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Blood Royal: Picturing the Tudor Monarchy

This exhibition presents aspects of the history of late medieval and Tudor monarchs as depicted in the Society’s collections. It has four themes: legitimacy and succession; magnificence; royal power; and loyalty and dissent.  

Monarchy was a complex and surprisingly fragile system of government.  The throne was fought over during the Wars of the Roses, while the Tudors continued to face dynastic threats to their rule.  Legitimate rule depended on royal blood, but the kingdom’s confidence in the succession was another vital factor.  Monarchs sought to enshrine their claims through the ritual and ceremony that surrounded them, and through associating their persons with emblems of dynasty and sovereignty.  Portraits,  coinage and official seals carried their image throughout the land.

Legitimacy was often expressed through magnificence. This meant an impressive estate and entourage for the ruler, who was expected to show an expansive generosity to courtiers, the nobility and gentry.  Monarchs used gifts of money, land, offices and titles to draw around themselves a group of supporters who were their eyes and ears across the land. Loyalty to the crown was a defining feature of late medieval and Tudor society.  But resistance and dissent could also be found, whether in opposition to particular policies or as full-scale rejection of royal authority.


Legitimacy and Succession: A Contested Crown

Below, you will find videos by Fellow Maurice Howard, one exploring our Tudor Paintings and the other our Towton Spur. Click here to jump straight to the videos.

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Magnificence at the Tudor Court

Below, you will find a video by Fellow Glenn Richardson discussing the Inventory of Henry VIII. Click here to jump straight to the videos.

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Royal Power and the Court

Below, you will find a video by Fellow John Cooper discussing the secrets of Mary I's Book of Fees and Offices. Click here to jump straight to the videos.

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Loyalty and Dissent

Below, you will find a video by Jane Lawson, sharing her research into Elizabethan New Year's Gift Rolls, and another video by Fellow Peter Barber, exploring our Elizabethan map. Click here to jump straight to the videos.

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Thank you for supporting this exhibition with your online visit! 

Society of Antiquaries of London
Burlington House
Piccadilly
London
W1J 0BE

Tel: +44 (0)20 7479 7080

Registered Charity (207237)


Acknowledgements:
Mr Peter M Barber, OBE FSA
Dr John PD Cooper, FSA FRHistS
Prof Glenn J Richardson, FSA FRHistS

supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

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