The ceremonies of Charles II's court
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This thesis examines the question of how the restored monarchy used the ceremonies of court in the period 1660-1685. It is concerned with those rituals which took place regularly within the royal palaces, that is to say the ceremonies of the Chapel Royal, of healing, of reception and audience, dining and entertaining, and the rituals which took place within the privy apartments, including the royal lever and coucher. The ways in which these rituals operated over the course of the reign are considered - with close reference to their physical setting - as is their significance as expressions of royal power. The contention of the thesis is that the ceremonies of the Restoration court are a neglected subject deserving of serious study, and that by examining them real insight can be gained into the changing nature of monarchy, the personality of Charles II and the politics of his reign. The thesis argues, contrary to traditional accounts of his reign, that Charles II took the formal exchanges of court life very seriously, that their performance was intimately connected to the politics of the period and that they were crucial to the way in which he projected his own majesty.
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