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By Richard McCoy

Conventional notions of sacred kingship grew to become either extra grandiose and extra troublesome in the course of England's turbulent 16th and 17th centuries. The reformation introduced by way of Henry VIII and his claims for royal supremacy and divine correct rule resulted in the suppression of the Mass, because the host and crucifix have been overshadowed via royal iconography and pageantry. those adjustments started a non secular controversy in England that will bring about civil conflict, regicide, recovery, and finally revolution. Richard McCoy indicates that, amid those occasionally cataclysmic adjustments of kingdom, writers like John Skelton, Shakespeare, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell grappled with the assumption of kingship and its symbolic and noticeable strength. Their creative representations of the crown demonstrate the eagerness and ambivalence with which the English seen their royal leaders. whereas those writers differed at the basic questions of the day -- Skelton was once a staunch defender of the English monarchy and standard faith, Milton was once a thorough opponent of either, and Shakespeare and Marvell have been extra equivocal -- they shared an abiding fascination with the royal presence or, occasionally extra tellingly, the royal absence. starting from regicides actual and imagined -- with the very genuine specter of the slain King Charles I haunting the rustic like a revenant of the king's ghost in Shakespeare's Hamlet -- from the royal sepulcher at Westminster Abbey to Peter Paul Reubens's Apotheosis of King James at Whitehall, and from the Elizabethan compromise to the wonderful Revolution, McCoy plumbs the depths of English attitudes towards the king, the country, and the very proposal of holiness. He unearths how older notions of sacred kingship accelerated throughout the political and non secular crises that reworked the English state, and is helping us comprehend why the conflicting feelings engendered by way of this enlargement have confirmed so continual.

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Extra resources for Alterations of State: sacred kingship in the English Reformation

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Nevertheless, Protestant attacks on papist fantasies of a “local presence” combined with recurrent alterations of state shook things hard, and the tremors led to civil war and revolution.  McCoy_Ch2 4/10/02 3:45 PM Page 23   Sacred Space John Skelton and Westminster’s Royal Sepulcher This worke devysed is For suche as do amys, . . Wyth cry unreverent, Before the sacrament, Wythin the holy church bowndis, That of our fayth the grownd is. )   Henry VII Chapel Copyright: Dean and Chapter of Westminster McCoy_Ch2 4/10/02 3:45 PM Page 24                         ’               I n building Westminster Chapel, Henry VII, the founder of the Tudor regime, created its most enduring and magnificent dynastic monument.

60 One of the most renowned victims of the heresy hunts of his last years was Anne Askew. 62 In Askew’s own account of her “examinations,” she seeks “to exonerate Henry VIII of wrongdoing, . . 64 John Bale couples Askew’s record of her interrogation with his own heated commentary in the versions he published shortly after Henry’s death. He too refrains from blaming the king, but he pours scorn on William Paget’s comparison of “Christes presence in the sacrament, to the kynges presence. . ”65 More ardent reformers like Bale had no patience for equations of the real presence with the royal presence and dismissed them with contempt.

Indeed, “there is no neutrality, nor mediation of peace, nor exhortation to agreement, that will serve between these two contrary doctrines, but either the pope’s errors must give place to God’s word, or else the verity of God must give place unto them” (:–). Foxe gives Henry’s reforming intentions the benefit of the doubt despite evidence to the contrary, claiming that “if he had continued a few months longer, (all those obits and masses, which appear in his will made before he went to Boulogne, notwithstanding), most certain it is, and to be signified to all posterity, that his full purpose was to have repurged the estate of the church .

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