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Title: Becoming a queen in early modern Europe
Author: Kosior, Katarzyna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 1744
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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My thesis approaches sixteenth-century European queenship through an analysis of the ceremonies and rituals accompanying the marriages of Polish and French queens consort: betrothal, wedding, coronation and childbirth. The thesis explores the importance of these events for queens as both a personal and public experience, and questions the existence of distinctly Western and Eastern styles of queenship. A comparative study of ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ ceremony in the sixteenth century has never been attempted before and sixteenth-century Polish queens usually do not appear in any collective works about queenship, even those which claim to have a pan-European focus. The thesis combats the stereotype of the cultural ‘otherness’ and political isolation of sixteenth-century Poland in relation to the ‘West’ through a comparison with France, considered a quintessentially ‘Western’ early modern state. Comparing the ceremonies of France, an absolute monarchy, and Poland, a ‘noble democracy’, exposes the complex impact of the system of government on royal ceremony. The comparison is especially viable since French and Polish queens consort were related to each other and married their husbands for political gain. The role of early modern queens was steeped in mystique and mythologised through ceremonies that transformed them into the virgin mothers of the coronation or the sexual objects of wedding poetry and pageant. But these queens were inherently political, spinning the thread that connected the realms of Europe. Armed with diplomatic protocol, titles, lands and objects, they brought alliances, their native culture and dynastic connections to European monarchs. The thesis suggests that the identities of these queens were often multiple and as they became daughters, wives, and often widows of European monarchs, they carried the imprint of their ancestors and relatives. The similarities between ceremonies were dictated by shared liturgy and the willingness of monarchs to follow European fashions and remain part of the shared royal culture. This by no means excluded local flavours from entering royal ceremony. Subtly distinctive customs, such as a traditional first meeting place, specific colour scheme, or preparation of a royal entry, were shaped by the practicalities of staging the royal ceremonies and addressed matters of legitimacy particular to every European realm.
Supervisor: Hayward, Maria ; Hunt, Alice Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available