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Public display and the construction of monarchy in Yorkist England, 1461-85

Donohue, Carolyn Anne (2013) Public display and the construction of monarchy in Yorkist England, 1461-85. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The years 1461-85 were a particularly volatile period for the English crown, damaged by civil war and repeated usurpation. Edward IV's accession in 1461 was the culmination of a decade of intense debate on governance that had descended into violent conflict. In order to sustain his position after seizing the throne, it was essential to establish military and administrative dominance within the realm, but also to assert his legitimacy and worthiness to rule, and urgently to secure the allegiance of his subjects. This dissertation examines the construction and evolution of Yorkist monarchy from this foundation in bloodshed and discord. The focus is on the ways in which royal display served to bond people to the regime and how texts and images asserted a distinct Yorkist royal identity. The investigation encompasses a wide range of public events centred on the display of majesty, from rituals such as coronations, funerals and marriages to civic pageantry, tournaments, the reception of distinguished visitors, and the king's performance in parliament, on the battlefield and as promoted and commemorated in Yorkist texts. This broad scope facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the significance of royal spectacle and the ideas and imagery of Yorkist monarchy that were of paramount importance throughout the period. The approach is thematic, analysing the places where Yorkist monarchy was displayed, the ways in which an elite was cultivated in circles of intimacy around the king, and the messages communicated through the written word and visual symbolism. Three dominant themes emerge throughout: the significance of the regime's foundation in civil war, fuelling the promotion of Edward IV as a warrior monarch and heightening the rhetoric of loyalty; the competition with Lancastrian kingship and the difficulties in dealing with a living, rival monarch in Henry VI through the 1460s, driving Edward IV's attitudes towards both Lancastrian foundations and Henry VI himself; and the impetus to fuse royal sites and symbolism with those of the house of York in order to elevate status and assert legitimacy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: monarchy, Yorkist, royal display, ceremony, Edward IV, Richard III, England
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.595103
Depositing User: Miss Carolyn Anne Donohue
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 16:04
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5215

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