Category Archives: Court

Court Household Monarchy

Hever Castle


A few snaps of Hever Castle in Kent, once home to Anne Boleyn and her family. I took my camera, but forgot a memory card, so had to rely on my low-on-battery-life iPhone. Photography was not permitted inside the house, so I can’t account for several grainy (flash-free) indoor shots which showed up on my camera roll at home. The Boleyns bought the castle, which dates to 1270, and built a lovely Tudor house within its walls. It was later given to Anne of Cleves as part of her divorce settlement from Henry VIII.







Anne Boleyn’s bedroom


Anne Boleyn’s bedroom


Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours


Anne Boleyn’s bedroom window







The Six Wives of Henry VIII Placemat & Coaster set in the Gift Shoppe


Tudor Christmas Baubles in the Gift Shoppe


Court London Medicine Monarchy Playwrights Shakespeare Stage Theatre

‘The trumpets sound: stand close, the queen is coming’

From the First Folio (1623)

Some Shakespeare scholars have dismissed suggestions that Shakespeare and Fletcher’s All Is True or Henry VIII (1) alludes in part to the royal wedding of James I’s daughter Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine in February 1613. However, during the course of my research I have noted some interesting parallels between the stage spectacle of the play, and printed accounts of the wedding, and what follows are a few of my thoughts.

At the close of All Is True, Henry announces the event of his new daughter Elizabeth’s christening as a day of holiday for all. Similarly, on 14th February 1613, the date of James I’s daughter Elizabeth’s wedding, England celebrated with a national holiday. During the Coronation of Anne Bullen in Act Four of All is True, two Gentlemen, meeting on the street, discuss the event:

First Gent: You come to take your stand here, and behold
The Lady Ann pass from her coronation?

Second Gent: ‘Tis all my business. At our last encounter
The Duke of Buckingham came from his trial.

First Gent: ‘Tis very true. But that time offer’d sorrow,
This, general joy.

Second Gent: ‘Tis well: The citizens
I am sure have shown at full their royal minds.

It is tempting to read in this exchange an echo of the celebrations on the streets of London on Valentine’s Day 1613. Prince Henry’s funeral in December 1612 had been a sombre and depressing event. Two thousand mourners followed his coffin from St James to Westminster; an event which caused ‘many tears and sighs’ (2). Officials recorded they had never beheld ‘so much sorrow’ (3). Yet by January, Sir Thomas Lake reported ‘The black is wearing out, and the marriage pomps preparing’ (4). In February, the very same crowds which had mourned Henry’s death were cheering for the royal wedding. The ceremony took place at the Royal Chapel, Whitehall, on a Sunday. However the celebrations began on Thursday 11th with a spectacular firework display on the river Thames, and continued into the weekend with mock sea battles, masques, and all manner of ‘triumphant sportes’ (5). The weekend culminated in the wedding itself:

The Court being placed full of people of many Estates, sortes, and Nations, first came the Bride-groom from the newe built Banquetting-house, attired in a white Satten sute, richly beset with Pearle and Golde, attended on by a number of young gallant Courtiers, both English, Scottish, and Dutch, all in rich manner, every one striving to exceede in sumptuous habilliaments, fitte for the attendants of so princely a Bride-groome. After came the Lady Elizabeth, in her Virgin-robes, clothed in a gowne of white Satten richly embroidered, led betweene her royall brother Prince Charles, and the Earle of Northampton. Upon her head a crowne of refined golde, made imperiall by the Pearles and Dyamonds thereupon placed, which were so thicke beset that they stood like shining pinnacles. Upon her amber coloured haire, hanging plaited down over her shoulders to her Waste, betweene every plaight Gold spangles, Pearles, Riche stones, and Diamonds, and many Diamonds of inestimable value embroidered upon her sleeves, which dazzled and amazed the eyes of the beholders… After them came another traine of gallant young Courtiers in sutes embroidered and Pearled… then the king of Heralds bearing upon his shoulder a Mace of Golde… After them four Seargiants of the Mace, bearing upon their shoulders foure riche Enamelled Maces.Then followed the right Honourable the Earle of Aundell carrying the kings Sword. And then in great Royaltie the Kings Majestie himself… Upon her [Elizabeth]attended a number of married Ladies, the Countesses and wives of Earles and Barrons, apparelled in most noble manner which added glory into this triumphant time and Marriage (6).

