Cambridge Catalog  
  • Your account
  • View basket
  • Help
Home > Catalog > Queenship and Political Discourse in the Elizabethan Realms
Queenship and Political Discourse in the Elizabethan Realms
Google Book Search

Search this book



  • 2 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 332 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.66 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 942.055
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: n/a
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Elizabeth--I,--Queen of England,--1533-1603
    • Great Britain--Politics and government--1558-1603

Library of Congress Record

Add to basket


 (ISBN-13: 9780521819220 | ISBN-10: 0521819229)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published December 2005

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$134.00 (C)


This book re-evaluates the nature of Elizabethan politics and Elizabeth's queenship in late sixteenth-century England, Wales and Ireland. Natalie Mears shows that Elizabeth took an active role in policy-making and suggests that Elizabethan politics has to be perceived in terms of personal relations between the queen and her advisers rather than of the hegemony of the privy council. She challenges current perceptions of political debate at court as restricted and integrates recent research on court drama and religious ritual into the wider context of political debate. Finally, providing the first survey of the nature of political debate outside the court, Dr Mears challenges seminal work by Jürgen Habermas, as well as of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century historians, by showing that a ‘public sphere’ existed in late sixteenth-century England, Wales and Ireland. In doing so, she re-evaluates how sociologists and historians have, and should, conceptualise the ‘public sphere’.

Natalie Mears is Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Durham. She has published in Historical Journal and History and a number of collections of essays.


Series Editors

Emeritus Professor of English Social History, University of London

Fellow, Clare College, Cambridge

Professor of British and Irish History, University of Cambridge,
and Vice-Master of Selwyn College

This is a series of monographs and studies covering many aspects of the history of
the British Isles between the late fifteenth century and the early eighteenth
century. It includes the work of established scholars and pioneers work by a new
generation of scholars. It includes both reviews and revisions of major topics and
books, which open up new historical terrain or which reveal startling new
perspectives on familiar subjects. All the volumes set detailed research into our
broader perspectives and the books are intended for the use of students as well as
of their teachers.

For a list of titles in the series, see end of book.



University of Durham

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Natalie Mears 2005

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2005

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN-13 978-0-521-81922-0 hardback
ISBN-10 0-521-81922-9 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external
or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on
such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


List of plates page vi
Acknowledgements vii
Conventions and notes on spelling and foliation x
List of abbreviations xii
Introduction 1
1 Elizabethan court politics and the public sphere 12
2 Elizabeth I and the politics of intimacy 33
3 Gender and consultation 73
4 News and political debate at the Elizabethan court 104
5 The circulation of news in the Elizabethan realms 145
6 The Elizabethan public sphere 183
7 Perceptions of Elizabeth and her queenship in public discourse 217
Conclusion 257
Select bibliography 273
Index 305


4.1. ‘Hezekiah opening up the Temple’, mural, Hill Hall,
Essex. Reproduced by permission of English Heritage.
page 135
7.1. Mural thought to depict Princess Elizabeth, Ashridge
Manor, Hertfordshire. © Crown copyright. NMR


For a project that has spanned both a little over three years of a Ph.D. and a further four since, I have a worrying amount of debts to acknowledge, some of which I feel sure I will forget to honour. Despite being an avid and extremely nosy reader of other people's acknowledgements, I would like to break with tradition and begin with thanking those to whom I owe a personal, rather than academic or professional debt: my Mum and Dad. They haven't given me access to obscure archives or granted me permission to cite from manuscripts, but without their unstinting support, financially and emotionally, over the past several years you wouldn't be reading this today. To them, and my sister, Melanie, this book is dedicated.

Second, I would like to thank the three people to whom I feel I owe the most academically. Robin Harcourt Williams, librarian and archivist to the marquess of Salisbury at Hatfield House, let me do voluntary work in the archives before going to university. Little did either of us know that it would convert me into an early modernist but I enjoyed working with him and the papers so much that I could neither leave the archives when my year was up nor the Cecils as a subject of study. I have come a long way since then, and regrettably further away from the Cecils than I sometimes wish, but whatever I was studying, he (and his secretaries, especially Janet and Pauline, and Gem Goscomb) has been unfailingly helpful with access to the library, interested in my progress and a great friend. Thank you for all the great times I've had in the archives and on our jaunts out. John Guy, my former supervisor, was everything one could ask of a supervisor and a lot more: ever supportive, encouraging and enthusiastic, however busy he was. I owe a tremendous debt to him and I hope that he will think this book is a suitable, if small, first down-payment. Similarly, I would like to thank John Morrill, one of my undergraduate dissertation supervisors, for talking about me to John Guy in a pub one day (allegedly): it was my introduction to John Guy, St Andrews and the start of my academic career.

