table is copyrighted by Deborah O'Toole. Images contained in The King's Table not created by the author are fully credited.

Click here to go to the official website for "In the Shadow of the King."

Click on image to go to the official website for "In the Shadow of the King."

Book Details & Extras

Book cover image: Original painting by Joos Van Cleve (about 1530-1535). The image is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or fewer. The image is also in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the United States Copyright Office) before January 1, 1925. Reproduction for use on a book cover is therefore also considered to be in the public domain in the United States.

Hampton Court kitchen logo: Joy of Museums (2016). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license, which allows users to adapt, copy, distribute and transmit the work with attribution. Edited by Webs Divine.

*Book cover & logo design: Webs Divine.