A comparison with the stage directions in Act Four of All Is True reveals some similarities with the above description:


1. A lively flourish of Trumpets.
2. Then, two Judges.
3. LORD CHANCELLOR, with the purse and mace before him.
4. Choristers, singing. Music
5. MAYOR OF LONDON, bearing the mace. Then GARTER, in his coat of arms, and on his head a gilt copper crown.
6. MARQUESS DORSET, bearing a sceptre of gold, on his head a demi-coronal of gold. With him, the EARL OF SURREY, bearing the rod of silver with the dove, crowned with an earl’s coronet. Collars of Esses.
7. DUKE OF SUFFOLK, in his robe of estate, his coronet on his head, bearing a long white wand, as high-steward. With him, the DUKE OF NORFOLK, with the rod of marshalship, a coronet on his head. Collars of Esses.
8. A canopy borne by four of the Cinque-ports; under it, the QUEEN in her robe; in her hair, richly adorned with pearl, crowned. On each side her, the BISHOPS OF LONDON and WINCHESTER.
9. The old DUCHESS OF NORFOLK, in a coronal of gold, wrought with flowers, bearing the queen’s train.
10. Certain Ladies or Countesses, with plain circlets of gold without flowers.

Exeunt, first passing over the stage in order and state, and then, a great flourish of trumpets (4.1)

In one of the printed descriptions of the royal wedding, the bridesmaids attending the Princess are described as a ‘skye of Celestiall starres’ (7). The Second Gentleman, commenting on Anne Bullen’s procession in All Is True, refers to the countesses carrying the train as ‘stars indeed’(4.1.53). The Third Gentleman, commenting on the vast crowd watching the Coronation, evokes the spectators cheering Elizabeth, her new husband, and the court, as it processed from Whitehall to the Banqueting house: ‘when the people / Had the full view of, such a noise arose / As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest, / As loud and to as many tunes; hats, cloaks – / Doublets, I think – flew up’ (4.1.70-74).

Similarly, the printed account of the royal wedding describes silver trumpets welcoming the couple into the Banqueting House with such melodious sounds it caused ‘thousands to say at that instant time, God give them joy, God give them joy’ (8). The Third Gentleman in All is True, remarks on the crowds: ‘Such joy / I never saw before’ (4.1.75-6). Likewise, Antony Nixon describes the mood in England on 14th February as one of joy: ‘The day of ioy, the day of iollitie, / That young and old, and all doe celebrate,’ in honour of the nuptials, ‘behold, / How young and old, and high and low reioyce. / England hath put a face of gladnesse on; / And Court and Countrie caroll both their prayse’ (9).

Stage directions in any early modern play present problematic issues. We cannot assume they were always written by the playwright, and thus it is possible that the stage directions in All Is True were penned by a scribe. However, given the specific order of the Coronation procession, the stage directions here do suggest a deliberate attempt to transpose the spectacle of the royal wedding onto the stage at the Globe. So if we accept the possibility for a moment that these stage directions are original and inserted by the playwrights themselves, some interesting questions begin to emerge. Did Shakespeare and Fletcher attended the royal wedding in February 1613, as passive spectators, or even active participants? Given the role of the King’s Men at this time, it is possible they were indeed invited to attend. Perhaps they were absent from London and simply read subsequent printed accounts of the wedding. Wherever they were on 14th February 1613, what is clear is that both playwrights appear to have had specific aspects of the royal wedding in mind when they composed All Is True in the spring of 1613.

This extract is taken from my original research paper on All Is True, which was submitted to the University of Sussex in 2011.

1) Originally entitled All Is True, its name was changed to Henry VIII in the First Folio, ‘to bring its title in line with those of all the other English history plays, which are named after the kings whose reign they dramatize.’ See Wells, Stanley, Shakespeare & Co (Penguin, 2007), 212
2) Green, Mary Anne Everett (ed), Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I 1611-18 (Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, & Roberts, London, 1858), 162
3) Ibid
4) Ibid, 166
5) Anon, The mariage of Prince Fredericke, and the Kings daughter, the Lady Elizabeth, vpon Shrouesunday last VVith the shovves on land and water, before, and after the wedding, as also the maskes and reuells in his Highnes court, with the running at the ring, by the Kings Maiestie, the Palsegraue, Prince Charles, and diuers others of the nobilitie (London, 1613)
6) Ibid, Bv – B2r
7) Ibid, B2v
8) Ibid, B2r
9) Nixon, Antony, Great Brittaines generall ioyes. Londons glorious triumphes Dedicated to the immortall memorie of the ioyfull mariage of the two famous and illustrious princes, Fredericke and Elizabeth. Celebrated the 14. of Februarie, being S. Valentines day. With the instalment of the sayd potent Prince Fredericke at Windsore, the 7. of Februarie aforesaid (London, 1613), B4r


Court Monarchy Woodcut

Woodcut: Charles I

Lovely woodcut of Charles I returning home from Spain to the great joy of his father, James I, and the general population. I love the little details, like the hats being thrown in the air, the pointy spurs, and the man fetching celebratory ale from the tavern. It illustrates the text The High and Mighty Prince Charles, Prince of Wales &c, The manner of his arrival at the Spanish court… [and] His happy returne and heartie welcome (1623)


Court Crime

Everie Justice of peace may imprison by the space of one year without bayle

Today’s post is on aspects of 17th Century English law, provided by Michael Dalton (1564–1644), a barrister and legal writer born in Linton, Cambridgeshire. In 1618, Dalton published a popular legal treatise for local magistrates and JPs entitled The Countrey Justice. Practising JPs and other local magistrates used Dalton’s book widely and it has now became an important source on English law for both local and legal historians of early modern England. A second edition appeared in 1619, a third in 1630, and a fourth edition (posthumously) in 1655. The work remained in circulation into the eighteenth century, being reprinted in 1666, 1682, 1690, and 1742 and was also widely used in English colonies including the United States. What follows are some of the more interesting entries in The Countrey Justice.