My other academic debts are legion. John Guy, John Morrill, Anthony Milton, Liz Evenden and Jessica Winston have all been kind enough to read through all, or parts, of the book. I am extremely grateful for their comments though, as usual, all errors and infelicities remain my own work. For reading or discussing work on which this book is based I would like to thank Keith Brown, David Crankshaw, Tom Freeman, Steve Gunn, Roger Mason, Brett Usher, Alex Walsham, Jenny Wormald and the members of the early modern seminars at the IHR (particularly Pauline Croft and Conrad Russell) and Oxford (particularly Steve Gunn and Jenny Wormald). For references and pointers, I would like to thank Stephen Alford, James Daybell, Michael Ferber, Tom Freeman and Ian Gadd. I would particularly like to thank Simon Adams who, during my Ph.D., was more helpful (and tolerant) than some dumb questions on my part have perhaps deserved. Not only did he share his knowledge of Leicester with me but he also pointed me towards BN Fonds français 15973 and very kindly lent me his microfilm when I was having difficulties getting hold of a copy. His support is greatly appreciated and valued. For general support and friendship, I would like to thank Stephen Alford, Alan Bryson, John Cramsie, Liz Evenden, Lisa Ford, Jamie Hampson, Simon Healey, Andrew Johnson, Iona McCleery, Matthew McCormack, Mark Taviner, Jessica Winston as well as Lindsey Adam and the staff at her shop ‘Bonkers’ in St Andrews, where I worked during my Ph.D. They have been variously wonderful office-mates, colleagues and friends who have offered advice, friendship and gingerbread men all of which were (and are) greatly valued. I hope I have listened to their counsel more graciously than Elizabeth sometimes did with Burghley and Walsingham. I would also like to thank my editors at Cambridge University Press: Bill Davies, and more recently, Michael Watson and Isabelle Dambricourt. I foolishly used to think that acknowledgements to editors were mere politeness, but, as Michael and Isabelle have done nothing but answer politely so many stupid questions and queries from me, especially in the final few weeks before submission, I am thankfully now much the wiser. Thank you both. Similarly, I would like to thank Mary Leighton, for her help with the index, and Jo North, a most helpful and patient copy-editor, who has saved me from some awful gaffes.

For their help during visits to archives and enquiries about collections, I would like to thank Robin Harcourt Williams at Hatfield House; David Park at the National Survey of Wall Paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art, who has been generous with his time and knowledge; Chris Smith and her colleagues at Northamptonshire Record Office; Mary Robertson at the Huntington Library; Theresa Helein and Richard Kuhta at the Folger Shakespeare Library; Kirsty Scorer at the National Monuments Record Centre (English Heritage); Patricia Moore at the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, as well as the staff in the Manuscripts and Rare Books rooms at the British Library and Cambridge University Library; the National Archives; Lambeth Palace Library; the Guildhall Library; Dr Williams' Library, London; Caernarfonshire Record Office and, last but by no means least, those of the university libraries where I have studied/worked: St Andrews, Swansea, Manchester and Durham. For permission to cite and quote from manuscripts I would like to thank the marquess of Salisbury; the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; the British Library; Caernarfonshire Record Office; the Corporation of London; Dr William's Library, London; the Fitzwilliam (Milton) Estates; the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC; the Huntington Library, San Marino, California; the Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library and the National Archives. Illustrations appear courtesy of the British Library (front cover: [‘To the reader, Beholde here (gentle reader)’], printed by Gyles Godet (1560), G.6456); English Heritage (‘Hezekiah opening the Temple’, Hill Hall, Essex) and Her Majesty the Queen (mural of Princess Elizabeth, Ashridge Manor, Hertfordshire). For financial support I would like to thank the School of Modern History, University of St Andrews; the Royal Historical Society; the Russell Trust; the Edinburgh Association of University Women; the departments of history at the Universities of Wales (Swansea), Manchester and Durham, and, particularly, the British Federation of Women Graduates who awarded me a Jane Finley Award in 1998–9.

Conventions and notes on spelling and foliation

In an attempt to minimise confusion when referring to individuals whose names/titles changed over the course of the first thirty years of Elizabeth's reign, I have referred to those who were raised to the peerage by their title throughout the main text. So, Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley, is referred to as Burghley even prior to his elevation to the peerage in February 1571; Robert Dudley is referred to as the earl of Leicester etc. In the interests of uniformity – and, no doubt, habit, seeing my thesis was on Francis, duke of Anjou – I have also referred to both Henry (later Henry III of France) and his younger brother, Francis, as the duke of Anjou, aware that this may cause some confusion. Henry was duke of Anjou until his election as king of Poland in 1573 and, on the death of his brother, Charles IX, his accession as king of France in 1574. His younger brother, Francis, initially duke of Alençon, was made duke of Anjou in 1576 as part of a deal for him to withdraw his support from the Huguenots. In order to distinguish clearly which duke I am referring to, I have cited their first name as well as their title. In the footnotes, however, I have retained chronologically correct names so that my references match those on the documents and in catalogues. Also, I have chosen to cite the year of publication in all second and subsequent citations of contemporary news pamphlets. A number of them do have similar titles, especially when they are shortened, and I hope that this may make it a little clearer as to which one is being referred; the reader may also find it useful to be reminded of their date of publication.

All quotations are in the original spelling; ‘u’, ‘v’, ‘i’ and ‘j’ have been transcribed as individual writers or printers used them and contractions have been expanded silently. Words crossed out in editing are shown using <brackets> and contemporary additions are in italics. Conjectured reconstructions, where the manuscripts has been damaged or where the words are not fully legible, are shown in [square brackets].

Manuscripts in both the National Archives and British Library have been refoliated a number of times, though not consistently: where some manuscripts have an abundance of folio numbers, other volumes have none at all. For SP12 and SP63 I have followed the bold printed numbers in the top right-hand corner. For other SP classes I have followed the small pencil numbers at the bottom centre or centre-right of the page. Citations of documents in unfoliated volumes (such as SP78/4 and SP83/13) have no folio reference except in two cases. First, where I have wished to specify the location of information in longer documents I have (mentally) foliated the documents on an individual basis, i.e. fo.1r, fo.1v etc. Second, where a copy-book of letters has been incorporated into a larger volume (e.g. SP83/9) I have used its foliation/pagination which is clearly marked in the top right (recto side) and left (verso) corners. In all cases, the item number of the document is also cited. For the Cotton manuscripts in the British Library I have followed the pencil numbers at the top and bottom right-hand of the page (recto). BN, Fonds français 15973 is, in Simon Adams's words, ‘eccentrically foliated’: there are two sets of folio numbers but readers are warned that the most consistent series (and the one that I have followed) is written on the verso side. References to other manuscripts should be fairly clear.<

printer iconPrinter friendly version AddThis