This research project is a historical analysis of the political and personal agency of English noblewomen during the Tudor Dynasty. This paper argues that Tudor noblewomen used traditional female roles, imagery, and customs to gain political power and personal agency. This presentation concentrates on the power tactics of three extraordinary Tudor women, Queen Elizabeth I, Lady Elizabeth Shrewsbery (also known as Bess of Hardwick), and writer Lady Mary Sidney Herbert. This research focuses on court culture during the reign of Elizabeth Tudor and her father Henry VIII. It explains how Tudor noblewomen used gift giving rituals and the manipulation of marriage alliances to gain importance in the royal court. The research has been conducted by exploring many secondary and primary documents from and after the Tudor era. The letters of Queen Elizabeth’s godson John Harrington served as an insight into the inner workings of Queen Elizabeth’s court while details from the home of court member Elizabeth Shrewesbury display Elizabeth’s influence on the noblewomen of England. Dr. Johanna Luthman’s advise and book Love, Lust, and License in Early Modern England served as a tremendous help to this continued research. It is the goal of this research to continue to closely study the lives of powerful Tudor noblewomen to understand ways in which they gained agency in a time when women were often overshadowed by brilliant men of the time such as Henry VIII and William Shakespeare.
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History, Anthropology, & Philosophy
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22 March 2019
- Date submitted
19 July 2022
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