Majesty and Restriction, 1390–92

Christopher Fletcher

in Richard II

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199546916
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720826 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

 Majesty and Restriction, 1390–92

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter reconsiders the political culture of the early 1390s, seeking to understand how Richard II's continuing restriction by unusual conciliar mechanisms was reconciled with a new insistence on his status as a king and as a man, seen in household expenditure, formal ceremonial, and the form of public address. It argues that the elaboration of Richard's kingship and manhood was symptomatic of a profound ambivalence concerning his role. The king's acknowledged centrality coexisted with unusual restraints on his freedom of action, and the focus on Richard's formal authority and continuing youth were used to freight messages about how he ought to behave. At the same time, this chapter draws attention to the way in which the formal recognition of the king's authority nonetheless did lead to his gradual accumulation of practical power, gathering pace from around 1392 with events such as the king's reception by the city of London.

Keywords: political culture; kingship; Richard II; manhood; youth; conciliar mechanisms; status; ceremonial; authority; power

Chapter.  12180 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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