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By Richard McCoy

Conventional notions of sacred kingship grew to become either extra grandiose and extra troublesome in the course of England's turbulent 16th and 17th centuries. The reformation introduced by means of Henry VIII and his claims for royal supremacy and divine correct rule ended in the suppression of the Mass, because the host and crucifix have been overshadowed through royal iconography and pageantry. those adjustments all started a non secular controversy in England that will result in civil conflict, regicide, recovery, and eventually revolution. Richard McCoy exhibits that, amid those occasionally cataclysmic changes of nation, writers like John Skelton, Shakespeare, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell grappled with the assumption of kingship and its symbolic and significant strength. Their inventive representations of the crown demonstrate the fervour and ambivalence with which the English seen their royal leaders. whereas those writers differed at the primary questions of the day -- Skelton was once a staunch defender of the English monarchy and conventional faith, Milton used to be a thorough opponent of either, and Shakespeare and Marvell have been extra equivocal -- they shared an abiding fascination with the royal presence or, occasionally extra tellingly, the royal absence. starting from regicides genuine and imagined -- with the very genuine specter of the slain King Charles I haunting the rustic like a revenant of the king's ghost in Shakespeare's Hamlet -- from the royal sepulcher at Westminster Abbey to Peter Paul Reubens's Apotheosis of King James at Whitehall, and from the Elizabethan compromise to the fantastic Revolution, McCoy plumbs the depths of English attitudes towards the king, the nation, and the very inspiration of holiness. He unearths how older notions of sacred kingship accelerated in the course of the political and non secular crises that reworked the English state, and is helping us comprehend why the conflicting feelings engendered by way of this enlargement have confirmed so chronic.

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F. v McCoy_Ch2 4/10/02 3:45 PM Page 28   Order of Indentures, Henry VII and Abbot Islip By permission of the British Library; MS. Harley , f. r McCoy_Ch2 4/10/02 3:45 PM Page 29                         ’               of the sacred, the pilgrim would attempt to touch the tomb or at least to come as close to the saint’s remains as possible. Often he or she would pass the night near the tomb, [and] . . ”10 The remains of Henry VI were expected to continue working as a magnet for pilgrims, and supplicants drawn by hopes for healing and intercession to his shrine would also pray for its founder, Henry VII.

16 This juxtaposition of Christ’s actual sacrifice with its quotidian celebration is often the point of such art. Dürer depicts a somewhat similar scene in his drawing of the miracle of St. Gregory, in which only the viewer and the pope see Christ risen from the altar to display his wounds and the instruments of his torture (figure ). These grisly yet ecstatic visions of the crucified Christ or bloody hosts were designed to overcome the doubts of those who did not believe in transubstantiation. Through such miraculous revelations, the real presence acquired the force of flesh and blood, and the grace imparted by the sacrament was rendered palpable.

Often he or she would pass the night near the tomb, [and] . . ”10 The remains of Henry VI were expected to continue working as a magnet for pilgrims, and supplicants drawn by hopes for healing and intercession to his shrine would also pray for its founder, Henry VII. To further enhance the shrine’s sacred aura, Henry provided additional relics, including “our grete pece of the holie crosse . . garnished with perles and precious stones; and also the preciouse Relique of oon of the leggs of Saint George, set in silver parcell gilte” (Will, ).

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