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Synopsis

The regal courts of the English Stuart kings, from James I (1603-1625) to the ill-fated James II (1685-1689), were magnificent affairs. In a country otherwise given to increasingly austere Puritan ways of living, the royal court shone with a brilliance usually associated with the courts of the Catholic kings of mainland Europe. They were centres of great culture, patronage, ceremony and politics. The real importance of the courts, though down-played for many years, is now beginning to be fully recognised and this first major study of the Stuart courts in England, Scotland and Ireland examines them in their full cultural and historical context. Scholars of international reputation and up and coming, younger scholars have been brought together to give us an insight into many aspects of the Stuart courts. This book includes essays on culture and patronage of the arts and social history. What was it really like at the court? What rules applied? How did the courtiers behave? Finally, the crucial interplay between court life and political life, and politics, is examined in detail. This book is a major contribution to a flourishing area of scholarship and will be required reading for anyone interested in seventeenth-century history, court studies or the arts in the early modern period.

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