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Aristocratic Women of the Household and Court of Queen Henrietta Maria, 1625-1659

WOLFSON, SARA,JOY (2010) Aristocratic Women of the Household and Court of Queen Henrietta Maria, 1625-1659. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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My doctoral thesis is not a gender study, but examines instead the political, social and religious roles that the aristocratic women of the court and household of Queen Henrietta Maria played predominantly in the period 1625-1642. It builds upon David Starkey’s and Kevin Sharpe’s emphasis on the royal court and social networks of the elite to demonstrate that early modern politics are defined increasingly by access to, and intimacy with, the monarch. In doing so, the PhD thesis highlights how aristocratic women played a pivotal role in Caroline domestic and international policy that has hitherto been ignored in Stuart historiography as politically insignificant. Consequently, the thesis presents not only new conclusions on aristocratic women and wider Stuart policies, but also on Henrietta Maria herself. It argues that the queen was a significant political figure from the start of her marriage with Charles I in 1625, re-evaluating, therefore, domestic and foreign policy up until the outbreak of the Anglo-French war of 1627-1629. The traditional understanding of Henrietta Maria’s court as solely Catholic is reassessed in light of new evidence and a greater concentration on the queen’s Protestant female attendants. Finally, the study of women at the apex of power demonstrates how they were integral to establishing their family at court. Patronage networks created or maintained by women placed Henrietta Maria’s establishment within an international and national dynamic. Accordingly, the thesis adds to the continuing debate on the ‘court’ versus ‘country’ divide and the definition of the royal court itself.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:"Early modern court history", "women's history", "Charles I", "Henrietta Maria", "early Stuart history".
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 Dec 2010 12:31

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