- In what ways can “The Queen’s Majesty’s Passage through th...
In what ways can “The Queen’s Majesty’s Passage through the City of London to Westminster the Day before Her Coronation” be seen to seek control over the identity of Elizabeth I? To what extent is it successful in this aim? Illustrate your essay with specific examples.
Richard Mulcaster portrays the display of power and authority
demonstrated during the occasion of the passage of Princess
Elizabeth, soon to be Queen Elizabeth I, on January 14, 1559, the
day before her coronation. This pamphlet portrays people full of
hope and anticipation, loyal and obedient courtiers, and a powerful
yet pious soon-to-be monarch. As a piece of propaganda, this work
seeks to control the identity of Elizabeth; the people's opinion of
their new queen, how the courtiers accept her, and how Elizabeth
herself conforms to this identity. However, while the pamphlet
seeks to support and venerate Elizabeth as the divinely appointed
queen, and portray her idealistically to her subjects, the reader
detects the anxiety behind this event and the expectations that
surround the appointment of the new monarch.
History informs us of the general insecurity of the time period.
Elizabeth's predecessor, her older sister Mary, had not managed to
bring England the affluence and strength that her father, Henry
VIII had. Mary's reign was characterised by her staunch Catholicism
and intolerance of any practicing Protestant, and her marriage to
Philip of Spain was defined by the humiliating loss of the French
port of Calais. After Mary's death, the people of England were
waiting expectantly for a monarch who could bring England the
military strength it needed. Many had been disappointed with Mary
as a female monarch, and the influence her Spanish husband seem to
have had, consequently, many doubts were raised as to whether a
woman was fit to rule the country. As Elizabeth I approached her
coronation, she had already established a new government and
appointed her advisors. The public therefore would have been aware
of changes in the political system and governing of the country,
and may have experienced anxiety over what was to become of them
under this new regime . The procession the day before her
coronation was, 'and was designed to be - a test of the sovereign's
Mulcaster's pamphlet represents Elizabeth in many different
forms, but all create the illusion of her epitomising the ideal
female ruler. However, this support was conditional; it created an
identity and standards for Elizabeth to meet. While Elizabeth had
some degree of control over how she wished to be identified, and
what causes she wished to be identified with, she was subject to
the support of the general public and in particular, those with
influence, such as her courtiers, artisans and merchants.
Mulcaster's pamphlet seeks to control the identity of Elizabeth by
portraying her support of certain causes, such as the return to
Protestantism and attention being given to those in poverty. As
this pamphlet was so widely distributed so quickly at a time of
expectation and instability regarding the political agenda and the
support of the new monarch, Mulcaster's aim to control Elizabeth by
creating this identity was particularly successful.