Category Archives: News

The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England

An exhibition review by Valerie Schutte

The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England is a powerhouse exhibition of Tudor artifacts currently touring the United States. I was able to see the exhibition twice in Cleveland at the Cleveland Museum of Art during its stay from 26 February to 14 May 2023. The exhibition was first showcased at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, from 3 October 2022 to 8 January 2023, and will make its third and final stop at the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, from 24 June to 24 September 2023. For those who cannot make it to the exhibition, you can search YouTube to find videos that were recorded by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, such at the exhibition’s virtual opening, as well as how the “Sea Dog” table on loan from The Devonshire Collection at Hardwick Hall is dismantled.

Photo taken by Valerie Schutte

The entire exhibition includes 123 items, though not every item is on display at all three museums and some items only feature in the beautiful accompanying catalogue and are not exhibited at all. Those items not displayed were agreed to be exhibited when the exhibition was originally slated to be opened in autumn 2020, but were since cut. In Cleveland, approximately 80 items were displayed. For example, the British Library 1557 English copy of Juan Luis Vives’s Instruction of a Christen Woman is only exhibited in New York and San Francisco, while item six, the funeral pall of Henry VII, is not exhibited anywhere. The Society of Antiquaries’s copy of Hans Eworth’s 1554 painting of Queen Mary I was exhibited in New York only, but the Cleveland Museum of Art was able to privately loan the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s copy of Antonis Mor’s 1554 painting of Mary in its place, which therefore does not feature in the exhibition catalogue.

At the exhibition in Cleveland, seven rooms were beautifully arranged with tapestries, various suits of armor, paintings and drawings, portrait medals, jewels, cups and bowls, stained glass windows, and printed books and manuscripts. The splendor that the Tudor monarchs envisioned for themselves, as well as that which was commemorated by its most loyal courtiers, is evident in every room. Some of my personal favorite items on display were the two golden portrait medals of Queen Mary I on loan from the British Museum, one containing an allegory of peace that was created by Jacopo da Trezzo in 1554 and the other created by Jacques Jonghelink in 1555 that features a cameo of Philip on the obverse. These were displayed alongside a golden portrait medal of Elizabeth and a silver portrait medal of William Herbert. In the same room was Hans Holbein’s portrait of Jane Seymour, positioned next to Holbein’s drawings of both Jane and Anne Boleyn, as well as a painting of Edward VI by Guillim Scrots, the Heneage jewel on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and miniatures by Lucas Horenbout and Nicholas Hilliard.

Photo taken by Valerie Schutte

The breadth of items collected from museums and private collections across Europe and the United States certainly makes this seem like an exhibition focused on the Tudors, not just one specific artist, such as Hans Holbein, of this proportion will not occur again in America anytime soon. From the bronze statuaries meant for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s funeral monument on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum and Sint-Baafskathedraal to the Elizabethan New Year’s gift roll lent by the Folger Shakespeare Library, this exhibition features a collection of objects and artifacts to be admired by all Tudor enthusiasts.


Prince Philip: The Centenary

By Sarah Betts with Saira Baker

Today marks 100 years since the birth of Prince Philip on the 10th June 1921 on the island of Corfu as the fifth child, but only son of Prince Andrew (a younger son of King George I of Greece) and his wife Alice of Battenberg (a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria). Philip was thrust on to the global stage in 1947 when he married Princess Elizabeth, who later became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. Their marriage lasted over 70 years until he died on the 9th April 2021, just a couple of months short of his hundredth birthday, the longest serving consort in the history of the British Royal Family.

Philip and his life have been written about for decades, but rarely (and only relatively recently) in an academic setting. However, both the changing world around, and the personal circumstances of, Philip’s long life provide a vast array of avenues of academic enquiry to explore that match well with many of the directions being seriously pursued within the now well-established, and burgeoning, field of Royal studies. So we have seen, even before his death, that, as the study of modern and contemporary monarchies begins to garner more scholarly weight, essays focused, or part-focused on discussing him have begun to appear in collections such as Charles Beem and Miles Taylor’s, The Man Behind the Queen, (2014), Matthew Glencross, Judith Rowbotham and Michael D. Kandiah’s The Windsor Dynasty: 1910 to the Present, (2016), and The Routledge History of Monarchy (2019), whilst he also appears as an interesting case study in Edward Owens’s monograph, The Family Firm. Monarchy Mass Media and the British Public, (2019).

