I have recently completed my doctorate, for which I was supervised by Dr Penny Roberts. My PhD focuses on the Royal Tour (1564-1566), the twenty-seven month period in which King Charles IX led his court around France, visiting over one hundred towns. This journey across the kingdom was unprecedented in both length and geographical scale. Moreover, it was characterized by a series of spectacular formal entries into the towns, during which the king encountered theatrical and musical performances, harangues, and ostentatious civic decoration. In the course of my research, I examined the intricacies of these public ceremonies, specifically in terms of their artistic content. The imagery used, which was most often Classical or Biblical in origin, was employed as a tool of communication between the king and local authorities. While the king used entries to display his own magnificence and to grant privileges to the town, municipal officials saw entries as a means of expressing political concerns and expectations.
Royal entries provide a unique opportunity to explore how early modern monarchs were perceived by their subjects. The case of the Royal Tour is of particular interest because it was undertaken at a crucial juncture in the course of Charles’ reign. Civil war had raged from 1562-63, and though ostensibly resolved, serious disturbances continued to occur throughout the kingdom. The crown had encountered considerable opposition to the implementation of the Edict of Amboise, which was intended to provide a degree of religious toleration to Huguenots. Factionalism at court had also forced Charles to declare his majority in 1563, aged only thirteen. In view of this political turmoil, the Queen Mother Catherine de' Medici orchestrated the Royal Tour specifically to establish the authority of the young king and to uphold confessional toleration throughout the provinces. In my research, I determine how confessional and political identities were publicly manifested in the different localities visited by the court, and how these identities impacted on the implementation of the Edict of Amboise. The importance of my work lies in understanding the power that Charles possessed and how far the will of the king was accepted in this time of religious and political division.
L dot A dot Briggs at warwick dot ac dot uk
Supervisor: Penny Roberts