What Have Historians Been Arguing About... Royal Studies

Teaching History feature

By Gabrielle Storey, published 15th December 2022

Royal Studies

‘Royal Studies’ is much more than the study of kings and queens as individuals. It draws in their families, the institution of monarchy and monarchical government, court studies, relationships with the church, artistic and literary patronage, and more. While history ‘from below’ and studies of non-elite figures have enriched the discipline, Royal Studies have continued to fascinate the public and historians.

Biographies have long been central to this field, and remain at its core; many individuals, particularly queens, still have neither a scholarly nor an accessible biography. The Yale Monarchs and the Lives of Royal Women series both address this issue. The latter focuses on queens from around the world, diversifying and addressing gaps in Anglophone historiography. Research in this field has now moved beyond traditional biographical approaches (whether of kings and queens or their families), however, to exploring emerging themes. The term ‘royal’ also extends far beyond kings and queens, especially when looking at global rulership...

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