Most obviously, Philip fits into the study of consorts and consortship which has been for many years a central facet of Royal Studies, and he is set to feature again in this context in the fourth volume of the major forthcoming collection edited by Aidan Norrie, Carolyn Harris, Joanna Laynesmith, Danna Messer, and Elena Woodacre, English Consorts: Power, Influence, Dynasty. However, as someone born into one of Europe’s many exiled/abolished monarchies who married into its most prominent surviving one, a member of an elite European-wide genetic network of influential and royal families who also saw action in the British Navy as plain Lt. Mountbatten, a consort of multiple realms across the world in a global age, an enthusiastic and sometimes visionary patron of innovation in science, technology, arts, sports, youth leadership and the environment, as a man honoured with a grand Royal funeral in a time of restrictions and hardships of a global pandemic, Philip’s life, lifetime, heritage and legacy offers opportunities for comparison and contextualisation across a variety of current and emerging interdisciplinary approaches to Royal Studies.

Loyalty to the Monarchy in Late Medieval and Early Modern Britain, c.1400-1688

Loyalty to the Monarchy in Late Medieval and Early Modern Britain, c.1400-1688 was edited by Matthew Ward and Matthew Hefferan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Matthew Ward graciously summarized the book for interested readers. Thank you, Matthew! This sounds like a fantastic collection!

Purchase Here

The book explores the place of loyalty in the relationship between the monarchy and their subjects in late medieval and early modern Britain. It focuses on a period in which political and religious upheaval tested the bonds of loyalty between ruler and ruled. The era also witnessed changes in how loyalty was developed and expressed. The first section focuses on royal propaganda and expressions of loyalty from the gentry and nobility under the Yorkist and early Tudor monarchs, as well as the fifteenth-century Scottish monarchy. The chapters illustrate late-medieval conceptions of loyalty, exploring how they manifested themselves and how they persisted and developed into early modernity. Loyalty to the later Tudors and early Stuarts is scrutinised in the second section, gauging the growing level of dissent in the build-up to the British Civil Wars of the seventeenth century. The final section dissects the role that the concept of loyalty played during and after the Civil Wars, looking at how divergent groups navigated this turbulent period and examining the ways in which loyalty could be used as a means of surviving the upheaval.

Four chapters deal with the issue of propaganda and royal attempts to foster loyalty among their subjects. The first of these, by Emma Levitt, considers the importance of tournaments in allowing the first Yorkist king, Edward IV, to cultivate friendship and personal loyalty among the English nobility following his usurpation of the crown. Wesley Corrêa’s chapter focuses on royal propaganda under the Yorkist and early Tudor monarchies and suggests that propaganda was not, at this time, a one-way flow of information, but rather a dialogue in which the crown used the channels of information available to it to promote itself and court the people for approval, legitimacy, taxation and loyalty. Likewise, Michael A. Heimos uses two important legal cases from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries to examine what the common law concept of ‘allegiance’ reveals about the way in which contemporaries understood and discussed the loyalty that each subject owed to the monarchy. Finally, Janet Dickinson examines how Elizabeth I was able to use the concept of courtly love to foster loyalty among her nobles, some of whom had difficulty reconciling their Catholic faith with their allegiance to Protestant England.

On the other side of the coin, many of the chapters in this volume are concerned with the way in which the subjects of British monarchs expressed their loyalty. Callum Watson offers a valuable re-reading of Blind Harry’s fifteenth-century poem The Wallace to argue that, rather than being a subversive text written in support of those dissatisfied with King James III of Scotland’s rule, the poem was intended to encourage those with grievances against the king to cling to those values for which the king was supposed to stand, even when the king failed to embody those values himself. Other chapters explore how loyalty to the monarchy was demonstrated for less idealistic reasons, and more in the self-interest of the person or community professing loyalty. Simon Lambe uses the Paulet family of Somerset as a case study to demonstrate how expressions of loyalty to the monarchy could be used by a gentry family in the hope of receiving royal patronage in the form of land and office, especially as religious reforms gained pace in the 1530s. Similarly, Valerie Schutte uses the previously untapped evidence of book dedications during Henry VIII’s reign to show how the sixteenth-century nobility used dedications to profess loyalty to the king in the hope of receiving royal favour and influence as they navigated a new religious and political landscape. John Pagan, meanwhile, explores how the royal colony of Virginia sought to use the reciprocal relationship of loyalty and protection with the king of England to avoid a parliamentary tax that the colonists found unduly burdensome, but were ultimately unsuccessful in the face of the British monarchy’s unwillingness to use grievance petitions as vehicles for questioning imperial policies formulated by the king and parliament. Finally, James Harris investigates how ‘repeated testimonies of duty and affection’ were used in Cornwall and southwest Wales to reaffirm loyalty to the crown following the restoration of the monarchy in the second half of the seventeenth century.

