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Towards Consortship: Performing Ritual, Intercession, and Networking in Tudor and Early Stuart England

Courtney Herber, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Historically, the study of consorts has largely focused on how women performed the role – generally analyzing how a particular queen acted as a royal wife, mother, and manager of her household. While this makes sense as most of the consorts in English history were women, this is not the whole picture of the varied political roles of a consort. Looking at all of the foreign-born consorts in the Tudor and early Stuart years, one can clearly see that while the duties of a wife were important for the majority of individuals who took on the mantle of consort, that description does not fit all who sat at the side of the sovereign. That is because the majority of foreign-born individuals who took on the role of consort in those years, Katherine of Aragon, Anna of Denmark, and Henriette Marie de Bourbon, were all indeed royal wives, in addition to being royal consorts. Philip of Spain, though, was a consort but was certainly not a royal wife. In this dissertation, I argue that a consort’s duties, while encompassing their role as a royal wife or husband, were largely political in nature and were facets of peaceweaving. Children were never a guarantee, but a foreign-born consort brought the possibilities of peace and prosperity to England through their marriage, their capacity for intercession, the crafting and utilization of domestic networks of obligation, and the maintenance of their natal and friendship networks abroad.

Subject Area

European history|Medieval history|History

Recommended Citation

Herber, Courtney, "Towards Consortship: Performing Ritual, Intercession, and Networking in Tudor and Early Stuart England" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI28257921.