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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Re: Henry VIII
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0357 Tuesday, 25 February 2003

[1]     From:   John V. Knapp <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 Feb 2003 12:39:09 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Response to Re: SHK 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII

[2]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 Feb 2003 21:09:01 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII

[3]     From:   Candace Lines <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 Feb 2003 17:21:26 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII

[4]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 09:31:27 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John V. Knapp <
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Date:           Monday, 24 Feb 2003 12:39:09 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: SHK 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII
Comment:        Response to Re: SHK 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII

Dear Christine --

While I cannot authoritatively answer two of your questions, I will try
to assay the middle one -- but in American terms (as an unrepentant
colonist).  The current Bush administration's Cabinet is rather like a
Privy Council -- advising the President on all sorts of matters, foreign
and domestic. Thus far, after two years of advice, it is now only
moderately difficult to decide whether such advice belongs in a Privy
Chamber or no.  Indeed, most of our cousins would concur that such
decision-making poses no difficulty at all, and I am confident that in
2004, there will be a new Privy council and the current one will be
consigned, even in Florida, to its rightful place in that great Privy
Chamber of our leader's father's Privy council.

Cheers,
JVK

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Monday, 24 Feb 2003 21:09:01 -0000
Subject: 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII

>1. Does anyone have a listserv address for Renaissance studies?

I don't think there is a straight answer to this (I'd love to hear of
one myself) -- the closest is probably the Ficino list:

http://www.library.utoronto.ca/crrs/main/ficino.htm

... a bit weighted towards NeoLatinists, but it does wander into English
sometimes. 18L sometimes overlaps, too.

>2. What is the difference between a Privy Council and a Privy Chamber?

Depends on where you live -- not to be invidious, at the moment the
distinction in Britain between a Privy Council, a Privy Chamber, and a
simple Privy is mute.

Robin Hamilton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Candace Lines <
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Date:           Monday, 24 Feb 2003 17:21:26 -0500
Subject: 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII

1) I recommend the Ficino listserv. I believe you can subscribe by
sending an email to 
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 , subject line blank,
with the message "Subscribe Ficino." Then the list moderator will get
back to you with the form.

2) The Privy Chamber is, in its most literal sense, a room-a sort of
antechamber to the royal bedroom, in which the king could meet with his
closest friends and advisors. The Privy Chamber has a staff, headed by
the Groom of the Stool, who attend to the royal body and also, very
unofficially, advise the king. The Privy Council is the official body of
advisors (basically independent of the larger Council, though membership
can overlap) that, under Thomas Cromwell in the 1530s, grew out of the
unofficial Privy Chamber system. David Starkey has written a lot about
the Privy Chamber, and I think G. R. Elton also discusses it, though I
forget in which book.

3) My sense of Alison Weir is that she writes popular histories rather
than scholarly ones. I think the standard scholarly biography of Henry
VIII is still the one by Scarisbrick (called, conveniently, Henry VIII)
although if there's a newer one I'd be glad to hear about it.

Cheers,
Candace Lines
Howard University

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[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 09:31:27 -0000
Subject: 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0352 Three Questions in Re. Henry VIII

>2. What is the difference between a Privy Council and a Privy Chamber?

The Privy Chamber simply means "the private bedroom". It is the most
intimate space around the sovereign. The Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber
are a group of 48 attendants upon the sovereign, who help with
preparations for progresses, and more intimate matters. They are rather
like personal assistants, I suppose. They do not have a political role,
as such. The Privy Chamber was set up by Henry VII. David Starkey is the
authority on this aspect of the early-modern royal court. See his PhD
thesis, "The King's Privy Chamber" (Cambridge 1973); and "Representation
through Intimacy", in I. M. Lewis, ed., Symbols and Sentiments (1977).

The Privy Council is the panel of advisers to the sovereign on the
highest matters of state. Their role is now largely discharged by the
cabinet, various committees, and the Judicial Committee of the Privy
Council (actually a court) - although the Privy Council still exists
(and has well over 400 members!), it is largely "ceremonial", for want
of a better word, but still has the right to advise the sovereign on
matters of state (and still includes members of the cabinet - so there
is considerable overlap).  In the early-modern period it was the chief
advisory and executive arm of the constitution. It was made up of past
and present ministers of state, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the
Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (i.e. the "law Lords"), the Lord Chief
Justice, the archbishops, the Princes of blood, and various appointees
of the sovereign. The best introduction to the subject is perhaps
Chapter 2 of G. R. Elton's The Stuart Constitution: documents and
commentary (Cambridge 1968), pp.87-115; his Tudor Revolution in
Government (Cambridge 1953) is still worth considering, too.

Although it is outside this period, G. E. Aylmer's classic The King's
Servants: the Civil Service of Charles I 1625-1642 (London 1961) should
not be overlooked.

>3. How are books by Alison Weir regarded by scholars of the Renaissance?

They aren't, basically. Her books tend to be based on out-dated
secondary research, often clumsily handled. As an example - her
Elizabeth The Queen, published in 1998, appears to have an exhaustive
bibliography, but it does not contain a single title from the 1990s, a
golden decade in the historiography of Elizabethan England.

Still, they are not badly written - if a little breathless at times.

martin

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