By Richard McCoy
Conventional notions of sacred kingship turned either extra grandiose and extra difficult in the course of England's turbulent 16th and 17th centuries. The reformation introduced by means 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 spiritual controversy in England that might bring about civil warfare, regicide, recovery, and finally revolution. Richard McCoy exhibits that, amid those occasionally cataclysmic adjustments of country, 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 show the fervour and ambivalence with which the English considered 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 conventional faith, Milton was once an intensive 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 actual 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 fantastic Revolution, McCoy plumbs the depths of English attitudes towards the king, the country, and the very notion of holiness. He finds how older notions of sacred kingship multiplied throughout the political and non secular crises that reworked the English kingdom, and is helping us comprehend why the conflicting feelings engendered by way of this growth have confirmed so continual.
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Additional resources for Alterations of State
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.
69 Royal supremacy drew much of its strength from older notions of sacred kingship as well as a persistent desire to locate the sacred somewhere. The need to sanctify places, things, institutions, and rulers proved hard to shake even during the earthquakes caused by the Reformation. 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, .
The dead live on in the memory of the living . . ”19 In the long run, few proved more vulnerable to the actions of his heirs and executors than Henry VII. Within twenty years, his son McCoy_Ch2 4/10/02 3:46 PM Page 34 ’ broke with Rome and launched a Reformation that would destroy the monastic intercessory system he had so generously endowed at Westminster. Henry VI was never canonized, and his remains stayed at Windsor.