Events Calendar
Mar 7 - Mar 28
10:30 - 12:30
Manipulating Monarchs: Tudor & Elizabethan Propaganda
short courses

Dates: 7, 14, 21, 28 March 2019

Thursdays: 10.30 – 12.30

Course code: 18TON245

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Please note: this course is a repeat from 2016

Were these monarchs shrewd and cunning manipulators of their own identities and ultimately the most skilled propagandists of their eras? Debate and re-consider the iconic images of the Tudor monarchs - Henry VII, VIII, Elizabeth I - by exploring the portraiture, architecture, drama and language drawing on a variety of sources. 

From the moment in 1485 after the Battle of Bosworth when the victorious Henry VII threw the naked body of his rival Richard III over the back of a horse and paraded the corpse triumphantly through the streets of Leicester, the era of a powerful and persuasive regal authority through the presentation of its public image was established. This course examines the less known Henry VII and the impact that his insightful character and the manner in which he established his political control and social rule, had upon his son Henry VIII and granddaughter Elizabeth I. It will look at how each of these monarchs used their image and symbolic representations of their ruling dynasty to persuade and impose their rule, in each of their respective reigns, through often difficult events. We will re-evaluate the iconic imagery, found in paintings, on coins, manuscripts and front-pieces for books. Of Holbein's famous Whitehall Mural it is asked 'Was this the greatest piece of propaganda ever?' And Elizabeth, fluent in six languages, persuasively skilful with words - how aware was she of the public's perception of her? Alongside the examination of the image is the consideration as to how the architecture of imposing buildings - for example, Hampton Court, King's College Chapel, Henry VII's chapel at Westminster Abbey - brought these monarchs public esteem and ultimately stable rule. We will look at contemporary literature considering the idea that Shakespeare's plays have been regarded as bad history but brilliant drama or possibly dazzling pieces of propaganda.

Required reading

Relevant excerpts and reading material will be provided as photocopies during the course. 

Penn, Thomas, Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England (London: Allen Lane, 2011)

Additional information

  • This course is suitable as an introduction or for those with some knowledge of the period. 
  • This course allows you to spend time exploring a subject for interest, among like-minded people, without formal assessment. 
  • There may be optional research/discussion activities during the course and between sessions.

Intended learning outcomes

  • To develop an understanding of the reign of Henry VII as the founder of a vital monarchical dynasty. 
  • To re-assess our appreciation of the Tudor and Elizabethan period and therefore to re-evaluate our 21st century interpretations. 
  • To develop research skills for interpreting contemporary written and visual sources. 
  • To examine where research enquiry can be made and how it can be furthered utilising written and visual sources, recent historical and fictional publications and websites.

About the tutor

Julia Cruse has a PhD in Medieval and Early Modern Studies and has taught undergraduates at the University of Kent. As a mature student she graduated from the University of Kent with a degree in History; her BA dissertation focused on the Paston letters. Her doctoral thesis continued her research into late medieval letter-writing and looked at gentry identity and the politics of letter-writing. She is currently continuing her exploration into the Tudor period with a focus on the Tudor palaces and the lives of the courtiers who lived in them. An ambition is to write her first novel based on her discoveries.


United Kingdom



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