A number of chapters in this volume are, by contrast, interested in disloyalty, dissent and subversion. Jamie Gianoutsos examines how religious persecution in the seventeenth century tested the boundaries of loyalty to the English monarchy. Focusing on the persecution of three key puritan protestors, John Bastwick, Henry Burton and William Prynne, Gianoutsos argues that these men adopted a mixture of religious polemic, historical exempla and gendered language to successfully justify disobedience to the English Church. Religious division was not the only cause of dissent in the seventeenth century. The reign of Charles I, and the Civil Wars which it encompassed, was also divisive. This is reflected in the chapter by Richard Bullock, which assesses how sheriffs in the East Midlands found their loyalties divided between the king and their local community when Charles I sought alternative sources of revenue to parliamentary subsidies and the enhanced use of prerogative rights. Edward Legon, meanwhile, examines how disloyalty to the crown continued even after the Restoration in 1660, often with dangerous consequences for those involved. Nevertheless, despite the opportunities for dissent that the Civil Wars presented, others remained loyal to the British monarchy. This included, as Andrew Lind’s chapter demonstrates, a number of Scottish Royalists who, despite the dangers that support of the crown presented for them, remained steadfast in their deep-rooted belief that good subjects owed loyalty to the king.

CCCU Prizes 2018

This is an amazing Kings&Queens summer – great conferences, books, discussions, and now some prizes for outstanding scholarship in the field of Royal Studies!
At the Kings&Queens conference, we celebrated with Joanna Laynesmith who won the CCCU Book Prize for her study on Cecily Duchess of York! Go on, buy it, read it, and tell us what you think of it – and to make it easier – there is a discount… 35% discount off “Cecily Duchess of York” at on individual sales with the code GLR KR6 (that makes it £55.25, plus postage if overseas).
Cecily Duchess of York
We would also like to honor the runner up book from Penny NAsh on the Empress Adelheid and Countess Matilda ( for its amazing scholarship on these two medieval women!
And, if that’s not enough – also our early career and doctoral students in the field produce exceptional work: The 2018 RSJ-CCCU Prize for the best unpublished article by an ECR goes to Dr Alison Creber (KCL) for her article, “The Princely Woman and the Emperor: Imagery of Female Rule in Benzo of Alba’s Ad Heinricum IV”. – Keep a look out for this article in our December issue!
We honored also already published work: the 2018 RSJ-CCCU Prize for the best published article by a PGR goes to Jessica O’Leary, who is undertaking her doctoral research at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Her article, “Politics, Pedagogy, and Praise: Three Literary Texts Dedicated to Eleonora d’Aragona, Duchess of Ferrara”, was published in 2016 in the distinguished scholarly journal, I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, volume 19, number 2 (2016):

Modern Monarchies Around the World

The current special issue of the Royal Studies Journal is about royal tours in the modern era. While many of us who study monarchies specialize in ancient, medieval, or early modern history, there are a number of monarchies alive and well in today’s world. The maps below highlight the world’s current monarchies.

current world monarchies

Current Monarchies simplified map

The first map shows the 16 countries of the British Commonwealth that recognize the monarch as head of state (the larger Commonwealth consists of over 50 countries) and the 29 other countries with monarchs. The second map is a simplified version of the first: it provides country names but many smaller principalities were left off the map.

The 16 Commonwealth Countries with a monarch are: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Lucia.