Every Justice of the Peace hearing of any ryot or any intention of a ryot shall goe himself with his servants and other powers of the county to the place where such persons be so assembled, and suppress them; and all such as he shall find riotously assembled and armed, to arrest them and force them to put in suertie for the peace, or for their good behaviour; and if refusing such surety, to imprison them and take away their weapons and armour.


Young children whose parents are dead are to be set on with work, relieved, or maintained at the charge of the towne where they were dwelling at the time of the death of their parents, and are not to be sent to the place of their birth. If any poor not being rogues shall travel with their children through a town and the father or mother dye, that town is not bound to keep their children. If any poore persons of any parish have able bodies to work, if they refuse such work they are to be sent to the house of correction.


Anie person infected or dwelling in a house infected with the plague shall be by any Justice of the peace commanded to keep his house. If he wilfully goe abroad, and converse in company having any infectious sore upon him, it is felony. And if such person shall not have such sore about him he shall be punished as a Vagabond and shall be bound to his good behaviour for one whole year. If any person infected or dwelling in a house infected wilfully attempt to go abroad, then Watchmen may with violence enforce them to keep to their houses.

Night walkers

Everie Justice of the Peace may cause to bee arrested all Night walkers, be they strangers or other persons that be suspected or that be of evill behaviour, and more particularly all such suspected persons as shall sleep in the day time and goe abroad in the nights, and who at night haunt anie house that is suspected for Bawdie, or shall in the night time use other suspicious company or shall commit anie other outrages or misdemeanours. Such night walkers are ominous and such night walkings are unfit for honest men.


Every Justice of the Peace may seize all goods of any outlandish persons calling themselves Egyptians that shall come into this realm.


Everie Justice of the peace may examine all offences for the destroying or taking of Partridges or Fesants in the night time, and for hawking or hunting with Spaniels in any eared corne.

Hue and Cry

Every Justice of peace may cause Hue and cry and search to be made upon any Murder, Robbery, Theft or other Felony committed. Note that all Hue and Cry ought to be made from town to town and from country to country and by horse-men and foot-men otherwise it is not a lawful pursuit.


If any person shall willingly disturb any preacher in the time of his Sermon, or shall be aiding, procuring or abetting thereto, or shall disturb the arresting of any such offender, they shall be brought before any Justice of peace. Within six days one other Justice of the peace must join with the first Justice in the examination of the said offence, and if they two upon their examination shall find the partie accused guilty, then shall they commit him to the Gaole there to remain without baile for three months.


Everie Justice of peace may imprison by the space of one year without bayle such as shall publish anie false prophecies to the intent thereby to make anie rebellion, insurrection, or other disturbance within the King’s dominions.


All and every lewd and meane persons which shall unlawfully cut or take away corne, or rob any Orchards or Gardens, or cut any hedge or dig up or take away any fruit trees shall for the first fault give the wronged party recompense. And if such offender shall be thought not able to doe so, they shall be committed to some Constable to be whipped.

BastardieSuch a bastard childe must be one that is left to the charge of the parish. The mother may bee examined upon Oath concerning the reputed father. Every lewd woman which shall have a Bastard which may be chargeable to the parish shall be committed to the house of correction, there to be punished and set on worke for one year. Such a woman shall not be sent to the house of correction until after the childe is borne and that it is living. Such a bastard childe is not to be sent with the mother to the house of correction, but rather the childe should remain in the towne where it was borne, and there to be relieved by the work of the mother or by the relief from the reputed father

Games unlawful

Everie Justice of the Peace may from time to time enter into any common house or place, where any playing at Dice, Tables, Cards, Bowls, Coyts, Tennis, Football or any unlawful game now invented or hereafter to be invented, and may arrest the keepers of such places and imprison them until they agree to no longer occupy any such house, play, game, alley or place. Also he may arrest and imprison the players there till they bee bound by themselves no more to play at or haunt any of the said places or games.

Rogues and Vagabonds

Any Justice of peace may appoint all Rogues and Vagabonds which shall be taken begging, wandering, or disordering themselves, to be stripped naked from the middle upward and to be whipped till their body be bloody. (Rogues and Vagabonds are defined as ‘All persons above the age of seven years going about begging, all idle persons going about the country, including Fortune tellers, Jugglers, Fencers, Wandering persons, Tinkers, Pedlars, common Players of Enterludes and Minstrels wandering abroad.’)

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

© Shakespeare's England 2009-2014