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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 popularity' .


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. 

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