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Title: Dynastic politics : five women of the Howard family during the reign of Henry VIII, 1509-1547
Author: Clark, Nicola
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis argues for the centrality of the Howard women to their family's political fortunes by exploring key dynastic episodes, themes, and events of Henry VIII's reign from a new female perspective. The Howards were England's premier aristocratic dynasty during this period. However, existing narratives have prioritised the careers of the Howard men, notably the two Dukes of Norfolk and the Earl of Surrey. Here, the family's women are foregrounded. They are not considered in isolation, but discussed alongside their male relations in order to create a fuller, more complex dynastic picture than currently exists. Themes of rebellion, dynastic identity, matriarchy, patronage, treason and religion are woven through events of familial and national importance, allowing new conclusions to be drawn regarding the Howard women and the Howard narrative itself; the way that aristocratic dynasties operated; the activities of women within the political sphere; and the relationship between this family and the Henrician state. This thesis draws its conclusions from new archival research into the activities of five Howard women: Agnes Tylney (c. 1477-1545) and Elizabeth Stafford (c. 1497-1558), the wives of the 2nd and 3rd Dukes of Norfolk respectively; Agnes' daughters Anne, Countess of Oxford (c. 1498-1558) and Katherine, Countess of Bridgwater (d. 1554); and Elizabeth's daughter Mary, Duchess of Richmond (c. 1519-1557). These five women cover three generations and two concurrent branches of the Howard family across the entirety of Henry's reign. The thesis differs from traditional gender studies by focusing on women all from one family rather than those of particular court status or geographical location, as this facilitates exploration of the relationship between kinship networks and politics. Thus it also builds on recent scholarship emphasising the role of the family in early modern politics, and reveals the Howard women as important actors on a public, political stage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: poltiics ; history ; women's history ; Howard Family ; Howards ; Tudor history ; Henry VIII ; matriarchy