Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.
Ministers. William Cecil was the dominant politician at court for much of Elizabeth’s reign, enjoying the trust of the queen and employing his considerable skills in securing her crown and establishing effective government. But he was not the only lawyer and bureaucrat to hold office under Elizabeth. In this session we will think more broadly about those who held office and managed the operations of government.
Favourites. This session will focus on the small number of men who found themselves in receipt of the queen’s particular favour, and whose careers developed in interesting ways as a result of her attention. Leicester, Hatton, Raleigh, and Essex will provide us with a series of examples through which to make sense of the queen’s particular inclinations and the ideas which lay behind her choice of men to serve her.
Palaces and progresses. In this session we will consider the material dimension of life at the court. We will follow Elizabeth’s summer visits to the great houses of her nobility, where as a more or less welcome guest she prompted vast expenditure on buildings and on entertainments. The queen herself spent very little on architecture but rather focused her expenditure on the royal wardrobe, for which the accounts survive, providing a fascinating glimpse into the visual, material world of the queen.
Field trip to Hatfield House
Women. Those who were physically closest to Elizabeth were the women of her Privy Chamber, with some of whom she enjoyed exceptionally close friendships, whilst others incurred the queen’s displeasure and were banished from the innermost circle. Today we will think about the political and social importance of these women, exploring what can be said of their lives and their experiences of life close to the queen.
Destination: Hatfield House, Hertfordshire
Excursion rating: Moderate - up to two hours' walk on even ground or up to an hour's walk on rough and/or steep ground or up lots of stairs and steps.