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Reconstructing the queen’s household, 1485-1547: a study in royal service

TAFFE, JAMES,JOHN (2022) Reconstructing the queen’s household, 1485-1547: a study in royal service. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines the queen’s household in England and the careers of its servants from 1485 to 1547. Reconstructing the offices they held in the queen’s Chamber and Privy Chamber, and their relationships with the queen, their mistress, the king, their sovereign, and the wider court and kingdom, it reassesses and redefines our understanding of the nature of royal service. This thesis builds upon the wider historiography on queenship, politics and women in this period. It demonstrates that the study of monarchy must constitute the sovereign and their consort, and reiterates the importance of studying servants, and women, reinstating them as central to the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII. In order to conceptualise fully the political, religious, and cultural significance of the court, not strictly the king’s servants, but the queen’s servants too, must be studied. Six women served as queens consort during Henry VIII’s reign, and their households were situated at the centre of their rise and fall. This thesis investigates the impact of Henry VIII’s marital instability, which saw the queen’s household discharged, its servants disbanded, and many of their careers cut short on no less than five occasions between 1527 and 1547. Requiring new and extensive archival research to reconstruct the households of Henry VIII’s queens, this thesis constructs a database of servants for prosopographical study, and integrates them into the master narrative of court studies. Rethinking and reflecting upon royal service more broadly as a career, this thesis provides a framework through which to interpret the evidence of service more sensitively, and accurately. It recommends ongoing and in-depth research into their individual careers, with a more nuanced understanding of the nature of royal service, and of the Tudor court from 1485 to 1603.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Jan 2023 12:29

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