Private Lives of the Tudors

Journal article

Tracy Borman, last updated: 11th May 2018

Tracy Borman explores the distinction between the public and private lives of the Tudor monarchs.

The Tudors were renowned for their public magnificence. Perhaps more than any royal dynasty in British history, they appreciated the importance of impressing their subjects with the splendour of their dress, courts and pageantry in order to reinforce their authority. Wherever they went, the monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers, ministers and placeseekers.

Even in their most private moments, they were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for the task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed...

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