Current Monarchies in the Americas

The 10 monarchies in North America are all part of the Commonwealth.

monarchies in Oceania

A close-up of the monarchies in Oceania. All but the Kingdom of Tonga (green) are part of the Commonwealth.


current monarchies africa

Current monarchies in Africa are Lesotho, Morocco, and Swaziland.

current monarchies asia

The current monarchies in Asia are Bahrain, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.

current monarchies europe

The current monarchies in Europe are Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.

The only continents without any monarchies are Antarctica and South America. Asia and Europe are tied for the most monarchies, with 13 each.

*All maps were made using, which is an extremely fun resource!

What is Royal Studies?

The Royal Studies Network and the Royal Studies Journal both grew out of the initial Kings & Queens conference in April 2012. The surge of interest and proposals that the call for papers from the original Kings & Queens conference produced, convinced us that there was a real gap in the field – that there was a group of scholars who were working on royal themes but had no academic forum to share their research.

Three years later, that forum is well established and the concept of a discrete field of ‘royal studies’ has begun to be acknowledged. However, as a field which is only begun to be clearly established, there is a lack of clarity, both within and beyond the field itself, as to what exactly ‘royal studies’ entails.

What we aim to do here is to open a discussion about how we define, or want to define, what royal studies is. I have always argued that it should be as inclusive as possible in terms of discipline, temporal and geographic parameters. We want to hear from you – what are your ideas and opinions about how we should be defining this new and exciting field of study and what key considerations should be taken on board as we establish and extend the field?

Your thoughts will form part of an editorial piece, to be published in issue 2 of the Royal Studies Journal, in June 2015. Please comment on the blog, on the RSN Facebook group, or send an email with your thoughts to All responses must be received by 25 April 2015, in order to be incorporated into the editorial, however, we will keep the comment sections of the blog open for further discussion after this date.

Ellie Woodacre with Cathleen Sarti

A brief update from the Editor-August 2014

It’s an exciting time for the new Royal Studies Journal! We are officially launched and ‘open for business’ with our call for submissions now open. Submissions of articles for the first issue are beginning to arrive and a healthy crop of book reviews are in progress.

The aim of our journal is to provide a forum for academic research in the field of royal studies-in any period, discipline or geographical context. We want to publish articles which demonstrate the strength and diversity of the field and keep readers up-to-date on the newest works emerging in the discipline. We also want to be as inclusive and international as possible, publishing fully open-access and not only in English but in multiple languages.

There are many ways that you can get involved with the new journal-the most obvious being as a reader, following the content of the issues on our website, blog and social media outlets. You can also sign up to become a reviewer of submissions and/or book reviews-to do this visit the website and register as a new ‘user’. Send us your suggestions of new works in the field that you’d like to see reviewed in the RSJ-remember we do review works in other languages including French, Spanish, Portuguese and German (with potential for other languages as well). Finally you can submit your own research to the journal-go to our ‘Submit’ page on the site for full instructions, a style guide and a link to upload your work. If you’d like to be considered for the first issue, submit your piece by the end of August. Thereafter, submissions will be continually open and we will be considering articles which arrive for subsequent issues of the journal. If you have any questions about submissions, suggestions for reviews or queries about the journal generally, email us at anytime.

We will keep you posted on the progress of the first issue-due out in late December 2014. Watch this space and follow us on twitter and Facebook for the latest updates!

Are you interested in publishing in our journal?

So, you are a researcher in the field of Royal Studies and you just waited for a journal specialising in this field?
Wait no more – the Royal Studies Journal has launched last Friday, and is of now accepting submissions.

The first issue is due end of 2014, if you want to be considered for this issue hurry up and send us your article (8-10,000 words all inclusive) by end of August. See more on submission here.

And now for the formal introduction of the Journal:

The Royal Studies Journal is a new academic publication which was recently launched at the Kings & Queens 3 conference.

This peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary and international journal for the field of Royal Studies will be published twice a year with the initial issue expected at the end of 2014. Articles can be submitted in French, Spanish, Portuguese and German although English is preferred. Optimal length should be between c. 8-10,000 words including notes and bibliography. A full style guide is available on our website and can be downloaded right here: authorsguidelines.
Book reviews will also be featured.

Please visit to find out more about the journal and how to submit articles to the RSJ. If you wish to contact us with any queries about the journal, suggestions of upcoming/recent works in the field to review or the submissions process please email us at